Photo of firearm detailing bump stock for article on new gun regulations by LTC Allen West on the Old School Patriot

How to Become a Felon Overnight

In Front Page, Second Amendment, US Constitution by Allen West

Good day, folks.

I am sure the title to this missive has many of you perplexed. So, let me get right to it. As reported by CNS News:

“Owners of bump stocks have 90 days to destroy them beyond repair or surrender them to the government, the Trump administration announced on Tuesday. 

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders made the announcement at a White House news conference: 

On another note, the president is once again fulfilling a promise he made to the American people, and this morning, the acting attorney general signed the final rule, making clear that bump stocks are illegal because they fall within the definition of machine guns that are banned under federal firearms law. 

A 90-day period now begins, which persons and possessions of bump stock-type devices must turn those devices to an ATF field office or destroy them by March 21st. Instructions for proper destruction will be posted on ATF’s website today. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on Tuesday posted information on its website, explaining how bump stocks “must be completely crushed, melted or shredded,” making them incapable of being readily restored. 

ATF said torch-cutting is an alternative means of destruction, but people who choose this method must follow the instructions on where to make the cuts. The ATF has posted a pdf with photographs of bump stocks and red lines indicating where the device must be severed. 

“Destruction by any other means not described above is not authorized by ATF,” the website says. 

Bump stock owners also have the option of turning in the device at the nearest ATF office. ATF advises that it is best to make an appointment beforehand with the nearest ATF office.

Because there are no records of individuals who have purchased bump stocks, ATF does not know how many individuals currently own them. But ATF estimates that 519,927 bump-stock-type devices have been purchased in the eight years since 2010 when they came on the market.

Owners and sellers will not be compensated for the loss of the devices. Under the National Firearms Act, it is illegal for any private citizen to own any fully automatic weapons manufactured after May 19, 1986. The penalties include fines of up to $250,000 and a possible prison sentence. As mentioned, bump stocks now fall into the machine gun category.”

Yes, full disclosure: I am a Board Member of the National Rifle Association, and my assessments and comments here are my own, not representing the views of the NRA.

I have never seen a “bump stock” in person. And we all know that this executive decision is a result of the October 2017 shooting in Las Vegas where, sadly, 58 people lost their lives, and almost 800 were wounded. To this date there has been no explanation of this shooting, and we all know the assailant took his own life.

I often share with y’all pictures from my visits to my local range. I do so because I fully support our Second Amendment right. I go shooting in order to improve my accuracy and concentration. For me shooting is all about my hand and eye coordination. It is a test of my skill, and yes, it is relaxing. I also want to know that, if ever confronted, I can properly, and legally, defend myself and my loved ones.

So, with that being said, the issue about the ban on bump stocks does not affect me. What does concern me is that law-abiding, legal, gun owners who had legally purchased bump stocks, awoke and find themselves potential felons. These individuals who purchased this product, legally, are now being told they must destroy or turn these articles in . . . or else. They themselves did nothing wrong, yet they could now face criminal charges. With the stroke of a pen and a verbal declaration, that which they bought legally is now illegal. And what is added salt in the wound is that they will not be compensated for the destruction or voluntary confiscation . . . that is what it is. Do not forget, it was under the Obama administration that these bump stocks were made legal.

Sadly, these law-abiding citizens had no representation in this matter . . . and we thought we lived in a Constitutional Republic. We recently wrote about how in New Jersey government decided what size ammunition magazine was acceptable. That decision was upheld by a federal appeals court.

When I was in the Army, one thing that I despised was collective group punishment. I always believed that the individual should be held accountable for their actions. It seems that principle is not shared by our federal government. One person — and there were plenty of local failures that allowed the Las Vegas shooting — committed a heinous and evil crime. A crime which we have not yet solved, nor do we know the motive. Yet, the decision has been made to punish the individuals who have purchased the 520K bump stocks, legally sold, in the past eight years.

I wonder if a drunk driver driving a Jeep Wrangler kills a family in an accident should all Jeep Wrangler owners be forced to destroy their vehicles . . . or turn them in?

I am not a big fan of bump stocks, but I am a loyal and fervent supporter of individual rights and liberties. What disturbs me about this decision by the Trump administration is that we just made law-abiding citizens felons for no reason, other than their legally purchasing something that someone used for evil. I do not like this decision, not based upon bump stocks, but because we are collectively punishing and infringing on the rights of citizens. This is a very dangerous road that we are traveling down . . . a very bad precedent.

It concerns me that the evil and criminal actions of another can result in the conviction of others . . . others, who did nothing wrong. What will be next?

I would have suggested merely ceasing the further sale of bump stocks. I would not be making felons out of people who legally purchased something . . . . and then not even compensate them for this forced destruction and confiscation.

[My latest book, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and retailers nationwide!]