RW Arms Sues the Federal Government Over the ATF’s Bump Stock Ban

bump stock ban rw arms

courtesy Facebook

RW Arms took over Slide Fire Solutions’ inventory of bump fire stocks when the manufacturer closed down in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. When the ATF waived its regulatory magic wand, instantly designating a warehouse full of stocks into machine guns, RW Arms’ inventory became worthless.

Last month, just before the ban went into effect, they turned in tens of thousands of bump stocks for supervised destruction.

Now RW Arms is suing the federal government over the regulatory legerdemain. Here’s their press release . . .

Largest Bump Stock Supplier, RW Arms, Announces Lawsuit Against United States Government

Fort Worth, Texas (April 8, 2019)–Fort Worth based retailer RW Arms, Ltd has filed a federal
lawsuit seeking monetary damages for the fair market value of the 73,436 bump stocks it destroyed in compliance with the Bump Stock Ban that went into effect on Tuesday, March 26th. The ban, which was enacted by the Trump administration, reclassifies bump stock devices as machine guns, and therefore subject to regulation as part of the Gun Control Act of 1968. The rule requires that previously lawful owners destroy or surrender the device without compensation or be subject to a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison and $250,000 in fines for each violation.

RW Arms joins retailer The Modern Sportsman in suing the federal government for this taking without just compensation. The lawsuit alleges that the regulation, which forces lawful owners to destroy or surrender the device, is a physical taking of their property without just compensation in violation of the 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Their case captioned The Modern Sportsman et al., v. United States, was filed on March 29th in the Court of Federal Claims, Washington D.C..

“Without legislation, the government was able to overturn the previous ruling on bump stocks effectively turning law abiding gun owners into felons overnight if they were not turned in or destroyed,” said Michael Stewart of RW Arms. “This is an injustice, overreach, and infringement on our 2nd amendment and 5th amendment rights. We appreciate the work of Gun Owners of America and Firearms Policy Coalition for continuing to fight for our rights. We at RW Arms have been working behind the scenes preparing for this fight and have now filed lawsuit against the government to protect our rights and the rights of our customers from being infringed any further.”

RW Arms is a wholesaler, distributor and retailer of firearms accessories and components, including high capacity magazines, performance triggers, scopes and parts for semi-automatic rifles. We appreciate the support that we have received and thank you for your business. As a small 100% veteran owned and operated company, we value your loyalty and cherish the 2nd amendment. RW Arms will continue to bring leading and innovating products to the marketplace.

 

comments

  1. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

    Go get em! Plenty of precedents being set, we need to start setting some good ones.

  2. avatar Jeremy D. says:

    Had a feeling that would happen 😂

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      a logical move on their part with a decent chance of success…I applaud their efforts not to just take this lying down….

  3. avatar WhiteDevil says:

    “High capacity magazines.” You mean standard capacity, right? I know any magazines designed to hold rounds above the originally specified capacity could be referred to as high capacity, or extra capacity, but these are originally designed and standardized components. Therefore, they are not high capacity, but standard capacity, as designed. Also, the government no longer serves us, but controls the majority of people. Think about that. A group of human beings, i.e. US Government, controls another group of human beings, i.e. US populace. What’s more fascinating is the number of people who willingly support this paradigm because they have been led to believe all government is benign and is here for us. That is exactly what it is reducible to at the end if the day. One group dominating another. Nothing more, nothing less. The founders would, most likely, have no sympathy for us and would leave us at the mercy of our creation.

    1. avatar Julio says:

      They sell drum-style magazines…’higher’ capacity than standard 30-round mags. Check it out for yourself when you get a chance.

      1. avatar WhiteDevil says:

        Re-read my comment. I never once denied that they sell “higher” capacity magazines. I was making a correction on what the media terms “high-capacity” magazines.

        1. avatar Mark Webb says:

          I got it, apparently, some can’t read or comprehend…..

  4. avatar Sam I Am says:

    Boys and Girls….

