The Bump Stock Ban: What You Need to Know

Thomas DiGennaro | @tom.digennaro

Today, March 26th, the Trump administration’s bump stock ban officially moves into effect. In December of 2018, Trump issued the rule that banned bump stocks. This ban came in wake of the Las Vegas massacre and the Parkland school shooting.

How Bump Stocks Work

Bump stocks are a plastic stock that either replaces the stock of a semi-automatic rifle or attaches over it. With either application, the device allows a semi-automatic rifle to “bump” fire. The recoil of the rifle causes it to move backward and forwards, while the bump stock stays firmly in place. This allows the weapon to fire multiple times with one pull of the trigger. The legal claim is that bump stocks allow a semi-automatic rifle to “convert” to a machine gun. This is the justification that the Trump administration, the ATF, and the NRA have used for the bump stock ban.

While the NRA has expressed their support for the Trump administration’s ban, Firearms Policy Coalition and Gun Owners of America have led the fight on three separate legal suits challenging the ban.

Legal Opposition to the Ban

Firearms Policy Coalition filed two suits against the ban. One suit challenged Trump’s appointment of former AG Whitaker, and therefore his authority to enforce such a ban. The other suit challenged the classification of a rifle with a bump stock as a “machine gun”.

In late February, both of the plaintiff’s of FPC’s suits announced that the courts denied a temporary injunction to the ban. Earlier today, FPC announced that the court is granting a temporary injunction to the ban. However, the Circut’s stay of the ban only protects members of FPC and the other lobby groups involved in the suit.

Gun Owner’s of America also challenged the machine gun classification, as well as other constitutional aspects of the ban. They primarily cited the slippery slope argument of gun control. They had a lot of success in raising support by claiming bump stock bans would lead to semi-automatic rifle bans. Both argument’s explained how rubber bands, shoelaces, and many other common items can achieve the same bump-fire rate as a bump stock. Even a belt loop can allow for bump-fire.

On March 21st, shortly after the Michigan federal court judge ruled against GOA, they filed a last-second appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Sixth Court of appeals has yet to respond to their request for a temporary injunction to the ban, as well as an appeal.

The Future?

Going forward, the results of the legal suits are far from predictable. All that can be certain is that both FPC and GOA are dedicated to seeing the bump stock ban fight to the end.


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