‘Stab in the back’: Gun activist hard-liners accuse Trump of betrayal over ‘bump stock’ ban
President Trump’s Tuesday announcement of a bump stock ban is upsetting members of a core constituency: gun owners wooed by his effusive campaign-trail vows to defend the Second Amendment, with two groups promising to see Trump in court.
“If there’s anything that irritates you more than a president like Obama who’s trying to stab you in the heart, it’s one who is trying to stab you in the back,” said Michael Hammond, legislative counsel of Gun Owners of America, a group that claims more than 1.5 million members.
Bump stocks allow semi-automatic rifles to fire more rapidly, contributing to the 59-person massacre at a 2017 Las Vegas concert, and the ban was widely anticipated. Owners have 90 days to destroy or give the government their devices.
The ban was regarded as a less-controversial gun control step after Trump shocked gun groups in February by endorsing a higher age limit for AR-15 rifles, background checks for private gun sales, and reforms to let police “take the guns first, go through due process second.”
Hammond, who branded Trump the “gun grabber in chief” when he voiced support for various forms of gun control after the massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., now calls him the “gun grabber in chief, with a vengeance,” arguing the bump stock ban is illegal and opens the door to more weapon seizures.
“I don’t think Trump understands that just because he goes to 10 rallies and says ‘I love the Second Amendment’ that if he does things that are dramatically anti-Second Amendment, our people are going to be mad. Our people are not stupid,” Hammond said.
On Friday, Gun Owners of America intends to sue the Trump administration over the bump stock ban, citing the Obama administration’s conclusion that the plastic devices don’t meet the legal definition for machine gun, meaning they cannot be banned.
Hammond estimates that up to 1 million people own a bump stock and objects to the approximately $300 item being taken without compensation. He argues the Trump administration’s legal justification could later allow for a backdoor AR-15 ban…
The Trump-appointed school safety commission’s report did not recommend a higher age limit for gun purchases, which Trump had embraced this year at a White House round table conversation with lawmakers, or other far-reaching changes.
But Hammond sees the glass half-empty.
“I’m feeling very put upon getting two very significant gun control hits in the same day,” he said.
“If it were not a president who completely and totally owed his presidency to the Second Amendment community, maybe it would be a little different,” Hammond added. “We for eight years battled the Obama administration. We were successful in killing every single statutory word of gun control. Now, lo and behold, we have this very dramatic call for gun control from the states and from the federal government — from an administration that we paid a lot of our time and treasure to elect.”