    Once again we have the federal government avoiding the “takings clause” by the simple declaration that unregistered machine guns are contraband, illegal property. Thus, no compensation is required. For a “taking” to be invoked, the property must be legal to own at the time of the acquisition by the government, and remain legal to own after acquisition. In the case of bump stocks (machine guns), the property is not legal to own after the date of declaration of illegality…bump stocks cannot be registered, and no retailer or manufacturer can register these “machine guns”.

    Regards an earlier posting, this fiasco is not ignorance, incompetence or stupidity. The government figured this out as an effective means to control legal gun owners; cunning and malevolence.

    Am I smarter than RW Arms lawyers? Not saying that, but the history of permissible confiscation of a previously legal property is not new. Even the regulatory interpretation of bump stocks as machine guns (despite clear wording of federal legislation) may fall within the “Chevron” decision.

    It will be interesting to learn if RW Arms attorneys can prevail; interesting to see what they come up with.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Yes, but…I believe the article says they turned in the bump stocks for supervised destruction THE DAY BEFORE they became illegal to own. At a minimum that means they were still legal to own once the government took possession and could still have been legally sold and owned for another few hours at least.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        Good point. That may not have been serendipity; may have been carefully planned. I can see the government claiming that the bump stocks were legal at the time of destruction, the government acquired possession of nothing, thus an explicit decision by a legal owner did not create a tort on the part of government.

        The entertainment (and educational) value here will likely be high.

      2. avatar Rocketman says:

        Cliff, they were undoubtedly worried, and rightfully so, that the BATF knowing that at 12:01am the socks would become illegal would show up, confiscate all the stocks and then charge them with 3,000(?) counts of having illegal machine guns. Given what we have seen of BATF tactics they were not being paranoid at all.

    2. avatar Granjack says:

      Interesting that RW didn’t sue to stop the ban, just to be compensated (including profit)….from tax dollars. I would have had a lot more respect for them if they had at least tried to get an injunction issued prior to the ba going into effect. Yes, the ban is unconstitutional, and RW certainly suffered a loss…just wish it wasn’t my tax dollars going to pay.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        It’s not your tax dollars, anyway; China’s buying (via treasury bonds) when it comes to this sort of stuff

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “It’s not your tax dollars, anyway; China’s buying (via treasury bonds) when it comes to this sort of stuff”

          Bingo

    3. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

      Where do lawyers go to die? They dont, they get jobs in the government, and make other people wish they were dead.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Where do lawyers go to die? They dont, they get jobs in the government, and make other people wish they were dead.”

        OK, open declaration…I’m gonna use this one shamelessly in the future.

        1. avatar Dennis Sumner says:

          You’re welcome.

    4. avatar strych9 says:

      Sam:

      You make a valid point about how “takings” cannot be applied to illegal items however I don’t really think that’s the issue here, and if the legal eagles are smart they’ll point to what is likely the hinge for this whole case. If they’re successful they’re basically doing the same thing as getting evidence tossed due to it being found by an illegal search. Fruit of the poisoned tree if you will.

      IMHO, the bump stock ban doesn’t hinge on language or any of the other things many folks have made a big deal out of. It hinges on a simple question: Can the executive branch, by simple declaration, change a statutory definition that was created by Congress and signed by a President?

      If the Executive can change black letter law with the wave of a regulatory pen then your argument is completely valid If they can’t do this however, then, like an illegal search, the definition being applied to the bump stock that makes it a “machine gun” is invalid which makes the confiscation order illegal which means the property was legal to possess and the takings clause therefore applies.

      I would suspect this ends up being a SCOTUS case because of the wider implications outside the gun world. I would further suspect that without a radical shift to the Left, the SCOTUS will not find that the executive has such power.

      That’s what I’ve always thought was kinda strange about this. Trump appoints two SCOTUS justices who both, at least on paper, would appear to be heavily predisposed to tell him he can’t do exactly what he’s trying to do and basically asking them for permission to do. That makes little sense to me. Especially since, had he wanted to, he could have found and appointed judges that would have rubber-stamped this bit of fiat law and sailed through confirmation with the Democrats. It also flies directly in the face of what Trump has said he was trying to do, and from outward appearances done, in terms of creating a better business climate. Cutting taxes but rewriting the law like this doesn’t help business confidence.

