WASHINGTON: The US Justice Department moved Saturday to redefine machineguns to include "bump stocks," a regulatory tweak that would ban devices used to boost the rate of fire of semi-automatic weapons.
The proposed change must undergo a review but if approved would outlaw the possession, sale or manufacture of bump stocks under the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act.
The devices were used to devastating effect by the gunman who rained fire on concert-goers in Las Vegas October 1, killing 58 people and injuring more than 850.
After the February 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people, President Donald Trump called for a ban on bump stocks even though the semi-automatic rifle used in that case was not fitted with the device.
The outrage over the Florida shooting, however, has raised public pressure for broad action on the availability of semi-automatic weapons.
Students who survived the attack are organizing a massive march on Washington in two weeks to demand stricter curbs on guns.
The president "is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.
"To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines 'machinegun' to include bump stock type devices."