Bump Stocks Now Illegal, With One Exception
The 90-day waiting period for banning bump stocks ended on Tuesday for every owner of the now-illegal firearm accessory, with one exception: Clark Aposhian….
Such a ruling, if it is allowed to stand, sets a dangerous precedent, as we noted:
What matters is the precedent it sets if the “final rule” becomes operative in March. If the ATF can arbitrarily declare that bump stocks turn semi-automatic weapons into “machine guns” and therefore fall under the NFA (National Firearms Act of 1934) and the GCA (Gun Control Act of 1968) prohibitions, then what’s to keep them from finding some way to turn semi-automatic rifles and pistols into illegal firearms under those laws as well?
This is precisely the point made by Tim Harmsen, a gun owner and one of the plaintiffs in another suit, brought by Gun Owners of America (GOA): “This issue for me is government overreach. The executive branch just said, ‘Hey, we want you, basically ATF, an agency, to rewrite, reinterpret federal law so we can get the outcome we want.’”
That point was reiterated by GOA’s legislative counsel, Michael Hammond: “It’s saying that a piece of plastic is a ‘machine gun.’ I think the court needs to take into consideration that if a piece of plastic is a machine gun, [then] the AR-15 is also a machine gun.”
That would turn the issue from one affecting only about 500,000 gun owners who possess the now-illegal “piece of plastic” into one affecting 100 million gun owners.
Erich Pratt, GOA’s executive director, called the move “dangerous”:
We think it’s really dangerous for a regulatory agency to be able to just turn on a dime. For 10 years they said that bump stocks fit within the law, [that] they were perfectly legal. And then they reversed themselves and said, “Oh, this piece of plastic is a machine gun.”
If they can do that and wave their magic wand, they can say anything is a machine gun.