The Trump administration has illegally banned bump stocks, criminalizing up to half a million law-abiding citizen owners overnight, and forcing them to destroy or turn in their bump stocks by March or face investigation and prosecution from the ATF.
The ban was accomplished not through Congressional legislation, the only potentially legal channel, but changing a regulation. Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker issued a new rule overturning the previous ATF regulation from 2010 which had declared that bump stocks did not count as illegal automatic weapons, and thus could only be outlawed through legislative action.
Such a blatant infringement on the 2nd Amendment, however, is highly unlikely to have passed Congress. That is why the Trump administration has turned to amending regulation, after pledging to act on the issue in March after the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, in which no bump stocks were used. The device was used, however, by the Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock, who killed 58 people and injured hundreds.
“ATF’s claim that it can rewrite Congressional law cannot pass legal muster. Agencies are not free to rewrite laws under the guise of ‘interpretation’ of a statute, especially where the law’s meaning is clear.
“The new ATF regulations would arbitrarily redefine bump stocks as ‘machineguns’ — and, down the road, could implicate the right to own AR-15’s and many other lawfully owned semi-automatic firearms,” Pratt continued. “ATF’s new bump stock regulation clearly violates federal law, as bump stocks do not qualify as machineguns under the federal statute.”
Meanwhile, the response of the NRA has been limited to a muted expression of ‘disappointment.’ The organization had itself called for the ATF (not Congress) to “review” the issue of bump stocks after the Vegas shooting, though it later appeared to quietly backtrack and never outright supported a ban.
Concerned Americans and gun owners will likely be watching the legal challenge to the unconstitutional ban through regulation keenly, as well as the disappointing stance of President Trump and the NRA on the 2nd Amendment. In a world of increasing oppression, instability, and the rise of the intolerant and anti-American left and globalism, the right to self defense and the preservation of the best deterrent against tyranny is one of the most important and non-negotiable issues.