Ever since the horrific events in Las Vegas last year, bump stocks have been firmly in the crosshairs. The only thing that’s saved them this long may well be the intense partisanship that has taken hold of the nation in the last decade or so. Republicans who might well have given in to banning this particular device ordinarily won’t do so if for no other reason than to give the middle finger to the Democrats, which works out in the Second Amendment’s favor, thankfully.
But there was always a back door to regulation, and that was through the ATF rescinding its previous finding on the stocks. We previously had word that a change was getting close.
It now looks like that time might be getting closer as the idea is being floated out to the mainstream media.
The Trump administration plans to announce the long-anticipated federal rule officially banning bump stocks in the coming days, according to US officials familiar with the matter.
…The devices make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster — an operation that caused officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during the Obama administration to conclude that it’s merely a gun accessory or firearm part, not subject to federal regulation.At Trump’s direction, however, the Justice Department submitted a proposed final rule earlier this year that upended the Obama-era interpretation, and concluded that bump-fire stocks, “slide-fire” devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics all fall within the prohibition on machine guns by allowing a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” and therefore, they are illegal under federal law.Under the new rule, bump stock owners would be required to destroy or surrender the devices to authorities. Members of the public will be given 90 days to turn in or otherwise discard their bump stocks, according to a source familiar with the final rule.“Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns. This final rule sends a clear message: Illegal guns have no place in a law-and-order society, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the law to keep these illegal weapons off the street,” a senior Justice Department official told CNN Wednesday.
Oh, there will be lawsuits. You can count on that.
After all, people paid good money for these devices in good faith that these were legal based on the ATF’s ruling. Further, based on the letter of the law, they aren’t machine gun parts. There is no way this doesn’t go before the courts.
More importantly, though, there is no way they win. Not for long, anyway. After all, the definition of a machine gun is a firearm that can fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger. A bump stock doesn’t do that. It simply helps you fire much more quickly.
Also, it’s not like a bump stock is the only way to bump fire. People have used everything from shoe stringer to belt loops to rubber bands. The government can’t control those things, so why ban a simple accessory because it does what so many household items can do?
Either way, it looks like we’re headed for a fight.