Bump Stock Owners Want Compensation For Destroyed Items

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

The worst part about the bump stock ban, at least in some people’s minds, isn’t that the ban infringes on our Second Amendment rights, but that it also deprives owners of property without due process or compensation for that property. It created potential criminals with nothing more than the stroke of a pen.

Now, a lawsuit has been filed seeking to get compensation for those who have been deprived of their bump stocks.

While federal courts have upheld the Trump administration’s ban on bump stocks, gun rights advocates are vowing to press forward in a separate legal battle to try to force the government to at least compensate them for their surrendered or destroyed property.

One of the co-founders of Texas-based RW Arms, which destroyed more than 70,000 bump stocks ahead of the effective date of the ban last month, said the company took an estimated hit of more than $20 million in the process.

“It is going to hurt us — about 40% of our company was in bump stock sales — but we’re going to continue on,” said RW Arms co-founder Mike Stewart.

Mr. Stewart’s group announced earlier this month that it had joined with The Modern Sportsman, a Minnesota-based company, to sue the federal government, arguing that the ban is an unconstitutional taking of property without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment.

The lawsuit, filed in federal claims court in Washington, D.C., said the company destroyed 73,462 bump stocks in order to comply with the ban, and that Mr. Stewart destroyed 25 of them.

As a layman, I can’t help but think that this is going to be an interesting case. Mr. Stewart makes a valid point. People bought bump stocks in good faith regarding the legality of the items, only to have to turn them in or destroy them due to a government mandate. Taking a Fifth Amendment take should be somewhat interesting to watch.

I can’t say how likely this is to work out positively for the plaintiffs, but on the surface, it looks like they’ve got a good case. But, again, I’m not an attorney, nor did I play one on TV.

“Most people don’t like bump stocks — it is what it is,” Mr. Stewart said. “But [I] try to tell people it’s not about the bump stock — it’s about the overreach of the government infringing on the Second Amendment. If they can do this with bump stocks, what’s going to stop them from going forward with more?”

That, too, is a fair point.

Look, I think bump stocks are stupid toys and little more. They’re not practical, though I’ll admit they sure look like a buttload of fun. But that doesn’t mean I want to see them banned. There is no exclusion to the Second Amendment for arms I happen to think are dumb.

But the idea that with a stroke of the proverbial pen, a firearm accessory can be regulated away is troubling. Very troubling.

I’ll be watching this case as closely as possible.


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