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Trump urges ban on ‘bump stocks,’ other gun modifiers

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President Trump on Tuesday directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft new regulations to ban firearm modifiers including the “bump stock” used in the Las Vegas massacre, amid bipartisan calls to strengthen gun laws in the wake of recent shooting rampages.

During an event at the White House, the president announced he signed a memo ordering the regulations on “bump stocks” and told Sessions he wants new federal guidelines finalized “very soon.

He also signaled support for additional changes to gun legislation, tweeting Tuesday evening, “Whether we are Republican or Democrat, we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!”

The memo, released by the White House on Tuesday, directs the DOJ to propose a rule “banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

Trump wrote in the memo, “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.”

GUN LAW CHANGES ATTRACT RENEWED GOP INTEREST

A spokesman for the DOJ said it is acting “quickly” on the president’s order.

“The department understands this is a priority for the president and has acted quickly to move through the rulemaking process,” spokesman Sarah Isgur Flores said. “We look forward to the results of that process as soon as it is duly completed.”

During Tuesday’s press briefing, the White House said the president opposes the “bump stock” rifle modifier, which make semi-automatic firearms fire faster.

“I can tell you the president supports not having the use of bump stocks and that we expect further action on that in the coming days,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday.

Sanders added that the president had ordered the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to review the regulation of bump stocks after a gunman opened fire on concert-goers on the Las Vegas strip in October, killing more than 50 people. 

“My understanding is that review has been completed and movement will take place on that shortly,” Sanders said.

In the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people, Sanders said Trump plans to host parents, teachers and students on Wednesday to discuss “efforts to ensure safety at our schools.” Among those attending will be members of the Parkland community and those affected by the Sandy Hook and Columbine school shootings, the White House added.

Liberals have renewed calls for new gun control measures after last week’s shooting. Trump, who was backed by the NRA during the 2016 election, has expressed support for the Second Amendment and has said he’s against reflexive gun control measures that wouldn’t make a difference.

Sanders said the White House hasn’t “closed the door on any front.”

She also said, “The president has expressed his support for efforts to improve the federal background system and in the coming days we will continue to explore ways to ensure the safety and security of our schools.”

Meanwhile, the state House in Florida, days after the Parkland shooting, on Tuesday voted down a motion to take up a bill that would ban so-called assault rifles, effectively killing the measure for this session. The motion failed by a 36-71 vote.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.



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Tory MP turns tables on SNP over food standards claim in House of Commons Brexit clash

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SNP’s Alyn Smith was attacked by Conservative MP Cherilyn Mackrory as she insisted UK farmers “standards are higher than many of our counterparts in the EU” in a fierce clash in the House of Commons.

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Justice Department launches criminal investigation of John Bolton book

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WASHINGTON — The Justice Department has taken initial steps to investigate whether former Trump national security adviser John Bolton illegally disclosed classified information in his book, “The Room Where it Happened,” a stinging critique of the president’s decision-making on national security issues, officials familiar with the move confirmed Tuesday.

The decision to launch a criminal investigation was expected. After failing to stop the book’s publication over the summer, senior Justice Department officials said they would likely consider criminal charges.

President Trump has suggested in tweets that Bolton should be prosecuted because he “broke the law.” The latest development was first reported Tuesday by The New York Times.

“Ambassador Bolton emphatically rejects any claim that he acted improperly, let alone criminally, in connection with the publication of his book, and he will cooperate fully, as he has throughout, with any official inquiry into his conduct,” said Bolton’s lawyer, Charles Cooper of Washington, DC. Cooper said he was “aware of reports that grand jury subpoenas have been issued seeking information concerning the publication” of the book.

The government filed a lawsuit in June, seeking an emergency order to block the book’s publication. It argued that Bolton was required — because he had a top level security clearance during his government service — to wait until the White House finished reviewing the book for classified information. Instead, the suit said, he and his publisher pushed ahead and scheduled the book’s release before the process was finished.

Cooper responded to the lawsuit by saying that Bolton was required only to wait for a White House official’s confirmation that the book was free of classified information, which he received in April. The White House then launched another review, by a more senior official, which Cooper described in court as “a transparent effort to prevent Ambassador Bolton from revealing embarrassing facts about the president’s conduct in office.”

Bolton may have been required to get written permission if the book contained a type of classified material known as SCI — sensitive compartmented information. The government’s initial lawsuit did not make such a claim, but it filed a revised suit a few days later that contained the allegation.

Cooper said any such conclusion was based on a decision to classify some information at that higher level after the book was submitted for review. Bolton was required to seek review only if he believed the book contained classified information and only regarding information properly classified at that time, Cooper said.

Federal District Court Judge Royce Lamberth declined to grant the government’s motion to block publication, concluding that the book was already in the hands of distributors and retailers. But he said Bolton “gambled with the national security of the United States. He has exposed his country to harm and himself to civil (and potentially criminal) liability.”

Although the Justice Department was unable to stop the book’s publication, the lawsuit remains alive, because the government is seeking to seize Bolton’s profit from the book sales.

The book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, declined to comment Tuesday on the government’s move to open a criminal investigation, and a Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, also declined comment.

PEN America, a freedom of expression advocacy group, condemned the move.

“For the Justice Department to invoke the criminal law to investigate and possibly punish a former government official for writing a book about the president and his handling of national security issues – matters of immense public concern – is a frightening affront to First Amendment values that is clearly intended to chill others from speaking out,” said Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer for the group.



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SNP humiliated: Scottish independence dream mocked in heated clash over SNP 'incompetence'

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SNP MP Pete Wishart was left stunned as his Scottish independence dreams were dashed in a furious row.

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