We understood that banning bump stocks – which many were so willing to go along with – was a slippery slope. And here we are.
Same goes for “red flag laws.”
Give up nothing.
A new lawsuit against the manufacturers of guns used in the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting claims that AR-15-style rifles are illegal because they are compatible with bump stocks, which increase their rate of fire. The plaintiffs, parents of a woman who was murdered in the Las Vegas massacre, argue that bump stocks like the ones used in that attack convert semi-automatic rifles into illegal machine guns—a position that has been endorsed by the Trump administration. Therefore, they argue, AR-15s are themselves illegal, since the federal definition of machine guns includes firearms that “can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”
That claim is important, since the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which generally shields gun makers from liability for crimes committed with their products, includes an exception for “an action in which a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product knowingly violated a State or Federal statute applicable to the sale or marketing of the product.” And while the complaint (for reasons that will become clear) does not mention the Trump administration’s extralegal administrative ban on bump stocks, the logic of that policy reinforces the plaintiffs’ central argument.
by Jacob Sullum