Well, it’s official. The ban on bump stocks is going into effect. The Trump Administration promised to ban the device that increases the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles. It doesn’t turn them into machine guns. For those in liberal land, semi-automatic firearms are widespread. They’re legal. They’re not scary. Civilians can own them. We’ve been allowed to own them for a long time.
Yet, the tragic Las Vegas shooting in 2017, where Stephen Paddock murdered 58 people and wounded over 400 more reignited the gun control debate. Paddock used bump stocks to increase the rate of fire as he committed this heinous act, firing on attendees at a country music festival from across the Mandalay Bay resort. It’s the deadliest mass shooting committed by an individual in modern American history. Bump stocks were green lit by the ATF under Obama. Now, owners of these devices have until March of 2019 before it become illegal to possess them (via AP):
The Trump administration moved Tuesday to officially ban bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, and has made them illegal to possess beginning in late March.
The devices will be banned under a federal law that prohibits machine guns, according to a senior Justice Department official.
The regulation, which was signed by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker on Tuesday morning, will go into effect 90 days after it is formally published in the Federal Register, which is expected to happen on Friday, the Justice Department official said.
The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly ahead of the regulation’s formal publication and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
In March, President Donald Trump said his administration would “ban” the devices, which he said “turn legal weapons into illegal machines.”
Shortly after the president’s comments, the Justice Department announced that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to define bump stocks as machine guns. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sought public comment on the proposal, drawing more than 35,000 comments.
Bump stocks have no real practical use. They’re for target practice and having fun mostly. Yet, it’s all about the principle here. As supporters of the Second Amendment, we cannot endorse a ban on any firearms or related devices. First of all, and most obviously, this will not reduce gun violence, crime, or make us safer. It’s window dressing. It’s another useless government regulation, so that alone is a reason to oppose this move. Second, how will they enforce this? In New Jersey, it’s now illegal to own magazines that carry more than ten rounds. Will they go door-to-door? In New Jersey, authorities aren’t really rejecting that idea. For this bump stock ban, it’s not going to happen, but if you’re caught, expect the government to come down on you like a ton of bricks. This move by the Trump administration is ill-advised to say the least.
UPDATE: DOJ official told Buzzfeed News, “We expect most owners will comply with the law and follow instructions or hand them in to ATF…As with any law, we rely on lawful compliance.” The Washington Free Beacon's Stephen Gutowski elaborated further on the new rule:
Here is the new rule DOJ is announcing today which reclassifies bump fire stock as machineguns under the National Firearms Act. That will effectively ban them and require anyone who currently owns them to either dispose of them or be subject to charges. https://t.co/owrBXoLdrY— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 18, 2018
Here is the summary of the new rule. pic.twitter.com/turxpQny3r— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 18, 2018
I have to point out that it's not true. That isn't how bump fire stocks work. You have to actuate the trigger for each shot fired. So, they're basically just saying bump fire stocks do something they clearly don't do.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 18, 2018
Additionally, regardless of how you feel about bump fire stocks, the mechanism for outlawing the devices is what gun rights activists have long considered confiscation. There is no grandfathering. Possession will become completely illegal 90 days after the rule goes into effect.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 18, 2018
Here is how federal law defines a machinegun: "any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) December 18, 2018