President Trump’s bump stock ban goes into effect tomorrow.
Every owner of a bump stock in the United States is required to have either surrendered
or destroyed the accessory by March 26 except for three plaintiffs who, at
least temporarily, won court battles to keep their bump stocks. There is no
grandfather clause for current owners of the devices.
The three plaintiffs in a consolidated case sued the federal
government in December and January, claiming that it was unconstitutional for
the government to arbitrarily reclassify the devices to ban them under a law
intended to ban fully automatic weapons. As previously reported by The
Resurgent, the ATF under President Obama declined to ban bump stocks
because they did “not provide an automatic action — requiring instead
continuous multiple inputs (trigger pulls) by the user for each successive
shot” and were therefore not subject to the Federal Firearms Act.
After the mass shootings in Las Vegas, where the murderer
used bump stocks, and Parkland, Fla., where no bump stocks were used, President
Trump ordered the Justice Department to act. The result was a decision to
reinterpret the law and unilaterally decide that bump stocks were subject to
the Federal Firearms Act after all.
After the ban was announced in December, the Firearms Policy
Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation
launched a separate legal challenge. Notably absent from the challenge was the
National Rifle Association, which posted a statement
online that essentially said that the group was not fighting the ban
because it could have been worse.
U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich, a Trump appointee, turned
down the challenge in February, saying in his decision, “That this decision
marked a reversal of ATF’s previous interpretation [of the meaning of bump
stock] is not a basis for invalidating the rule, because ATF’s current
interpretation is lawful and ATF adequately explained the change in
David Codrea, one of the plaintiffs who received a stay from
a different judge, described the grounds for the lawsuit in an article in Ammoland.
These include at least 10 separate determinations by the ATF that a bump stuck
was not an automatic weapon, the FBI’s refusal to comply with FOIA requests for
information about the weapons used in the Las Vegas shooting, and questions
about whether Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker had the legal authority
to sign off on the ban.
In a separate article in Ammoland,
Codrea wrote that the stay means, “Named plaintiffs, including this
correspondent, will not be subject to enforcement action after the ban goes in
effect Tuesday. It also means everyone else will be subject to arrest,
prosecution, and punishment.”
Upon implementation of the bump stock ban, President Trump
will have become a more successful anti-gun president than Barack Obama. Yet,
ironically, Mr. Trump will retain the support of a significant share of the
pro-Second Amendment community and the nation’s largest gun-rights organization.
It is also ironic that sales of bump
stocks have not decreased since the announcement of the ban last December.
As of Tuesday, March 26, bump stocks will be outlawed and only outlaws will
have bump stocks. Under the Trump Administration’s new rule, many law-abiding
gun owners who have owned bump stocks for
years will now be considered outlaws.