Gun Rights Advocates sue Trump Administration Over ATF’s Bump Stock Final Rule

On Tuesday, December 18, 2018, Damien Guedes, a Pennsylvania citizen who purchased a bump stock device in 2014, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, and Madison Society Foundation filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives challenging the Trump administration’s ban on bump stock devices.

The complaint was filed the same day Trump administration officials released a final rule to prohibit bump stock devices; the rule states that bump stock devices essentially convert semiautomatic weapons to fire like machine guns “without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.” The rule requires people in possession of the devices to turn in said devices to an ATF field office or to destroy said devices by March 21st, 2019.

The plaintiffs attack the Trump administration’s final rule by first alleging that the final rule was enacted invalidly since acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker lacks the authority to oversee the final rule. The plaintiffs allege that acting attorney general Whitaker should never have been appointed in the first place, thus invalidating the final rule.

The plaintiffs further attack the final rule for violating the Administrative Procedure Act; the plaintiffs claim that the Justice Department did not comply with the standards set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act. The complaint further alleges that the final rule denies owners their Fifth Amendment rights under the Takings Clause since the property may not be seized without financial compensation and since the ban cannot be applied retroactively. The plaintiffs finally allege that the bump stock devices aren’t machine guns, per the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives’s past statements.

The complaint was amended on Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

Additional Reading

Gun Rights Activists Are Already Suing Over Trump’s Bump Stock Ban, BuzzFeed News (December 18, 2018)

Guedes et al v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives et al

Complaint in Guedes et al v. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives et al