Justice Department Announces Ban on Bump Stocks

Owners will have 90 days after rule takes effect to ‘divest themselves of the devices’…

Bump stock/IMAGE: JerryRigEverything via Youtube

(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) With Democrats already challenging his legitimacy in courtroom battles, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker may soon face challenges from gun enthusiasts on the Right over a controversial policy change banning “bump stock” enhancements on semiautomatic rifles.

The Justice Department announced today that it would now classify bump stocks as fully automatic “machine guns” due to the rapid-fire ability that they permit with a single squeeze of the trigger.

The new amendment stipulates that bump-stock owners will have 90 days after the rule’s publication in the Federal Register to “divest themselves of the devices,” either by destroying them or turning them in to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF recommended making an appointment first.

Additional information is available on the ATF website. It is unclear for now what future challenges, if any, the rule may face before being implemented as official policy or when the final implementation would take effect.

Some court rulings in the past have blocked legislative attempts to ban bump-stocks.

Whitaker said the move came at the direction of President Donald Trump, emphasizing the president’s support for “law and order” and school safety as the primary considerations.

“We are faithfully following President Trump’s leadership by making clear that bump stocks, which turn semiautomatics into machine guns, are illegal, and we will continue to take illegal guns off of our streets,” Whitaker said.

In previous statements, the National Rifle Association also has expressed support for tighter restrictions on bump stocks.

However, some may worry about the precedent it sets, which could pave the way for other efforts to erode Second Amendment protections by executive fiat or otherwise unconstitutional policy changes.

Democrats—some of whom made bump-stock bans a central part of their platform—have promised additional efforts to restrict gun rights, including universal background checks, when they take control of the House majority in January.

Georgia state Sen. Michael Williams, who last year held a bump-stock raffle in defiance of “Hollywood elites” as part of a primary bid to win the gubernatorial nomination, said that even though mass shooter Stephen Paddock used them in committing a massacre of 58 concert-goers in Las Vegas, the bump stock addition did little to help.

Ultimately, Williams said, proposals to ban them were a canard that ran the risk of luring people into a false sense of complacency.

“In reality, the bump stock is the new, shiny object politicians are using to deceive voters into believing they are taking action against gun violence,” Williams said. “Many firearms experts determined the Las Vegas shooter’s use of a bump stock actually prevented more casualties and injuries due to its inconsistency, inaccuracy, and lack of control. There is zero evidence that banning bump stocks would prevent any gun violence deaths.”