Moments after White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she had no news on President Donald Trump signaling willingness to consider some measure of gun control, Trump announced he signed a memorandum directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take steps to ban bump stocks.
A bump stock, which turns a semi-automatic into a fully-automatic killing machine, enabled a gunman to slay 58 concert-goers and injure another 851 in Las Vegas last October.
“After the deadly shooting in Las Vegas, I directed Attorney General [Jeff Sessions] to clarify whether certain bump stock devices, like the one used in Las Vegas, are illegal under current law,” Trump announced Tuesday during a White House East Room ceremony to present the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor Awards.
“That process began in December. A few moments ago, I signed a memorandum directing the attorney general to propose regulations to ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” [Read memorandum, below]
Trump reiterated remarks he made after the latest mass shooting, in which 17 were killed at a high school in Parkland, Florida, saying “”We cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference; we must actually make a difference…we must move past cliche and tired debate.”
Moments earlier, Huckabee spent a short, rushed press briefing cleaning up after Trump’s weekend Twitter tirade on various topics.
“It’s very clear that Russia meddled in the election,” Sanders acknowledged at her first presser in a week. “It’s also very clear that the Trump campaign didn’t collude with the Russians.”
“The president has been extremely tough on Russia,” she insisted stoutly, citing “a number of actions against Russia, ticking them off: “he’s imposed sanctions, he’s taken away property, he’s rebuilt our military, he has done a number of things to put pressure on Russia.”
Trump has been “tougher on Russia in his first year than Obama was in eight years combined” she maintained, which several correspondents who attended characterized as unintended comedy.
“Obama was too weak,” Sanders added, getting less push-back.
Reporters had been riveted over the holiday weekend as POTUS spewed angrily from Mar-a-Lago in lieu of playing golf the first two days because it would be bad optics what with shooting victims being laid to rest just about an hour away. During his Twitter tirade Trump ranted about Russia collusion being a hoax, Russia collusion being Obama’s fault, about CNN, about national security adviser HR McMaster, and about a “very insecure” Oprah as she was hosting a segment on 60 Minutes about him.
Among Sanders’ clean ups:
– When Trump tweeted it was “very sad that the FBI missed all of the many signals sent out by the Florida school shooter. This is not acceptable. They are spending too much time trying to prove Russian collusion with the Trump campaign – there is no collusion. Get back to the basics and make us all proud!” – he did not mean the FBI missed the tip about the Florida shooter because the bureau was preoccupied with its Russia election meddling probe, Sanders said.
– When Trump tweeted “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!” – POTUS was saying he “still has confidence in and likes General McMaster but thought that addendum would be helpful to add,” Sanders added.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly’s memo revoking, as of Friday, top secret intelligence privileges from staffers with interim security clearances whose background check has been pending since June 1, 2017 will not impact Presidential Son In Law Jared Kushner,” Sanders promised. Kushner, who has worked with an interim security clearance because he has been unable to get top secret clearance for a year, will continue to do same work he has done in the past year, she insisted.
Here is the White House memorandum for the Attorney General:
After the deadly mass murder in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017, I asked my Administration to fully review how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates bump fire stocks and similar devices.
Although the Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machineguns.
Accordingly, following established legal protocols, the Department of Justice started the process of promulgating a Federal regulation interpreting the definition of “machinegun” under Federal law to clarify whether certain bump stock type devices should be legal. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on December 26, 2017. Public comment conclude on January 25, 2018, with the Department of Justice receiving over 100,000 comments.
Today I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.
Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes. Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit. I would ask that you keep me regularly apprised of your progress.
You are authorized and directed to public this memorandum in the Federal Register.