BOB BARR: ATF bump stock proposal sets dangerous precedent

BOB BARR: ATF bump stock proposal sets dangerous precedent

“No person shall be . . . deprived of . . . property, without due process of law.” — U.S. Constitution, Amend. V “No . . . ex post facto Law shall be passed.” — U.S. Constitution, Art. I, Sec. 9 “Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool.” — Paul Begala, Advisor to Former President Bill Clinton, July 5, 1998 Two bulwarks of individual liberty — that the government cannot seize a person’s property without due process of law, and that it cannot prosecute an individual for an action that was lawful when the person performed the act — are threatened by a single regulation now pending before the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a component of the United States Department of Justice. The regulation is designed to prohibit people from possessing so-called “bump stocks,” as apparently had been used by mass murderer Stephen Paddock last October 1st in Las Vegas. While the intent of the proposed regulation may be considered laudable by many, the procedural precedent it would set should cause serious concern for anyone who supports limited and accountable government. This regulation would establish a precedent according to which the federal government (specifically, unelected employees of the ATF) would be empowered to seize property from any individual without affording them any compensation, and rendering anyone who fails to turn in or destroy such property subject to federal criminal penalties. All this notwithstanding that the to-be-prohibited property (“bump stocks”) had been previously deemed […]

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