Recent news concerning gun rights has many enthusiasts concerned even if the new law does not directly apply to them. The ATF has established a ban on bump stocks, claiming they turn a legal semi-automatic rifle into an illegal fully automatic weapon. There are certain aspects of the law which should be disturbing even to someone who favors gun control simply because of the precedent it sets — allowing the U.S. Government to arbitrarily take what was legally bought by a citizen.
A bump stock works by redirecting the recoil of a semiautomatic rifle so that it “bumps” back against the trigger finger, firing again, over and over. In technical terms, it doesn’t turn the rifle into an automatic weapon, as the trigger is being repeatedly depressed and released, but it does make the gun fire at nearly the rate of an automatic weapon. That fact alone does make it a questionable piece of equipment which violates the intent of the law prohibiting automatic weapons.
Regardless if that might be a loophole that should be closed, or even if the automatic weapons ban is reasonable and should exist is a topic for a different debate, the real issue at hand is whether the government can arbitrarily criminalize something without a grandfather clause, forcing civilians to destroy or give away what they legally bought with their hard earned money.
It is easily arguable that a bump stock serves no practical purpose outside of military use. That rate of fire is used by soldiers to provide cover fire, forcing the enemy to remain hidden without a chance to fire back. For hunting and competitive target shooting, you wouldn’t use a bump stock because it detracts from accuracy. However, it might be fun for some people to shoot safely at a range, or for someone planning to join the military to learn about firing at such speed. There are in fact legitimate reasons as to why a civilian might want a rifle equipped with a bump stock.
Gun control activists began pushing for a ban on these devices after one was used by a gunman who committed a mass shooting at a Las Vegas music festival. In all honesty, most people other than the most enthusiastic of gun owners didn’t even know such an item existed before that happened.
The bottom line is that the law is unconstitutional. Like it or not, it would at least make some sense if the law stated no more could be sold in order to phase out the existing ones as they break or wear out.
As it stands, the law takes effect 90 days from its incorporation on December 18, 2018, which is sure to become a sad day in American history. On March 18, 2019, anyone who has not destroyed or turned in a bump stock in their possession is committing a felony.
~ Ready to Fire News