Monday, January 22, 2018 – You can blame Massachusetts for this. Or New Jersey. Or Illinois. Or any one of these other states considering a ban, and at least two cities, Columbia, SC and Denver: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Washington, Oregon, Vermont. Vermont!!? Or you can just blame the NRA. The gun controllers are just absolutely giddy over the prospects and are licking their lips, anxious to join one of the biggest gun ban smorgasbords they had heretofore only just imagined.
Last week Massachusetts sent out a letter to all gun owners registered in the state announcing that confiscation of their private property by the state is imminent. Massachusetts is a licensing-required state and you need a permit to purchase before buying a gun. While there is no registration of gun owners, being licensed to buy is de facto registration meaning that “they” know who you are and where you live. The state took advantage of that when they sent letters out to all gun owners telling them they have to give up their bump stocks – if they own any – to state police by the end of this month. If you don’t, prison awaits.
Obviously there is more than a property surrender question here that won’t go away until the U.S. Supreme Court acts on the constitutionality of giving your private property to the state without compensation. We’re now in the second year of the Trump Administration and the many gun-related issues that await hearing at the SCOTUS level have been more or less pushed aside. The front burner emergency over government shutdown along with immigration demands from Democrats has stalled further efforts by the Administration and the courts to give some attention to critical gun issues. What that long and impatient pause does is to allow states to ignore constitutional precedents or waiting-in-the-wings congressional gun rights legislation while allowing states to set their own laws as they see fit.
We suspect the NRA is really anxious for some judicial clarity, especially on bump stocks. Initially, they sought a review of ATF regulations to address the issue. Meanwhile, several democrats have introduced bump stock bans at both federal and state levels. Some bump stock owners – and certainly manufacturers – are trying to figure out what the future holds. Mainly, they want to NRA to take a larger leadership role rather than remaining silent while Massachusetts and other states push bump stock bans legislatively. Where success breeds contempt it also breeds imitation and more state are likely to take up similar bans. If they can do that, gun owners fear, what else can they get away with banning next?