The Trump administration officially banned bump stocks this week.
Attorney General Mathew Whitaker signed the new rule Tuesday morning, It gives owners of “‘bump fire’ stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristic” 90 days to turn them over to authorities or destroy them, reported CNN.
“With limited exceptions, the Gun Control Act, as amended, makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute,” states an early draft of the rule.
“The bumpstock-type devices covered by this final rule were not in existence prior to the effective date of the statute, and therefore will be prohibited when this rule becomes effective.
“Consequently, under the final rule, current possessors of these devices will be required to destroy the devices or abandon them at an ATF office prior to the effective date of the rule,” it continues.
Those who fail to comply run the risk of being charged with unlawful possession of a “machinegun,” which is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the DOJ.
Gun Owners of America has already promised to sue the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Department of Justice over the ban.
“As written, this case has important implications for gun owners since, in the coming days, an estimated half a million bump stock owners will have the difficult decision of either destroying or surrendering their valuable property — or else risk felony prosecution,” said Erich Pratt, executive director of GOA in a statement obtained by GunsAmerica.
“The new ATF regulations would arbitrarily redefine bump stocks as ‘machineguns’ — and, down the road, could implicate the right to own AR-15’s and many other lawfully owned semi-automatic firearms,” Pratt added. “ATF’s new bump stock regulation clearly violates federal law, as bump stocks do not qualify as machineguns under the federal statute.”
To Pratt’s point, this new rule directly contradicts previous determinations made by the ATF that identified bump stocks as “firearm parts,” — not machine guns. It stands to reason that a sound legal challenge can be made, using the ATF’s own logic no less, that this prohibition contravenes existing law.
Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association, which had called for “additional regulations” on bump stocks in the wake of the Las Vegas killing, said in a statement that it was “disappointed” with the ruling, believing there should have been a grandfather clause for current owners.
“We are disappointed that this final rule fails to address the thousands of law-abiding Americans who relied on prior ATF determinations when lawfully acquiring these devices,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker told Fox News.