Many people are less than happy about President Trump’s willingness to push Attorney General Jeff Sessions into potentially banning bump stocks through executive fiat. While I can understand the reasoning involved in such a move, others don’t really care about the reasons. They take issue with the action itself.
Take, for example, Gun Owners of America:
Gun Owners of America Statement on Pres. Trump Bump Stock Memo
Springfield, VA – President Donald Trump released a memo to direct the attorney general to seek comments on a rule purporting to ban bump stocks. The memo, states, in part:
“Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”
In light of Trump’s action, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America (GOA) Erich Pratt issued the following statement:
“If President Donald Trump’s goal is to ban bump stocks, then that is a gross infringement of Second Amendment rights. GOA has long warned that such a ban can easily be applied to triggers, magazines, or semi-automatic firearms.
“Furthermore, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has ruled multiple times that bump stocks do not convert semi-automatic firearms into fully-automatic firearms. Converting semi-automatic firearms into fully-automatic firearms is already illegal under federal law.
“Additionally, a ban on bump stocks would ignore the ATF’s previous public comment period that garnered over a hundred thousand comments, which were overwhelmingly anti-regulation.
“Banning bump stocks will not stop criminals from getting guns, but it can be used by gun controllers to ban triggers, magazines, and semi-automatic firearms.
“While Trump ran as a pro-gun candidate, this action does not appear to line up with his campaign rhetoric. Instead of further restricting the right to keep and bear arms, Trump should urge Congress to pass H.R. 34, which would repeal gun-free school zones, an issue Trump campaigned on.
“Regardless of Trump’s future actions on bump stocks, Gun Owners of America remains committed to fighting any bump stock ban or regulation — including the use of legal action.”
I’m not thrilled about this either. For me, it’s simply a matter of the ATF not having grounds to ban bump stocks, so it doesn’t really matter just who is making the decision. Whether it’s the ATF itself or whoever they answer to issuing the directives, the directives are still wrong.
The fact is that while a bump stock may mimic full-auto fire, it doesn’t change a weapon into a machine gun as per the law as written. Saying it does requires one to stretch the interpretation of the law beyond a realistic point, especially since bump fire can also be accomplished with a rubber band or a belt loop.
I have to agree with GOA on this 100 percent. President Trump campaigned as a pro-gun candidate, and this is the time to act like one. The only thing that matters is moving the needle of gun rights more toward the side of freedom. There’s no reason to ban bump stocks unless we get something that’s ultimately a bigger win in return.
For example, if Democrats were to offer national reciprocity in exchange for a bump stock ban, well, I’d consider it. After all, national reciprocity would have far-reaching ramifications while bump stocks are, basically, entertainment items for gun owners.
But since we all know that’s not going to happen, there’s no point in giving up bump stocks without a fight. Yes, there are sound political reasons to do it now, but those reasons don’t really trump (pardon the pun) the reasons to not do it.