Gun rights group says it will sue over bump stock 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.

After the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a final rule Tuesday to ban the device, which allows a semi-automatic weapon to be fired much more rapidly, the gun rights group said it will challenge the rule in court.

“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.

“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.”

In the rule, the DOJ is clarifying the regulatory definition of a "machinegun" to include bump-stock-type devices, subjecting them to federal gun restrictions under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Pratt said the DOJ is arbitrarily redefining bump stocks as "machineguns" and, down the road, could implicate the right to own AR-15s and many other lawfully owned 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,” he said.

Bump stock owners have 90 days once the final rule is published in the Federal Register to destroy their devices or turn them into the nearest Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office.