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 interpretation.”
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.
Originally published on The Resurgent