Updated, 4:13 p.m.: To include comment from the NRA and details about a pending lawsuit from Gun Owners of America.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration moved Tuesday to officially ban bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, and has made them illegal to possess beginning in late March.
The devices will be banned under a federal law that prohibits machine guns, according to a senior Justice Department official.
Bump stocks became a focal point of the national gun control debate after they were used in October 2017 when a man opened fired from his Las Vegas hotel suite into a crowd at a country music concert below, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
The regulation, which was signed by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Tuesday morning, will go into effect 90 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen on Friday, the Justice Department official said.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly ahead of the regulation’s formal publication and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
The National Rifle Association said it is “disappointed” with the Trump administration’s plan to outlaw bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire continuously.
Spokeswoman Jennifer Baker says the Justice Department should provide amnesty for gun owners who already have the devices.
Baker says the regulation “fails to address the thousands of law-abiding Americans” who followed the government’s previous guidance.
On Oct. 1, the anniversary of the shooting in Las Vegas, President Donald Trump announced a ban on bump stocks would be enacted in “two or three weeks.”