The Trump administration announced last week new regulations that immediately make the sale and/or possession of bump stocks illegal. Done without any congressional mandate or legislation, the move to ban bump stocks in a response to the shocking mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, which saw the killer use the accessory to increase the firing speed of his semi-automatic rifles to near-automatic levels. But while the decision to make these bump stocks illegal is seen as admirable even in certain pro-gun communities, the way that it was done strikes many as overreach on the part of the Executive Branch.
So it is that the Gun Owners of America has filed a lawsuit against the ATF, claiming in federal court that the agency does not have the authority to make bump stocks illegal by executive fiat.
“Our suit challenges the legality of ATF’s action and asks for an injunction to stop enforcement of the regulations,” said GOA executive director Erich Pratt in a press release. “These dangerous regulations can go much farther than just bump stocks. The goal of the anti-gun left is, ultimately, not just banning bump stocks, but, rather, putting ‘points on the board’ toward its goal of banning civilian ownership of all firearms.”
Pratt said that GOA would not be alone in pursuing justice.
“GOA is happy to announce that the Virginia Citizens Defense League has joined the suit as a plaintiff — as well as Tim from the Military Arms Channel and GOA’s Texas state director Rachel Malone,” he said. “And I’m pleased to report that several state gun organizations, such as the Oregon Firearms Federation and BamaCarry, have contacted GOA and will be contributing financially, and by other means, to this case.”
The Trump administration has indicated that the new regulations were run through a vigorous legal process before rolling out, and DOJ officials have said they are ready and willing to defend the ban in court.
To be perfectly honest, we’re not particularly concerned about bump stocks getting banned, and we’re not all that worried about the Trump administration taking further executive action to limit our gun rights.
The problem is precedence. The problem is that Donald Trump won’t be president forever. The problem is that once the ATF takes for themselves the authority to make illegal a product that was legal yesterday, they will not easily give it up. The problem is that a Democrat president could use the ATF’s ability to ban bump stocks and expand that regulatory power to the point that it makes the Second Amendment all but obsolete. The problem is that this is the domain of Congress, and it needs to remain so.
We hope the GOA is successful in their lawsuit – not because we’re dying to see bump stocks remain on the market, but because every chip and crack in the Constitution is a hole the snakes can use to slither in.