The federal bump stock ban has been in place since December and the extension period to turn them in by the end of March has now come and gone. If you still own a bump stock, you are now a felon in possession of a piece of plastic that is classified as a “machine gun.” The new illegality of this firearms part has created some interesting juxtapositions.
In states where there is no buy-back program for bump stocks, no one is turning the devices in. States doing buy-backs have pretty good participation rates. Here’s the thing that gun owners need to understand: A bump stock buy-back creates a de facto AR-15 registry. You are on a list of AR-15 owners if you sell a bump stock to the police in your state. The only question now is who has their hands on that list.
In Washington state, the legislature allocated $150,000 for a bump stock buy-back program, which was administered by the Washington State Patrol (WSP). The state purchased bump stocks from owners for $150 apiece, and the money ran out very quickly. At least 1,000 bump stock owners took advantage of the buy-back earlier this year.
However, someone has now submitted a “public records request” to the WSP. The request, sent by someone using a pseudonym, states an intention to create a searchable database and map, showing Washington residents exactly where these ‘dangerous items’ were owned and who owned them.
The WSP sent notices out to everyone who took part in the buyback to alert them that they must comply with the public records request under Washington state law.
Oh, and, oops, your name and address are going to be turned over to an unknown entity and posted on a public anti-gun database. And since you sold a bump stock to the state it’s obvious that you own a semiautomatic rifle.
The WSP was nice enough to send the notice out to bump stock owners to let them know they would comply with the public records request, “absent a superior court order enjoining disclosure.” (Hint, hint.) But whether anyone will file suit to stop the disclosure before the April 26 deadline is unclear.
One thing does seem pretty clear: Don’t participate in a bump stock buy-back program. Federal law prohibits a gun registry from being created, and for good reason. But no law exists to prevent the creation of a bump stock registry, and therein lies the problem.
You automatically know that if someone owns a bump stock, they own at least one corresponding semiautomatic rifle. Since Washington state doled out money to buy the bump stocks, they were required to create a paper trail for accounting purposes. That paper trail leads right back to gun owners.
A reporter in Ohio wanted to check on bump stock turn-in compliance rates for a newspaper story. He called a ton of rural and urban police departments, sheriff’s departments, the state police and the ATF to see how many bump stocks have been surrendered to law enforcement. Ohio has not done a buy-back program, and every law enforcement agency gave him one of two answers: Either zero, or “no comment.” Everyone lost their bump stocks in a big canoe accident!
There’s always a sneaky catch that gun-grabbers will use to trap gun owners. For example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has now said that his “highest priority” before the 2020 election is to raise the tobacco purchasing age to 21. What? Well, it’s not like there are any other problems that should be high priority for Congress, like repealing Obamacare or dealing with the southern border.
Why smoking? Just you wait: Once the age limit for purchasing tobacco products is raised to 21, it will be turned into a moral equivalence argument for gun control. Dianne Feinstein will then argue, “We don’t allow kids to purchase tobacco until they’re 21, so why do we allow them to purchase dangerous military-grade high-capacity grenade launcher AK-87 machine gun nukes that cause global warming?”
The bump stock ban will probably be overturned at some point in the future. It amounts to nothing more than an illegal taking without compensation, at the federal level. For gun owners at the state level, be sure that you don’t participate in a buy-back program unless the law includes a proviso that all records of the transaction be destroyed. Otherwise, your name is going on a list.