Now that the election is over, President Trump is reportedly ready to issue his long-promised ban on bump stocks.
You may remember that the president ordered then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” Trump added that he expected the regulations to be finalize soon. That was in February.
Now CNN is reporting that the moment of truth has finally arrived. In March, the Department of Justice submitted a proposed rule that would reinterpret an Obama-era regulatory interpretation that allowed the devices. In 2013, the assistant director of the ATF wrote to Congress that bump stocks were not subject to the Federal Firearms Act because they required “continuous multiple inputs (trigger pulls) by the user for each successive shot.”
Per CNN’s report, the ban will be announced within a few days. As part of the rule change, owners of bump stocks would be required to either turn in or discard their devices.
A senior DOJ official told CNN, “Bump stocks turn semiautomatic guns into illegal machine guns. This final rule sends a clear message: Illegal guns have no place in a law-and-order society, and we will continue to vigorously enforce the law to keep these illegal weapons off the street.”
Democrats support a bump stock ban but argue that an executive ban would be subject to legal challenges in the courts. Republicans typically oppose new gun controls, but many have urged the Justice Department to enact a bureaucratic ban, arguing that bump stocks are a gun accessory that is not protected by the Second Amendment.
Shockingly, even the National Rifle Association has called for increased regulation of the devices. In a statement released after the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, the NRA said, “Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.” The Las Vegas massacre appears to be the only crime of note that has been committed with a bump stock.
Along with the obvious questions of what the Administration hopes to gain by banning a device that has almost no history of use in violent crimes and whether it is constitutional for a president to unilaterally decide to reinterpret existing law to accomplish his dubious policy goal, another question should haunt Second Amendment activists as they prepare to bid their bump stocks goodbye:
Isn’t ammunition also a firearms accessory?
Originally published Nov. 29, 2018