Trump’s Unilateral Action, Banning Bump Stocks, Is Unlawful.* ~ VIDEO


New York – -( Although Trump could have and should have left the matter of “bump stocks” to Congress, Trump’s unilateral action, banning civilian ownership and possession of bump stocks is unlawful. That isn’t an open question. The answer to that question, under Constitutional law, is clear and categorical. Trump cannot lawfully do so. But, he took that action anyway. The danger we now face, given Trump’s rash action, goes well beyond the relative merit or utility of bump stocks, themselves.

Trump’s action calls into immediate question the import of Congressional legislation and the weight to be given to U.S. Supreme Court pronouncements on matters of law. If Trump’s action withstands legal challenge and scrutiny—and David Codrea’s article posted in Ammoland Shooting Sports News points to several formal complaints that have been recently been filed contesting the constitutionality of the ban—the ‘rule of law’ becomes mere hollow rhetoric; legislation becomes mere ad hoc artifice, subject to the vicissitudes of fate; and the Bill of Rights loses its inviolability and immutability.

Two major websites, Ammoland Shooting Sports News and The Truth About Guns, have posted several fine articles on the issue of bump stocks. The Arbalest Quarrel provides its own take on this subject, including an analysis of the law regarding administrative decision-making.

We reach a disturbing but irrefutable conclusion: if the Courts do not strike down Trump’s action, we will continue to see the inexorable whittling away of the right of the people to keep and bear arms, leading inevitably to the demise of civilian ownership and possession of all semiautomatic firearms, not simply to the demise of firearms pejoratively called“assault weapons.”

Trump’s Memorandum to the DOJ

We begin our analysis with the language of Trump’s Memorandum, issued on February 20, 2018. The Memorandum is titled “Application of the Definition of Machine gun to ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices.” 3 CFR Memorandum of 2/20/18. This Executive Office Memorandum placed the Justice Department on notice of the President’s intent to promulgate a rule criminalizing possession of bump stock devices–all of them, regardless of the nature of operation of any one manufacturer’s version of the device–and further ordered the Department of Justice (DOJ) to promulgate a rule, banning those devices. The Memorandum directed to the Attorney General, and signed by Donald Trump, reads:

“After the deadly mass murder in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017, I asked my Administration to fully review how the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regulates bump fire stocks and similar devices.

Although the Obama Administration repeatedly concluded that particular bump stock type devices were lawful to purchase and possess, I sought further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machine guns.

Accordingly, following established legal protocols, the Department of Justice started the process of promulgating a Federal regulation interpreting the definition of ‘machine gun’ under Federal law to clarify whether certain bump stock type devices should be illegal. The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the Federal Register on December 26, 2017. Public comment concluded on January 25, 2018, with the Department of Justice receiving over 100,000 comments.

Today, I am directing the Department of Justice to dedicate all available resources to complete the review of the comments received, and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.

Although I desire swift and decisive action, I remain committed to the rule of law and to the procedures the law prescribes. Doing this the right way will ensure that the resulting regulation is workable and effective and leaves no loopholes for criminals to exploit. I would ask that you keep me regularly apprised of your progress.

You are authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.”

[signed] Donald Trump


Ban Everything
Ban Everything

There are four points to ponder here. First, through this Memorandum, Trump attempts to make law, not simply execute laws Congress enacted because Congress hasn’t enacted a law banning bump stocks. So there is no law for the President to faithfully execute under Article 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution. His remark—“I remain committed to the rule of law”—is like comments we hear all the time from Democrats. It is a remark he expects the public to accept on blind faith. Politicians make use of it often enough. But, the remark invariably comes across as hollow, flaccid, and pathetic; a useless appendage, demonstrating a lack of conviction at its very utterance, as the action taken belies the seeming veracity of the sentiment underlying it.

The fact remains: absent express Congressional authorization the Executive Branch of Government cannot lawfully promulgate rules to effectuate the will of Congress if there is no will of Congress to effectuate. And, there is none here. Trump has blatantly exceeded his authority under the Constitution.

Second, the Memorandum—a directive to the DOJis logically inconsistent. Trump says, at the outset, he simply seeks “further clarification of the law restricting fully automatic machine guns,” but then makes clear that it isn’t mere clarification he seeks at all. He tells the DOJ “to propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns.” Trump is kidding no one. He is illegally attempting to promulgate law.

Third, the Memorandum calls for a drastic measure. There is nothing in the Memorandum allowing for the grandfathering of bump stocks in the hands of American citizens.Consider: even the infamous federal assault weapons ban act of 1994 (that expired in 2004) made abundantly clear it did not apply to possession or transfer of any semiautomatic assault weapon a citizen happened to lawfully possess before enactment of the Congressional legislation.

The new ATF Rule, though, is far more ambitious than even Congressional legislation that banned new purchases of “assault weapons.” For, under the ATF Rule, Americans who fail to surrender bump stocks or who otherwise fail to render them inoperable are subject to criminal prosecution. There is no exception, and no grandfathering of devices that, before implementation of the Rule, had been lawfully purchased.

