Florida Bump Stock Ban and The New Federal Bump Stock Ban

By David S. Katz, The Firearm Firm & Emily Taylor, Walker & Taylor, PLLC

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has just signed a national ban on bump stocks, expected to go into effect on March 21, 2019. This ban follows on the heels of the Florida Bump Stock Ban which went into effect on October 1, 2018.

Florida Law defines the term “bump fire stock” to mean a conversion kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device used to alter the rate of fire of a firearm to mimic automatic weapon fire or which is used to increase the rate of fire to a faster rate than is possible for a person to fire such semiautomatic firearm unassisted by a kit, a tool, an accessory, or a device.  This is much more inclusive then the Federal Ban and makes many more devices illegal than the Federal ban.

The New Federal Law includes. bump stocks in the definition of “Machine gun” found in 27 CFR Parts 477, 478, and 479. Under the new federal ban, “the term “machine gun” includes a bump-stock-type device, i.e., a device that allows a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semi- automatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.”

Previously, this term was defined as: “[A] firearm which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” The term also includes any part of a machine gun or anything that may convert a weapon into a machine gun.

This new federal definition has the effect of criminalizing the possession of all bump stocks. The new rule has no provision to grandfather in and register the bump stocks that many citizens already own. Without exception, before March 21, 2019, if you own a bump stock you must either surrender it to the ATF or destroy it. You will not be compensated for the money you spent when you legally bought this item. Failure to comply with this new rule is a federal felony, punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine for each bump stock in your possession.

Similarly, the Florida Ban which is already in effect had no grandfathering provision and criminalized the possession of legally purchased bump-stocks and other modifications legally made which increased the rate of fire of a firearm to any degree. Florida Statute §90.222 entitled Bump-fire stocks prohibited. Reads —A person may not import into this state or transfer, distribute, sell, keep for sale, offer for sale, possess, or give to another person a bump fire stock. A person who violates this section commits a felony of the third degree.

There have already been many legal challenges filed to both of these bans, and there will be many more to come.

Even if you do not own a bump stock, this development is extremely upsetting. The implementation of these laws are an uncompensated taking of legally owned property.  Today bump stocks, tomorrow it could be anything from magazines to ammunition to all of our guns.

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