The Corner

Politics & Policy

A Bad Move on Bump Stocks

As Jack Crowe notes below, on Friday the Justice Department proposed a rule that would ban bump stocks. Not only would future sales be illegal, but current owners would be forced to surrender or destroy items they bought legally.

I feel like a broken record at this point, but I’ll say it again: Current law does not allow the executive branch to take action against bump stocks. I agree we should change our policy (though I don’t support confiscation). But any such changes must start in Congress.

Here’s how I put it back in October:

Federal law defines “machinegun” as a “weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” Bump stocks do not allow the weapon to fire multiple times for each function of the trigger; they just help the user pull the trigger incredibly rapidly.

No amount of tortured logic will change this simple fact, which is why even the Obama administration approved these devices for sale. If the Trump administration proceeds with this, it will face a court challenge, and it will deserve to lose.

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