Bump Stock Ban Turns Some
Gun Owners Into Felons

The ban usurps congressional authority by rewriting an inconvenient law.

By Jacob Sullum. March 28, 2019

As of midnight on Tuesday, owners of "bump-stock-type devices" became felons, subject to a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. That's a pretty nasty surprise for anyone who bought these products, which were repeatedly declared legal by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) during the Bush and Obama administrations. It is especially unsettling because the law has not changed since the agency made that determination.

What happened instead is that the ATF, under orders from Donald Trump, reinterpreted the law to reach a diametrically opposed conclusion that is contrary to the plain meaning of the relevant statutes. Critics of presidential power grabs, regardless of how they feel about bump stocks or gun control more generally, should be troubled by this blatant usurpation of congressional authority. .....

It has been obvious for some time that this runs counter to ATF definitions of a "machine gun" - most notably in as much as it appears to ignore the trigger reset requirement. "Bump fire" has always been possible by simple means such as the way the weapon is held while having a finger on the trigger, and even making use of rubber bands! Now however we have the shooter being included as part of the rifle mechanism so as to justify the egregious change in definition, which is beyond arbitrary in its new interpretation. (JPFO's official position)


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