Gun Owners of America warned the president this week his proposed bump stock ban will endanger gun rights under future administrations.
The advocacy group drafted a letter Wednesday to President Donald Trump, urging him to squash the ban before it turns into a “slippery slope” of regulations against semiautomatic firearms.
“Mr. President, if your administration arbitrarily classifies bump fire stocks as machineguns, consistency would require classifying every pair of Levi’s jeans as machineguns — on the theory that they have belt loops which can be used to enable bump firing,” said GOA Chairman Tim Macy in the letter. “Indeed, ATF would also be required to classify human beings themselves as machineguns, since some shooters are able to bump fire their semiautomatic firearms using nothing more complicated than their trigger finger.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives opened the public comment period last month on a proposal to redefine bump stocks as machine guns — two months after Trump publicly pressured the Department of Justice to do so or else “he’d write them out” himself. The accessory, which mimics automatic gun fire, gained notoriety in October after a lone gunman mowed down 58 people and injured more than 850 others on the Las Vegas strip with a dozen rifles modified with the devices.
The new language appears to correct the agency’s previous opinion — issued in 2010 after reviewing a bump stock submitted by Texas-based manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions — that the devices weren’t worth regulating.
Rick Vasquez, the now-retired ATF agent who made the call on bump stocks eight years ago, stood by his decision in October. He criticized the latest proposal, arguing it goes beyond the agency’s authoritative reach.
“The ATF has been directed to write a regulation that is stronger then the law,” he said. “An agency can write regulations, but only Congress can write laws.”
Macy agrees he agency lacks the authority necessary for its proposed ban and reminded the president of the millions of gun owners who elected him — for a reason.
“They are often single-issue voters, and they have good memories,” he said, noting GOA represents 1.5 million members. “They will not tolerate a President who compromises their constitutional rights, just because he felt that ‘something had to be done’ to respond to the latest mass shooting.”