Jeff Sessions, the United States attorney general, has officially proposed a rule that would effectively ban bump stocks, devices that turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic weapons.
Sessions' announcement came the day before a large anti-gun violence march set for Washington, D.C., on Saturday.
President Donald Trump announced the regulation in a Twitter message a day before the so-called March for Our Lives, which was organized by young people after the mass slayings at a Parkland, Fla., high school.
"Not because they liked it, but because the law did not permit them to prohibit it", Winkler told the fact-checking organization, which explored the issue after the National Rifle Association said in October that the Obama administration approved bump stocks on two occasions.
The proposed change may signal their growing influence in the gun policy debate.
The Trump administration has formally proposed a complete ban on bump stocks, which effectively convert assault rifles into machine guns, on the eve of a nationwide protest for firearms control. Officials from the agency had said they didn't think they could make any changes without Congress.
The announcement comes as thousands of people in the U.S. take part in the March For Our Lives protests which call for stricter gun control. They are also asking for universal background checks and high-capacity magazine regulations.
Fully automatic weapons have been banned in the US since 1986, but bump stocks were described by the ATF in 2010 as "a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act".
"After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress", Sessions said in a statement Friday.
For months, President Trump has urged the Justice Department to pursue the bump stock ban.
On February 20, 2018, the President issued a memorandum instructing the Attorney General "to dedicate all available resources to... propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns".