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Federal Bump Stock Ban Set To Go Into Effect Tuesday

Posted at 5:11 AM, Mar 26, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CNBC)– A national ban on bump stocks is set to go into effect Tuesday, even as one of the gun-rights groups fighting the ban moved Monday to appeal the regulation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“We still feel that the regulation is a factual misreading of the statute, and that ultimately we will be vindicated on it,” said Michael Hammond, the legislative counsel for Gun Owners of America.

In December, the Department of Justice announced it would administratively ban the devices used to make semi-automatic rifles fire continuously like machine guns. At the time, the government estimated more than 500,000 of the bump stock devices had been sold.

Bump stocks were used in 2017 by the gunman who fired more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition at Las Vegas concertgoers and killed 58 people in the nation’s deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Following the mass shooting, the administration began a review of the bump stocks and President Donald Trump expressed his support for banning the devices last year.

The U.S. government said those in possession of the bump stocks have the option to destroy the devices or turn them in to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. According to DOJ, the new regulation by ATF bans “all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.”

The federal government isn’t offering any compensation for owners of the bump stocks, although at least one state stepped in with a buy back program. Regardless, those who are still in possession of the devices could be subject to felony charges.

In Washington State, residents who own bump stocks can earn $150 for every device they turn in to the state police. As of Monday morning, at least 916 of the bump stocks had been turned in for money, according to Chris Loftis, a spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.

Lawsuits seeking to halt the federal ban were filed in several states, including Washington, Ohio, Utah and Michigan.

Gun Owners of America has opposed congressional attempts to pass restrictions on the bump stocks. The group also joined other plaintiffs seeking to block the Trump administration’s ban.

On Monday, a federal court in Cincinnati denied the group’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the rule from going into effect. After the Ohio court’s ruling, Hammond said the group moved to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hammond called the Trump administration’s bump stock ban “sort of weird in that it’s saying that a piece of plastic is a ‘machine gun.’ I think the court also needs to take into consideration that if the piece of plastic is a machine gun, the AR-15 is also a machine gun.”

Last month, a federal district court judge in Washington state upheld the administration’s proposed ban on bump stocks. Also, last week a federal judge in Utah rebuffed an attempt by a gun organization in the state to block the regulations from taking effect.

“The strongest and best solution is for our Congressional leaders to classify bump stocks as illegal machine guns once and for all, so that our communities are no longer at risk from these destructive devices,” said Max Samis, a spokesperson for the Brady group, a gun control advocacy organization.