Trump Administration Bans Bump Stocks; Gives Public 90 Days to Destroy or Turn Them All In
The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced the finalized form of a bump stock ban, brought about through amending ATF regulations so as to define bump stocks as “machineguns.”
Breitbart News possesses a copy of the DOJ’s summary of the ban, which states:
The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify that bump-stock-type devices-meaning “bump fire” stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics-are “machineguns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.
The summary says a bump stock allows the trigger of a semiautomatic firearm to reset between the firing of each round, but describes the bump stock-equipped “semiautomatic firearm” as “self-acting or self-regulating,” and therefore a “machinegun.”
According to the Department of Justice's summary, there will be no grandfathering of pre-owned bump stocks. Rather, all bump stocks must be destroyed or handed over to the ATF within 90 days of the ban’s effective date. The date of March 21, 2019 is being given as the deadline for destruction or surrender. Those who refuse could face federal ‘machinegun’ charges that carry up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each violation.
On President Trump’s order, the ATF began seeking public comment on a regulatory ban of bump stocks in December 2017. Trump clarified in February 2018 he had directed the DOJ to ban the firearm accessories.
In a statement yesterday, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said "We are faithfully following President Trump's leadership..."
The Breitbart News article reports "a senior DOJ official said there are no plans to compensate bump stock owners for the financial value of their legally purchased bump stock accessories. The official also said the DOJ expects a legal challenge against the bump stock ban and is prepared to fight any suit that is filed."
Buckeye Firearms Association has issued the following statement in response to the news:
We are aware of the recent decision from the DOJ and BAFTE regarding bump stocks. Nevertheless, we will continue to litigate our lawsuits in Cincinnati and Columbus and zealously represent all Ohio gun owners.
Following is a timeline of events related to those lawsuits, filed jointly by Buckeye Firearms Foundation (BFF) and Ohioans For Concealed Carry (OFCC):
- On May 16, 2018, the City of Columbus enacts a municipal ordinance banning "illegal rate-of-fire acceleration firearm accessories" which included trigger cranks, bump stocks, and other devices and component parts ("Rate-of-Fire Ordinance"); Columbus also enacts an ordinance banning the possession of firearms by a new class of individuals convicted of certain crimes ("Weapon Under Disability Ordinance"); the penalties for violating both ordinances include a mandatory six month jail time, effectively stripping out judicial discretion as to sentencing.
- On June 21, 2018, Buckeye Firearms Foundation (BFF) and Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) file a lawsuit in Franklin County Common Pleas Court challenging the above ordinances as in conflict with R.C. 9.68; included in the filings are the complaint along with a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
- On June 22, 2018, BFF and OFCC obtain a temporary restraining order from the Court preventing the City of Columbus from enforcing of the above ordinances.
- On July 9, 2018, BFF and OFCC appear in court for a hearing on the preliminary injunction to further prevent the enforcement of the ordinances.
- On July 12, 2018, the Court issues a decision and opinion; BFF and OFCC obtain a permanent injunction as to the Rate-of-Fire Ordinance, permanently preventing the enforcement of that ordinance; the Court rules that Columbus may enact and enforce the Weapons Under Disability Ordinance.
- On August 8, the City of Columbus appeals the decision of the Court.
- On August 13, BFF and OFCC file a cross appeal.
- The appeal is currently pending before the 10th District Court of Appeals, with all merits briefs and responses currently filed.
- On May 9, 2018, the City of Cincinnati enacts a municipal ordinance banning "trigger activators" defined as devices that accelerates the rate of fire of firearms, including bump stocks, trigger cranks, slide fire devices, and other devices and component parts ("Trigger Activator Ordinance").
- On June 21, 2018, BFF and OFCC file a lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court challenging the above ordinance as in conflict with R.C. 9.68; included in the filings are the complaint along with a motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.
- The City of Cincinnati shortly thereafter voluntarily agrees to temporarily suspend enforcement of the ordinance until such time that a preliminary injunction hearing is held.
- On July 25, 2018, BFF and OFCC obtain a preliminary injunction order from the Court preventing the enforcement of the Trigger Activator Ordinance until the case is fully adjudicated.
- On November, 26, 2018, the parties each file Motions for Summary Judgment; the Court will hear oral argument on summary judgment on January 29, 2019.
- The case currently undisposed and trial is tentatively set for February 28, 2019.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. 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.