Trump DOJ wants to speed up sales and transfers of machine guns – ABC News

After last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people, President Donald Trump called for a ban on so-called bump stock devices that he said “turn legal weapons into machine guns.”

But at the same time, his administration is quietly pushing for millions more to allow the federal government to speed up approvals for the sale and transfer of actual machine guns.

It’s billed as part of the Trump administration strategy to reduce violent crime – although officials can’t say how – and it’s tucked into the Justice Department’s FY2019 budget request.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, calls making approvals for machine gun purchases a priority “unconscionable.”

“Our country has seen three dozen mass shootings since 20 children and 6 educators were murdered at Sandy Hook…Rather than focusing on a top gun lobby demand the administration should put money toward ATF to hire additional agents and improve the background check system,” Feinstein said.

The National Firearms Act, passed in 1934, effectively made it a crime to possess, purchase or sell an unregistered machine gun. It was meant to address a significant crime problem of that era: the frequent use of machine guns by gangsters in high-profile killings like the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

New machine guns were effectively banned for the civilian U.S. market when the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

No machine guns produced after May 19, 1986, could be sold or possessed. With the right Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) paperwork and tax payments, machine guns made before that date can still be purchased on the private market, but because of the 1986 ban, prices have skyrocketed due to demand outpacing the limited supply.

Gun experts say a machine gun can cost anywhere from several thousand to several hundred

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