The Trump administration’s recent decision to ban bump stock devices should concern you, even if you don’t own a bump stock or even a firearm, a conservative House member explains.
In an interview with Blaze Media, founding Second Amendment Caucus Chair Thomas Massie, R-Ky., explained how the recent decision sets terrible precedents for both gun owners and non-gun owners alike. The DOJ’s new ruling is factually incorrect about how bump stocks actually work. The agency said that the devices violate previous federal firearms laws because they supposedly “allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.”
That’s not true. In reality, bump-firing a semi-automatic firearm still requires one trigger pull per round. The gun itself moves back and forth. And that doesn’t require a special stock to do.
Most politicians know nothing at all about bump stocks — they just know they want to ban them! Here are the facts.
Posted by Capitol Hill Brief on Thursday, March 15, 2018
“They started with the conclusion and changed the facts to match the conclusion that they wanted,” Massie said.
Massie also expressed his frustration that the decision was made without involving the legislative branch and said that he believes that House leadership asked the administration to do it in order to save elected Republicans from making a hard decision.
“I think they wanted to insulate members of the Republican conference that would have voted for a bump stock ban or would have voted against,” Massie said, adding that lawmakers “just didn’t want to be on record” on the issue.
Massie also said that banning the devices in reaction to their possible involvement in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting is premature, given that Congress still hasn’t been given all the information on what actually happened.
“We typically get briefing on things like that,” Massie said. “I’ve never seen a report on if any of the weapons in Vegas were actually modified to full auto instead of using a bump stock, which I suspect they were.”
But the biggest issue that affects people without guns is the kind of precedent that it sets for property rights, Massie explained.
“Even when the Democrats accomplished the so-called assault weapons ban in 1994, they allowed people to keep them, and they allowed them to be sold,” Massie said. By contrast, he added, the new ruling sets a precedent “that your property can be claimed because the executive branch changes its interpretation of a law that it had already ruled on multiple times.”
“And there’s no compensation, which is another concern of mine,” Massie continued, saying that “even the boldest Democrats” in favor of firearms confiscation measures understand “that they should be paid for.”
“It’s sort of an American principle that the government doesn’t take your stuff without compensating you,” the Kentucky congressman remarked.
However, in its ruling, the DOJ said that it doesn’t have the funds to compensate people whose bump stocks will be confiscated and that it doesn’t have congressional authorization to do so.
“I find it ironic that they feel empowered and authorized to change the law which they’ve already interpreted,” Massie said, “and then they say they can’t pay for them because they don’t have the authority.”
In conclusion, Massie told me that people shouldn’t overlook the implications of a ruling like this just because they don’t care about the fate of something that used to be a novelty firearms accessory until last year’s horrific murders in Las Vegas.
“I’m no fan of bump stocks; I think they waste ammunition and cause you to shoot inaccurately,” Massie explained with a laugh. However, “the precedent that this sets — allowing the executive branch to ban something that was legally acquired and then confiscate it and destroy it without compensation — is a horrible one.”
“Even if they were doing it in a different domain, it would be a horrible precedent,” he added, “but to have it in this domain, firearms, makes it much worse.”