Fourth, Trump takes the position—as is clear from the language of the Memorandum—that he can get around the Statutory legal hurdle by claiming to operate within it; but he does so by tortuously toying with the definition of ‘machine gun’ to include ‘bump stocks.’ Trump does not succeed and he is wrong in his endeavor in attempting to do so. He is unlawfully expanding upon and redefining the clear, concise and precise definition of ‘machine gun’ as codified by Congress in Federal Statute. Further, Trump’s attempt to get around the hurdle of a clear concept of ‘machine gun’ is unnerving. It would have been better—although still legally indefensible–had he simply sought to ban “bump stocks”outright, without the semantic convolutions, gyrations, and machinations.

Trump attempts to convince the public that “bump stock devices” do convert semiautomatic firearms into machine guns. Trump simply pretends to be on a sound legal, logical, and grammatical footing. He isn’t. The reason Trump contrives to win over the public is plain. Congress has specifically defined the expression, ‘machine gun,’ in Statute; and it has defined the expression explicitly and unambiguously.

In 26 USCS § 5845, titled “definitions,” “the term ‘machine gun’ means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machine gun, and any combination of parts from which a machine gun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.”

If ever the language of a Congressional Statute were straightforward and readily understood by a firearm’s expert or a lay person, 26 USCS § 5845 is such a Statute. If an agency of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government can undermine Federal law so blatantly, as Trump attempts to do so here, then no Federal Statute is safe from abrogation by Executive edict by those in Government who would dare trifle with our Nation’s Constitution and laws.

Unless, the concept of ‘bump stock’ falls within the meaning of ‘machine gun,’—and it doesn’t—the Justice Department cannot lawfully promulgate a rule that extends the legal definition beyond the parameters mandated by Congressional Statute. Yet, it has dared to do just that, even as it insists that it has not. Trump has audaciously ordered DOJ to promulgate an illegal rule, and the DOJ, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), has obliged. We take a close look at the DOJ-ATF Rule in the next article.


*We urge all Americans, who support the Second Amendment, to sign the Petition, to overturn the ATF Rule that bans “bump stocks.”

Arbalest Quarrel

About The Arbalest Quarrel:

Arbalest Group created `The Arbalest Quarrel’ website for a special purpose. That purpose is to educate the American public about recent Federal and State firearms control legislation. No other website, to our knowledge, provides as deep an analysis or as thorough an analysis. Arbalest Group offers this information free.

For more information, visit:

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

We are looking in the wrong direction when dealing with the second amendment violations by our back stabbing government officials. This is spiritual warfare and the goal is to destroy the people of God and take over the world for satan the devil. The devil can’t take over our country as long as there are Christian, law abiding gun owners in our country. The devil and his followers will be met with violent resistance if they try to take our country. According to the second amendment, a well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the… Read more »

No Bull

Still haven’t reached a measly 5,000 signatures. EVERY gun owner should have signed on to the petition by now. Too many complacent cows with an, “I don’t haw one, this doesn’t affect me” mentality. Sad.

No Bull

“have”, not “haw”. Thanks spell check!


@NB; You are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! Don’t have one, never planned to purchase one. They are also ILLEGAL in Maryland. There is no GRANDFATHERING either. This IS UN-CONSTITUTIONAL.
It amazes me that Americans cannot understand ENGLISH!
These words, “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”, are a reminder that God the Creator gave We-the-People the RIGHT to DEFEND; ourselves, families, neighbor(s), neighborhood, community, city, state and country against our enemies – BOTH FOREIGN and DOMESTIC.
It is a shame that the “tax paid employees called – politicians” do not comprehend the COMMON SENSE words of their OATH of OFFICE!

Douglas G

I would comment here but I’m not in the mood for getting FISKED by Revelator and his rude behavior picking arguments and physical fights instead of writing “comments” about the above article.

The Revelator

@Douglas G You know its a shame. Seeing someone claim about picking arguments, not commenting on the actual article, but then writing a comment attacking someone else directly, not for the content of what they have been saying but solely because Douglas G has a problem with how he lost arguments in the past. The comments I made here called to attention cases of excuses being made without regard to evidence. What I can say about James and Jean are that at least the had the balls to comment even if they are wrong based on the facts. Maybe they… Read more »

The Revelator

For those curious, you can find the original debate between Douglas G and myself here

Apparently, not much has changed.

Brandon white, VA

What Trump did is unforgivable and what the rest of the government is doing is wrong I live in Virginia and we’re about to look like NJ what a shame if we don’t do something before long were not going to have our 2 right


All those TAX PAID “professional in perpetuity politicians” who do not adhere to their OATH of OFFICE need/NO MUST be removed from and barred from ANY and EVERY PUBLIC or OFFICIAL OFFICE POSITION for 100 years. Term limits of 6 years in totality for any government office MUST be instituted. N O W !!