      So I find the whole thing odd. Stratagem? Arrogance? Stupidity? Hubris? I don’t know. I just find it odd that someone who’s in a position to set the rules and the umpire for the game does so in a way that almost ensures that they lose. Maybe he’s just a closet masochist with a strange fetish.

      1. avatar Sam I Am says:

        “Can the executive branch, by simple declaration, change a statutory definition that was created by Congress and signed by a President?”

        The SC is not entertaining challenges to the ban:
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/supreme-court-declines-to-stop-trump-administrations-ban-on-bump-stocks/2019/03/28/29bf8840-50ae-11e9-a3f7-78b7525a8d5f_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.dd2cb9b33202

        “If they can’t do this however, then, like an illegal search, the definition being applied to the bump stock that makes it a “machine gun” is invalid which makes the confiscation order illegal which means the property was legal to possess and the takings clause therefore applies.”

        Not sure preemptive destruction is a “taking”. Destruction of property prior to the effect of law is a free-will act on the part of RW Arms. Had they destroyed the bump stocks the day the law took effect, your theory might be operative (destruction due to operation of an unconstitutional regulatory action)

        1. avatar barnbwt says:

          Roberts refused to impose a stay for the duration of the litigation, probably because he rightly assumes the rampantly anti-gun-biased judicial system will not overturn it in the end, SCOTUS or no SCOTUS. If he believes that the case has no merit –and let’s be honest about the state of our corrupt courts’ respect for our rights– he was right to decline a stay.

          That’s not the same as “not entertaining challenges” on this issue; those challenges likely won’t even be accessible to SCOTUS until Trump is long gone. In other words, the system works.

          Maybe we just shouldn’t vote for candidates from anti-gun sewers, going forward?

        2. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “If he believes that the case has no merit…”

          If a president usurping the power of congress to write law is not “merit”, then what is?

          I am happy with Trump as president, but this situation is outrageous.

      2. avatar barnbwt says:

        Stupidity. Definitely stupidity. So many stupid damn Fudds out there, and our president is one of them. Which, amazingly, is still pretty good compared to the competition of Reagan, Bush(es), and Richard “Guns are an Abomination” Nixon

        1. avatar Sam I Am says:

          “Which, amazingly, is still pretty good..”

          Just enough that the Republicrats have no one better to put forward, and the Dimwitocrats….well, Dimwitocrats.

    5. avatar barnbwt says:

      Yup, the good old “because I said so” clause. Hard to forget that one, it’s so very prominent in the constitution, after all.

    6. avatar Mark Webb says:

      When they win, will I be compensated for the two that I turned in?

  5. avatar Freedom is a pipedream says:

    Forget about suing for the value as stocks. The government decided to classify them as machine guns. Making a $150 piece of plastic worth $10,000 or more (price of a machine gun). Sue for that. Side note. Anyone believing that Trump and republicans are on our side, why was this allowed and other rights not restored when they had the ability? Because we are being played like a fiddle. The agenda is divide and conquer. Leaving THE PEOPLE separated, no single group will have power to resist the next agenda. Enslavement.

    1. avatar Fudds McKenzie says:

      Yup, keep people focused on gun control, selling our side the same partially infringed right over and over, selling the antis a fantasy of being righteous and telling gun owners what to do. Other stuff like abortion and drugs, where everybody thinks they should have a say.

      What goes around comes around. People think they’re controlling drug users, really they’re handing themselves over to the political class. Focus on that while comprehensive legal reform remains a non-issue.

  6. avatar enuf says:

    I hope they win for full reimbursement. Better than that, double the amount stolen from them under color of authority!

    The law does not provide for it, but reimbursement should come from the politicians who acted wrongfully. As in our first Gun Banning Republican President EVER, Donald Lying Ass Trump should have to pay out of his own pocket.

