Adam Kraut, a firearms lawyer representing the Firearms Policy Coalition in a lawsuit against the Trump administration's bump stock ban, said last week the Department of Justice went beyond its power in rewriting what constitutes an illegal machine gun under federal law.
"Our biggest thing with it was the executive overreach," Kraut told the Washington Free Beacon. "This wasn't done through Congress. If you look at the plain statutory language of what a machine gun is by our interpretation of it, bump stocks clearly fall outside of that. And our argument even goes to that, you look at the amended definition that they have and they've now specifically included bump stocks in it. So it kind of is almost an admission that ‘Yeah, it wasn't covered under this, but now we're making it very clear that it should be.'"
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The rule announced by the DOJ in December rewrites current law prohibiting machine guns to also prohibit bump stocks. The National Firearms Act of 1934 defines a machine gun as "any weapon 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." However, bump firing, whether with or without a specialized stock, requires an individual trigger pull for each individual round fired. Still, the DOJ decided the stocks "initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger."
Kraut said this contradiction was one of many included within the new rule and much of the case he's brought against the administration is based on those contradictions.
"There's a lot of logical disconnects in the reasoning of how they got from A to B, and it really seems that it was almost as if ‘this is the result you need to get to, figure out how to kind of get there,'" Kraut said. "And that's what we've been attacking them on: inconsistencies. Even on the final rule that they published. And you'll see all that in the court documents that we filed as far as the briefs and in the complaint I was pointing out, you know, ‘here they say this, here they say that. Those two don't jive together.' And it's within the same document."