A new rule banning bump stocks has been signed and will be formally published later this week. Once that happens, the rule will take effect in 90 days. From CBS News:
“The rule will take effect in 90 days from publication in the federal register,” a senior Justice Department official told reporters on a conference call Tuesday morning. “At that point it will essentially become unlawful to posses a bump stock type device, they will be considered machine guns under both the National Firearms Act and the GCA — the Gun Control Act.”…
The senior DOJ official on the conference call Tuesday acknowledged the Las Vegas shooting made the DOJ reevaluate current regulations given the times. The October 2017 massacre at an outdoor music festival on the Las Vegas strip was the deadliest in U.S. history, and more than a year later investigators have still be unable to offer a motive.
So this rule will prevent any future sales of bump stocks and anyone who owns one will have 90 days to either turn it into the ATF or destroy it themselves. The outstanding question is whether or not this will be challenged in court. The NY Times reports that the exact position of the NRA on the ban is still uncertain:
The National Rifle Association, the gun-rights lobby, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new rule or its intentions. In the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, the N.R.A. supported an A.T.F. review of bump stock devices, seemingly breaking with its usual practice of fiercely opposing any new restrictions on legal access to firearms. At the time, it said it “believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
But the N.R.A. never embraced a ban…
Back in February, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said the NRA did not back a “ban” but also pointed out that the NRA had called on the ATF to make sure its rules were “consistent.” That matched with what Wayne LaPierre had said after the Las Vegas shooting (video below). The NRA wasn’t calling for a ban or confiscation, but it was suggesting the ATF look at the law in a way that suggested the group was open to a decision that would limit the devices.
I don’t have any inside information on this but it seems to me the NRA is probably going to be hesitant to break with Trump over something that he has signaled for months he was going to do. Nothing about this decision is a surprise at this point, so the fact that the NRA hasn’t explicitly opposed it before now makes me think they don’t really want to pick this fight. So far, the group has not issued a statement. Here’s the clip of LaPierre from last October discussing bump stocks.
Update: Still no word from the NRA but one group is suing over the ban.
Gun Owners of America and its foundation said Tuesday they will challenge the Trump administration’s new ban on bump stocks and seek a court order to block the rule…
“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,” Erich Pratt, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.