    1. avatar Karl says:

      Uhhhh…. no. Plenty of Republicans made incremental infringements before Trump. The problem is trusting politicians. You cannot trust a liar.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        No doubt. I would not call this “incremental,” however. I know it appears that way at first glance (“they’re just banning yet another accessory, like they’ve done many times before”) but we have so little left at this point, that if this rule stands, it will be a sea change that likely sees box magazines or even semi-autos altogether banned by executive fiat. The road map leading from this to arbitrary bans on nearly anything imaginable is now lit in bright neon lights, courtesy of Mr. Great Brain…which I suppose is a good moniker since he damn sure outsmarted plenty of so-claimed pro-gun voters, and accomplished something the ardent but incompetent Democrats were unable to.

        Doesn’t matter if it won’t be enforced everywhere, or equitably. It will be enforced when the leftists want it to be, and that’s all they really wanted in the first place.

  7. avatar GridSquare says:

    I’m pretty confident the next president will be an out of control liberal who will “reclassify” semi autos as machine guns in the same manner. This bump stock thing is far worse then we realize.

    1. avatar Fudds McKenzie says:

      I agree it’s worse than most realize. It hamstrings our political capitol by showing most of us to be rationalizing tools. It’ll be 12 years minimum before a federal level politician takes gun rights seriously.

      I’m not worried about a new AWB tho. Frankly I’ve got mine and the rest of the gun culture, on average, deserves it. I don’t think it’ll happen though. We’ll just be stuck in the status quo for a generation or two, while the NFA and other infringements become calcified.

      I’m not lucky enough for it to happen, the elite would have to blow a lot of political capitol on that which would force them to be less horrible of garbage on other issues, where there’s a chance of the side of individual liberty moving forward, for a little while.

    2. avatar enuf says:

      I worry about that too. The piss poor quality of Trump’s time in the Oval Office does not bode well for the next 2A defender to win the Presidency.

      The one positive in this ruin of a Presidency is the judges. Which are the doing of the Federalist Society having one of their members in a key spot within Trump’s inner circle. As long as they can keep playing Trump for judicial appointments, there is some hope of advantageous court rulings in the future.

      1. avatar Fudds Mckenzie says:

        Counting on one branch at a time is a losing plan. Especially if you’re not on board with 100% of whatever else the GOP feels like doing. Not what they say they want to do but what they actually will do. Because that is what it would cost to pack the courts. One has to be really lucky or really soft headed to just happen to match one of the two halves of the uniparty that well.

        Separation of powers was supposed to prevent bad policy from passing. Well, it failed at that. Now it prevents bad laws from being abolished, it protects institutionalized bad policy from the people.

      2. avatar Mark Webb says:

        You could’ve had Hillary…..

  8. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    I would have rather they sold the 73k at or slightly above cost (limit one per customer) to get as many out as possible.

    However, any resistance is better than no resistance.

    Also, you’re an unimaginative fudd if you can’t figure out how to make your own illegal bumpstock with a compression spring, a plastic stock, some metal bar stock, and some screws. (Don’t try this at home kiddos.)

    1. avatar Binder says:

      That spring will move you over to machine gun.

      1. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

        No shit, but it’s already an illegal MG at this point. The spring doesn’t make it more so. lol

        That’s why you DONT do this whthwe you can or not.

    2. avatar enuf says:

      Downloaded a few YouTube videos on homemade bump stocks back when the big noise got going. Very easy to do for next to nothing. After all, bump firing was around as a simple technique needed no added parts long before the stock was invented for it.

      I don’t want one and won’t be making one but it severely pisses me off that I’m told only a felon may have one.

      “When & If” the courts wipe this stupid rule off the books, I’ll buy one legally just because.

  9. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

    Seems to me they should have sued *before* turning over the bumpstocks.

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      There’s this thing called “standing.” When you have it, judges at least give you the time of day. When you don’t, they tell you to get bent.

      1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

        Given how the judges have acted so far, standing is not a factor.

