Area law enforcement and ATF in OH/MI unaware of a single bump stock turned into their offices
On March 26, the Trump administration's dictatorial ban on bump stocks took effect in the United States. The ban was implemented through executive fiat - Trump instructed his Department of Justice to change an interpretation of a rule on the definition of "semi-automatic" to exclude the devices, despite the fact that they do not change the operation of the semi-automatic firearm. A rifle fitted with a bump stock still requires one trigger pull for each round fired.
While lawsuits challenging this rule are moving ahead, all efforts to win a broad stay on the rule until the courts have decided failed.
The result of this treachery was that many hundreds of thousands of gun owners immediately became criminals. Unless they willingly surrendered or destroyed their legally-acquired property, for which they paid several hundred dollars, they could charged with a felony, slapped with a $250,000 fine and jailed for up to ten years for each violation.
The Toledo Blade reported recently that area law enforcement, as well as U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents in Ohio and Michigan, say they cannot document a single bump stock having been turned in as a result of President Trump's ban on the devices.
From the article:
Officials from the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas and Wood county sheriff’s offices told The Blade they’re not aware of any bump stocks turned in to their offices.
And whether anyone in Michigan or Ohio has turned in a bump stock to federal law enforcement is unclear. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Ohio and Michigan are not recording numbers.
“We’re not trying to track it because there are different ways [to surrender them],” Ohio ATF spokesman Suzanne Dabkowski said. “They can turn it into ATF, another law enforcement agency, or destroy it. And that number won’t capture everything.”
ATF representatives in Washington did not respond to questions about how many bump stocks have been turned in nationwide, or whether anyone has been charged with possession of a bump stock.
Ms. Dabkowski told The Blade bump stocks were considered a firearm part and were never serialized, meaning it’s nearly impossible for ATF and law enforcement agencies to know who might have them.
Again, from the article:
The Buckeye Firearms Association disagrees with the federal ban and takes issue with the lack of a buy-back program.
“We don’t think the ban is constitutional,” spokesman Joe Eaton said. “The taking of private property without compensation should not happen. But we do ask our users and supporters to follow the federal law.”
According to the article, the Department of Justice estimates 520,000 bump stocks were purchased between 2010 and 2018. The Obama administration, on two separate occasions, found that there was no Constitutional means by which to ban the devices short of a change in legislation. Donald Trump did it anyways.
Back on February 21, 2018, when Trump first ordered his Department of Justice to ban the devices, I predicted that such an effort would fail. I also stated then when regulating or banning "bump-stock" devices fails, the ultimate logical next step among the "blame the tools" crowd will be to just ban the semi-automatic rifles themselves. Make no mistake about it - that is where gun ban extremists would like America to go, and those who fell for this ploy (including President Trump) will have helped them.
Mass murders have used motor vehicles to take lives, but they aren't trying to ban cars. Mass murderers have used knives to take lives, but we aren't trying to ban edged tools.
Focusing on the tools these psychopaths/terrorists use is never going to be the answer. It's focusing on the symptoms instead of the problems. It'll make some feel like they accomplished something right up until the next attack, at which point they'll be back to seeking another "feel good/do something" response, because the last "feel good/do something" proved worthless.
Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.