Maryland bump stock lawsuit leaves owners to ask ATF to keep devices

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, seen here at a press conference, signed Maryland's latest bump stock ban into law earlier this year. (Photo: Joe Andrucyk/Office of the Governor)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, seen here at a press conference, signed Maryland’s latest bump stock ban into law earlier this year. (Photo: Joe Andrucyk/Office of the Governor)

A federal lawsuit over Maryland’s ban on bump stocks and similar devices, says the group behind the legal challenge, now needs owners to get permission from the feds.

U.S. Judge James K. Bredar, a 2010 appointment to the court by President Obama, last week declined to grant an injunction against Maryland’s pending law on “rapid fire trigger activators,” defined as bump stocks, binary trigger systems, burst triggers, and trigger cranks. This, says Maryland Shall Issue, means that the only way a gun owner in the state can protect themselves from potential arrest under the law is to send a one-page application for authorization to federal regulators before the law takes effect next month.

“Sending this letter does NOT mean that you are identifying yourself as owning a bump stock or any specific device,” says the group. “It just means that you (like we) don’t know what is covered by the SB 707 ban on a ‘device’ that ‘increases’ the ‘rate of fire.'”

The organization of Second Amendment advocates brought their lawsuit in June over a host of issues with the law, which had been signed by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this year. One of the primary arguments voiced by the group — and the reason behind the application for authorization — stems from the only promise of legal ownership, that of federal approval under currently unwritten regulations on bump stocks and similar devices – one that the ATF has already rebuffed Maryland gun owners on. MSI holds the statute is so vague that even gun oil, used as a lubricant, could be regulated as a rapid fire trigger activator as it may theoretically up a firearms rate of fire.

State officials, in their response to the court, argue that the deadline for individuals to be notified by the ATF about their devices under the law is not until next October and that continued possession, transport, and sale can occur as long as the litigation is pending in the courts.

Violators of Maryland’s ban would be subject to felony charges, facing three years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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