  10. avatar neiowa says:

    Get rich quick bottom feeders. Ignoring the legalities, the market value is the per piece price the paid to Slide Fire.

  11. avatar barnbwt says:

    Hmm….ten years, 25,000$ per…if it wasn’t for all the rape, it’d almost be worth it already. There’s divorce settlements more arduous than that, after all, and the fine wouldn’t even buy a transferrable FG42 or M240 at this point. Maybe when my annual tax burden is running about that $25k figure it’ll finally be a wash, lol.

    1. avatar GridSquare says:

      Most Federal prisons are nowhere near as bad as state prisons. Among criminals, Federal time is known as easy time, or “a vacation”. The exceptions are places like the super max.

  12. avatar Sam I Am says:

    “Have they given a reason, that would make sense to POTG, for their unwillingness to hear a bumpstock case?”

    According to the link, declined w/o reason given.

  13. avatar Fudds Mckenzie says:

    If they sold them they wouldn’t have a suit, and one way or the other I would think most people who were planning to keep a bump stock somehow or use it before the ban then destroy it would have bought earlier at full price. Lowering the price might have lured people into buying who didn’t know about the ban, which wouldn’t be doing them any favor.

  14. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Charlie Foxtrot posted the ATF E-Form 3400, “Consent to Forfeiture or Destruction of Property and Waiver of Notice” in comments on March 26, 2019. On the form, it states:

    “I, the undersigned, hereby voluntarily surrender and relinquish all rights, title, and interest in, and all claims to the above-described property in order that said property may be disposed of by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in accordance with law. I understand that the above-described property may be subject to administrative or judicial forfeiture under State or Federal law, or may otherwise be disposed of in accordance with law, including destruction as abandoned property or contraband material. I hereby expressly consent to such action by ATF without further notice.”

    If they signed this form, I don’t see how they can prevail in such a lawsuit.

    https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2019/03/daniel-zimmerman/texas-retailer-rw-arms-to-surrender-60000-bump-stocks-to-atf-tomorrow/#comment-4222033

    1. avatar Ragnarredbeard says:

      Exactly. They have little claim here. At least if they had waited for the ATF to come knocking they could have a stronger case.

    2. avatar Mark H. says:

      1 – it’s unknown if they signed the form
      2 – if signed under duress (threat of fines and jail) it’s invallid
      3 – you can’t actually sign away your rights to sue, dispite what the .gov would like you to think.

      1. avatar John in Ohio says:

        1 – Yep, that’s why I wrote, “If they signed this form”
        2 – It happens all of the time in connection with the legal system (get arrested, prosecuted, and/or probation/parole; you will see it). When one attempts to enter a courthouse while armed in most places when summoned, one relinquishes the exercise of their unalienable right to bear arms under threat of monetary penalties, incarceration, and possibly even serious bodily harm or death. I’ve had too many judges telling me that this is the individual’s choice. They can’t comprehend or don’t want to admit that this is an unreasonable choice made under duress and legal threat.
        3 – I agree with you completely. Rights are inalienable. However, the system operates under other assumptions contrary to that basic fact.

  15. avatar John in Ohio says:

    In honor of the chess Grandmaster who brought us this and other liberty destroying goodness so that we can be sick of winning…

    “The Art of the Schlemiel”
    https://youtu.be/Oh6VSCsxUSQ

  16. avatar OBOB says:

    IMO if that was my personal company–the ATF would still be standing there filling out MY required paperwork to show anyone that they took possession of them…. a piece of paper or several, for each and everyone with a serial number the ATF put on each item, then signed for twice…one for the ATF taking possession, one for the ATF destruction and signed by TWO ATF agents…..all filmed for posterity with several cameras!

    We jump through hoops to get a machine gun…make them do the reverse!

    1. avatar phoenixmichaels says:

      I like the way you think OBOB!

  17. avatar phoenixmichaels says:

    It’s vitally important we support this effort with donations. GOA NRA, whatever ones you feel are most effective. I am on a pension an still manage to send an extra $20 or $50 every few months. Recruit a friend!

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