Bump Stock Ban Takes Effect Tuesday Amid Lawsuits, Questions About Whether It Can Be Enforced

WASHINGTON -- Bump stocks -- attachments that essentially turn semiautomatic rifles into machine guns -- will be banned across the U.S. starting Tuesday.Experts say enforcing the ban will be a problem, and several lawsuits seeking to halt the ban already have been filed. One of the latest lawsuits came Monday from Michael Cargill, gun rights activist and owner of Central Texas Gun Works in Austin. Under an order signed in December by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, owners of the devices faced a Tuesday deadline to either destroy or take the devices to an office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The federal rule reclassifies bump stocks-- most of which were made in Texas -- as “machine guns” no matter where it was purchased and owning one will be a felony.The battle over bump stocks became political after the Oct. 1, 2017 massacre of 58 people by a man using a rifle fitted with a bump stock in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. President Donald Trump had called for the ban following the shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas, saying it would happen in “two or three weeks,” but the process to enact the ban took almost a year and a half.The ATF estimated that more than half a million people owned bump stocks in a report released last March for the agency’s proposed bump stock ban. The report found that 2,281 retailers and two bump stock manufacturers would be affected by a ban. The ban was expected to cost the industry, public and government more than $200 million over a 10-year span.Even though the devices are banned, enforcing the rule will be difficult, said Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor who has studied firearms issues. There won’t be raids or police going around searching for bump stocks, he said. Unless someone commits a crime and is in possession of a bump stock, it’s unlikely that the devices would be found.“You can make it illegal but is will be pretty hard to stop,” Winkler said.Nathan Allen, a 30-year-old from Houston, bought a bump stock shortly after the Las Vegas shooting because he figured a law would be passed. However, he did not expect the ramifications that followed. “This put a whole company out of business. It’s a little silly,” Allen said.Slide Fire Solutions, a small company outside Abilene, was thrust into the national spotlight after it was discovered most of the bump stocks used in the Las Vegas shooting came from there. Slide Fire closed its online store in June and referred customers to a Fort Worth-based company, RW Arms.RW Arms did not return emails or phone calls from The Dallas Morning News. Bump stock products were listed on its website, along with a countdown clock tracking to the time the ban takes effect.  Continue reading...

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