Bump Stocks and the 5th Amendment

I never paid a lot of attention to the fifth amendment – but I listened to a podcast by a guy named William Kirk, about a potential Supreme Court case on the bump stock ban – and it isn’t a second amendment case, it’s a fifth amendment case.

Here’s the whole fifth amendment:  “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The case is McCutchen v. United States – and, as it was explained, the issue is not that bump stocks should be permitted, but that if BATF takes them, the owner should be paid for them – “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”   I didn’t really ever pay much attention to that part of the amendment. 

Now I don’t know how much the “public use” fits in.  Personally, I’m an accra glass or bisonite guy – I want the rifle action tied down tight . . . but that’s just me.  I can’t see a “public use” for a bump stock by any government agency that can legally possess a real machine gun – but there were a lot of bump stocks out there, and folks had put a bunch of money into them.  Anything resembling “just compensation” may include a bunch of dollars – I’ve read an estimate of a half-million people owning bump stocks.  If we figure a bump stock cost a hundred dollars, there’s a lot of money sitting on the table waiting for a Supreme Court decision.  Five hundred thousand bump stocks at a hundred dollars each and you’re talking many millions – enough that a payout would influence the inflation rate.

I don’t have a dog in the fight – I’ve always had the habit of shooting one round at a time – but it is interesting to watch another way to take the fifth.

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