Green Mytn. Boy

Laddy Boy

To include No pension and no paid for health care,a idea who’s time has come.

William Flatt

The Arbalest quarrel put up a useful link, but the PETITION to demand Trump recind the Bump Stock Ban is HERE:

It’s been up for a couple weeks and has about 3,000 signatures. It needs 97,000 more. Share this link with everyone everywhere before January 20th!!


Designed to end up in the courts, Trump and Wayne not stupid. Place schematics for AR full and semi auto side by side, you do not have to be an engineer or firearms expert to see that there are full auto parts missing from the semi auto model. Next, read the actual US Patent Abstract, the trigger must be pressed each and every time. Firearm bump stock assembly Abstract A firearm bump stock assembly provides a mount and support for a conventional semi-automatic firearm. The firearm bump stock assembly beneficially provides a user with the ability to increase the fire… Read more »

The Revelator

No, definitely both idiots.

See, the problem with your explanation is that it ignores the fact that they are attempting to change the definitions away from whether or not the trigger is pulled a single time per spent case, and making it about rate of fire. That’s some serious mental acrobatics there. This is an excuse that has been repeatedly debunked for going on a month now.

Also, it does not explain why both men have stated support for Red Flag laws that violate due process.

george clark

Let’s build a wall, and make it out of concrete that way we can have the Donald,s portrait on every other panel. You know like they do in state ruled countries. Think of history, it’s repeating itself before our eyes. Look who this clown admires. All killers of their own people. I’m tired of all the BS of Hillary’s plan let’s hear what the Donald’s ultimate plan is……. Hitler, Stalin, Moe all good people right? This clown is as phony as the color of his hair. which if one hasn’t noticed changes daily. I almost hope i’ve made the list.… Read more »

Matt in Oklahoma

Illegal and yet supported by the NRA and others who claim to be pro 2A also.


It is my humble opinion that he has done this in exchange for getting the libtards to approve the southern wall.

The Revelator


Except that this was done a year ago, and it was not mentioned as being tied to the Wall at all.

Further more, he has zero, zilch, nada when it comes to authority or ability to do this within the constitution. It is expressly prohibited. You may want to rethink your opinion.

dava golino

fool me once but not twice: up next how to make your semi auto into a bolt action 19December 2018…president trump has turned into hillary clinton really sad.
he said he would work with Russia to fight terrorists… no, he caved in
he said hillary for prison. …no, he can’t
he said he would stand for the 2nd amendment… no he caved in.
that is that, over finished. what is next open borders? yep, that too

The Revelator

@RogerKatz (Author) Thank you for this article. I recently had someone that was feuding with me call into question whether or not Donald Trump had actually been the one to call for and order the implementation of the ban. I made the above points same as you, but was still aggressively sneered at while they demanded Citation that he had ever made such a claim. I cited not only an article, but direct video of him saying it a year ago in January of 2018, as given here. The quotation begins at the 3:12 minute/second mark, and goes to… Read more »

Steven Frost

The Petition link to overturn the ATF rule on Bump Stocks is just a link to White House Contact Page. Please Correct.


I apologize for the glitch. The link to the petition is here:


Steven Frost:
White House Petition Launched to Reverse the Bump Stock Ban

Reverse the Bump Stock Ban against firearm parts!
Created by W.F. on December 21, 2018

Hope that helps you! Pass it on!

Aaron Wilbers

This will anger those who worship at the Orange alter. And no my girl did not lose. He was a better of two bad options. But if anyone thought he was a die hard Constitutionalist or 2nd Amendment supporter didn’t look at his record very hard. He has done a lot of good but I fear this is just the beginning of his flip on the 2nd, fully supported by the NRA as well.


Yep! I really believe Trump was a Deep State plant, put in place to make us believe we were winning when we were not. Look at all the idiots with Reverse TDS, who go into spasms when you try to point out his numerous reversals and betrayals. I used to think most of the sheep were on the left. These days, I think we have at least as many on our side.


Those conservatives with TDS are not willing to admit their own mistakes in doing so they can easily overlook his severe erroneous BS in support of their own. Stop giving to those that take from us. Those that cede 2A ground and the BOR in a blink of an eye such as; i.e. NRA, NSSF, RINOs, GOP, etc. All these were restricted/banned and/or made into law by our own back-stabbing politicians. ERPO/GRVO’s Bumpstocks/Trigger Devices Rifle Accessories Purchasing Age Yea sure! Keep waiting for the right person to be elected, laws to be reversed or an actual uncorrupted 100% dedicated official… Read more »


The question here should not be if bump stocks are illegal, it should be that banning machine guns infringes our right to be able to ward off a tyrannical government, and invading armies. At the time of the Revolution and the signing of the BOR and the US Constitution, the spirit of the 2A was to give WE THE PEOPLE the Codification of our God Given Rights to keep and bear arms that were at least equal to what any foreign or domestic enemies would have to use against us. There is no doubt in my mind that they would… Read more »