Trump considers raising purchase age for certain firearms, amid gun control talks


United States president Donald Trump has directed the justice department to move to ban devices like the rapid-fire bump stocks used in last year's Las Vegas massacre.

The White House on Monday said President Trump would be open to supporting a bipartisan bill in Congress aimed at improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the federal database used for background checks in gun purchases. Faced with the personal anguish wrought by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead, Trump pledged action, saying: "We don't want others to go through the kind of pain you've been through".

On Tuesday, facing rising political heat after the Parkland massacre, Trump, as he often does, blamed his predecessors for a lack of action and said he would be different, despite widespread skepticism among gun control activists about his sincerity and capacity to make the case for change.

The US justice department had not made any announcement regarding its review when Mr Trump signed a memorandum directing the agency to complete the review as soon as possible and propose a rule "banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns".

Advocates called for a ban on bump stocks after Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old former accountant, used them to fire rapidly into a crowd of 22,000 concert-goers in Las Vegas in October, killing 58 people and injuring more than 500.

Local students, using the hashtag #NeverAgain on social media, are mobilizing around the country in favor of stronger gun laws after Wednesday's tragedy at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

After the Las Vegas shooting, Republicans and the National Rifle Association called for the ATF to review the devices and highlighted the Obama administration's approval of their sale.

Bump stocks are used to accelerate a gun's shooting rate.

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The influential National Rifle Association said it supported a ban on bump stocks a year ago following the Las Vegas mass shooting, the nation's deadliest in modern times.

Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Trump said he has directed the Justice Department to propose a law to make the accessories illegal, the BBC reported.

Might Trump take additional steps to stem the scourge of gun violence in the country? "The NRA believes that devices created to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations".

Over the weekend, the White House said he had spoken to Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, about a bipartisan bill created to strengthen the Federal Bureau of Investigation database of prohibited gun buyers.

Meanwhile, actor George Clooney has announced he and his wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, will donate half a million dollars to students organising protests against gun violence in the USA, saying "our children's lives depend on it".

"Legislation is the only answer", she said. She said the ATF has previously ruled that it doesn't have the power to ban such devices.

The bill, known as the "Fix NICS Act", was introduced in November, after Devin Kelley shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church. It would penalize federal agencies that don't properly report required records and reward states that comply by providing them with federal grant preferences. She's pressing for a ban on assault-type weapons and for laws enabling family members, guardians or police to ask judges to strip gun rights temporarily from people who show warning signs of violence.