It took only hours for a lawsuit to be filed after the federal government on Tuesday announced a ban on gun bump stocks.
The complaint by the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, the Madison Society Foundation and others targets a final rule published by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
The rule gives owners 90 days to destroy their bump stocks or face a possible prison terms of 10 years.
The device harnesses a gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster.
The plaintiffs also are seeking a temporary order stopping the implementation of the ban until the case is heard.
Bump stocks suddenly arose to prominence when one was used by a deranged gunman last year in Las Vegas who killed 58 people shooting from a hotel room on a crowd below attending a concert.
Federal authorities previously concluded bump stocks were merely a gun accessory and were not subject to federal regulation.
But a 157-page report by the federal government found that what previously had been considered an accessory was now a “machine gun.”
The government candidly admits its action will cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The decision came despite tens of thousands of letters and comments opposing the move.
The lawsuit, detailed on a web page by the Firearms Policy Coalition, challenges the “confiscatory ban.”
“‘Bump-stocks’ were legal under federal law and prior determinations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives until the agency issued a new final rulemaking today. Under the new rule, owners of the devices have just 90 days to surrender or destroy their property, after which they could face federal ‘machinegun’ charges that carry up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines for each violation,” the lawsuit’s backers explained.
Joshua Prince and attorney Adam Kraut of Firearms Industry Consulting Group, a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., previously filed a nearly 1,000-page formal opposition to the proposed regulation.
“The ATF has misled the public about bump-stock devices,” Prince said. “Worse, they are actively attempting to make felons out of people who relied on their legal opinions to lawfully acquire and possess devices the government unilaterally, unconstitutionally, and improperly decided to reclassify as ‘machineguns.’ We are optimistic that the court will act swiftly to protect the rights and property of Americans who own these devices, and once the matter has been fully briefed and considered by the court, that the regulation will be struck down permanently.”
The plaintiffs said the federal agency lack the authority to re-define the devices and, just as they opposed the “lawless manner in which President Obama often ruled by ‘pen-and-a-phone’ executive fiat,'” they would object to the same moves under President Trump.
“In its rulemaking, the Trump administration is attempting to abuse the system, ignore the statutes passed by the Congress, and thumb its nose at the Constitution without regard to the liberty and property rights of Americans. That is unacceptable and dangerous,” said Kraut. “It is beyond comprehension that the government would seek establish a precedent that it can arbitrarily redefine terms and subject thousands of people to serious criminal liability and the loss of property.”