Barring a successful court challenge, the Justice Department’s final rule that bans possession of bump stock devices will take effect on March 26, 2019, at which time what was once considered a novelty accessory for a semiautomatic rifle becomes felony-level contraband that could put someone in prison for up to ten years, and cost them up to $250,000.
Because the device is linked to the Oct. 1, 2017 massacre of more than 50 Las Vegas outdoor concert-goers and the wounding of many more, it has now become a symbol for both sides of the national gun control debate.
Two federal lawsuits have been filed to challenge the ban. One comes from Gun Owners of America and the other was filed by a trio of organizations, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation and Madison Society Foundation. They may have just received some unwitting help from anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who argued in an Op-Ed piece that federal legislation is necessary because the ban could be tied up in court for years.
That suggests to some people that Feinstein thinks there might be a chance the ban could be struck down in court.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has outlined how bump stocks should be destroyed legally, by cutting or melting them; anything so long as the devise is rendered incapable of being restored to use.
Feinstein acknowledged that ATF in 2008 that it could not ban the devices. They’re not firearms, but only accessories. Yet here’s the language from the final rule from the Justice Department:
“Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger.”
By some estimates, there may be as many as a half-million bump stocks in private hands. That amounts to a lot of government taking, in the eyes of some critics.
And there are two new players in one of the legal actions. Florida Carry, Inc. and Missouri State Rep. Shane Roden have been added as plaintiffs in the Firearms Policy Foundation lawsuit. Both own bump stocks, the group revealed.
For better or worse, and probably the latter, the bump stock has become a symbol, and the ban might become the most politically expensive bit of anti-gun symbolism in a great while; a “martyr” of sorts on the altar of gun control.