When Wayne LaPierre said on CBS’s Face the Nation that the ATF needed to “do its job” with respect to bump stocks, one wonders if he was asking the agency to turn thousands of law-abiding gun owners into outlaws. Because that, my friends, is exactly what is happening.
If you currently own a reciprocating stock you will soon be in possession of a machine gun. Unlawful possession of a machine gun is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the DOJ.
This is not a joke. Attorney General Jeff Sessions published a Notice for Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) last week. (I’ve embedded it below.) If made final, possessors of “bump-stock-type devices would be required to surrender, destroy, or otherwise render the devices permanently inoperable.”
To be abundantly clear there is no grandfather clause in the NPRM. In other words, this is confiscation on a national scale, folks.
“Since the day he took office, President Trump has had no higher priority than the safety of each and every American,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement.
“That is why today the Department of Justice is publishing for public comment a proposed rulemaking that would define ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock-type devices under federal law—effectively banning them,” he added.
Even for those of you who said, over and over: Who cares about bump stocks! They break if not the letter of the law than certainly the spirit of the law. They should be banned! Even you should take offense to this NPRM.
At the very least there should be a grandfather clause for bump stock owners. You have to acknowledge that. Because criminalizing the possession of lawfully purchased firearms and accessories is infringement. It is unconstitutional. Period.
Plus, how do you not bristle at the way this whole saga unfolded?! NRA called for “additional regulations” back in October. Trump wasted no time and kicked the movement to ban these devices into high gear. There was no pause to consider the ramifications of the policy change. Even more frightening, Trump seemed enthusiastic about getting it done.
“By the way, bump stocks, we’re writing that out. I’m writing that out myself,” said president Trump in February. “I don’t care if Congress does it or not. I’m writing it out myself, OK.”
And we accused Obama of ruling by executive fiat.
What’s worse is that this NPRM became a reality despite two prior determinations from the ATF saying a bump stock was a “firearm part” and not a “machinegun”; an open letter from the agency’s association admitting that ATF didn’t have the authority to ban the device, only Congress had the power to; and overwhelming public opposition. Remember, when ATF requested public comment on the ban, 85 percent of the more than 32,000 submissions were anti-regulation.
Yet none of that mattered. You know, when many of us screamed that this isn’t just about bump stocks, this is what we meant. It’s about much more: the NRA belying its core mission to protect 2A rights, Trump breaking his promise to gun owners (“I’ll never let you down”), a rule turning law-abiding citizens into criminals, a regulatory agency acting as a legislative body to satisfy a political agenda. Fundamentally, it’s about betrayal.
Some of my friends in the gun community already believe the war is lost. That it’s only a matter of time before our 2A rights are a thing of the past. Looking what has happened under GOP leadership, with a so-called gun-friendly president — at the beckoning of the nation’s preeminent gun rights group, no less — I’m having a hard time disagreeing with that assessment.
Once the NPRM is officially published by the Federal Register, there will be a 90-day comment period. Please take the time to speak up. Let them know that this overreach is unacceptable. Even if you support a ban on bump stock devices, this isn’t the way to get it done. It should have to come from Congress. Not Trump, not Wayne LaPierre, not from the pencil pushers at the ATF.