Gun Owners Group Suing Trump Administration Over Bump Stock Ban

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Gun Owners of America (GOA) and its Foundation (GOF) will be filing suit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) and the Department of Justice to seek an injunction protecting gun owners from their illegal prohibition of bump stocks.

Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America said, “As written, this case has important implications for gun owners since, in the coming days, an estimated half a million bump stock owners will have the difficult decision of either destroying or surrendering their valuable property — or else risk felony prosecution.

“ATF’s claim that it can rewrite Congressional law cannot pass legal muster. Agencies are not free to rewrite laws under the guise of ‘interpretation’ of a statute, especially where the law’s meaning is clear.

“The new ATF regulations would arbitrarily redefine bump stocks as ‘machineguns’ — and, down the road, could implicate the right to own AR-15’s and many other lawfully owned semi-automatic firearms,” Pratt continued. “ATF’s new bump stock regulation clearly violates federal law, as bump stocks do not qualify as machineguns under the federal statute.”

In a letter to supporters, GOA wrote:

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF) today announced its long-expected regulations banning bump stocks.

“I want to assure you that Gun Owners of America has already prepared a lawsuit against the ATF and the Department of Justice to seek an injunction protecting gun owners from these unconstitutional regulations.

“We will be filing our lawsuit as soon as the ATF’s regulations are officially published.

“As written, this case has important Second Amendment implications for gun owners.

“After all, in the coming days, an estimated half a million bump stock owners will have the difficult decision of either destroying or surrendering their valuable property — or else risk felony prosecution.

“GOA will argue that courts should be highly suspect when an agency changes its “interpretation” of a statute in order to impair the exercise of an enumerated constitutional right.

“The new ATF regulations would define bump stocks as “machineguns” — and, down the road, the new definition could implicate the right to own AR-15’s and many other semi-automatic firearms.

“ATF’s new bump stock regulation clearly violates federal law, as bump stocks do not qualify as machineguns under the federal statute.

“Moreover, bump stocks, which have been in circulation for many years, have repeatedly been ruled by ATF as lawful to own.

“This ban was imposed through regulations because Congress has repeatedly refused to amend the law to ban them.

“But the ATF has no authority to radically “re-interpret” a statute that is clear and unambiguous. To do so would allow agency regulations to overturn the clear provisions of statutory law.”

“Statutory law is clear: Under 26 U.S.C. 5845(b), a ‘machinegun’ is a weapon which shoots ‘automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single FUNCTION of a trigger.’ (Emphasis added.)

“A firearm equipped with a ‘bump stock’ uses the recoil of the firearm, coupled with forward pressure exerted by the shooter, to force the trigger to function more quickly than it would normally. But the trigger is still required to function each time a round is discharged. Therefore, the gun cannot be said to function as a ‘machinegun.”

 

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