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"Now the situation is clear. Congress can act."

Those were the words of Samuel Alito in his concurring opinion on the Supreme Court's ruling this month invalidating the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' rule banning so-called bump stocks. These are devices that effectively can convert a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun.

It is, of course, illegal for citizens to own machine guns. But the federal law outlawing those weapons of war on our streets wasn't precise enough in its wording to apply to bump stocks, the high court said in a 6-3 vote. The court ruled federal regulators overreached when they cited that law as authority to ban the mechanisms allowing those so inclined to possess machine guns in all but name.

When it comes to guns, the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John Roberts has been strict on the Second Amendment and has ruled unconstitutional any number of state efforts to control the proliferation and type of firearms in our communities. Many parts of this country — and certainly the city of Chicago is one of them — face a crisis of gun violence, caused in no small part by lax rules, loopholes and uneven enforcement of laws on the books. It is notable, then, that Alito, arguably this Supreme Court's most conservative justice, openly urged the legislative branch to amend the law and do what the high court said ATF couldn't — ban bump stocks.

What's notable, too, is that the ATF rule was approved in 2018, when Donald Trump was president. Trump acted following the Las Vegas mass shooting in which a gunman used a bump-stock device to fire upon a crowd attending a concert, killing close to 60 and injuring over 400 more. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, so shocking that even a president who had campaigned in 2016 on the highly questionable notion that the Second Amendment was "under siege" felt compelled to act.

So the ban on bump stocks is one of the few matters on which Trump and President Joe Biden agree. Given that reality, it ought to be a piece of cake to get Congress to codify the rule the high court just invalidated. Right?

Not so fast, of course. In both chambers, there's enough opposition to even the most sensible of gun restrictions that betting on obvious common sense to prevail is naive. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he'll bring the issue to a vote and will first seek unanimous consent. When presumably that fails, although one can hope, Schumer will face the 60-vote threshold needed to pass most legislation in the Senate. And that means he will need GOP support to succeed.

This is where we have a role for Trump.

The sad reality of life on Capitol Hill these days is that too many Republicans wait for marching orders from Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, before deciding how to cast their votes on important issues. It was Trump whose opposition killed a compromise border-security bill tilted far more to Republican priorities than Democratic ones, simply because Trump wanted to preserve immigration as a campaign issue for himself.

So we wouldn't bet on Trump using his influence to do the right thing on bump stocks. But we would hope he's at least giving it some thought. If Trump gave the word that Republican lawmakers ought to codify his bump stock ban (and yes, in this case he could brand it as his), it would sail through Congress. There would be nothing but positives, both for the country and for Trump, if he does so.

In any sane nation other than this one, legalizing a device that enables a shooter to fire off 400 to 800 rounds in a minute would be unthinkable. The Chicago Tribune Editorial Board consistently has supported sensible gun control measures, including bump stock bans and the use of lawsuits, as well as better enforcement of current laws. The bump stock clearly falls into the sensible category when it comes to reducing lethality on our streets and in our neighborhoods.

Second, Americans who've lost faith that the two parties can come together to act, even when overwhelmingly in the national interest, would receive some small measure of reassurance on a matter of no small import.

The credibility of many of our most important institutions — including the Supreme Court and Congress — has been badly damaged in these hyperpartisan times. It used to be that Democratic and Republican presidential nominees could find at least some ground on which to agree, even during the heat of a campaign. Here is one candidate for agreement that would save American lives.

Third, such a position would be solidly in Trump's political interest. Trump's political positions most of the time are angled to please his hard-right base even during general election season when more conventional politicians tend to move to the middle. With Biden's approval ratings in the tank, Trump has room to take some political chances. A surprise move from the former president on this issue could help convince independent voters wavering between Trump and Biden that a second Trump term just might be less chaotic than the first. It's hard to believe even Trump's most die-hard supporters would abandon him over the issue of bump stocks, devices that kill innocents.

Come on Mr. Trump, do the right thing. Speak up loudly and speak up now.