The ATF, in a rare move, decided several months ago to enter the rule making process with the bump stock issue. There was even the required public comment period. I say rare, because ATF has never liked using rule making, choosing to do most regulation through determination letters. They traditionally prefer policy to regulation.
Now the big deal is that Trump called for a bump stock ban, probably because NRA called for a bump stock ban, and there’s already a rule making process going on that’s headed in that direction. NRA called for a bump stock ban because in Congress, the votes were there to pass one, and all the Congressional bills I saw on the topic were overly broad and sucked. They would have made any gun smithing work on a semi-automatic firearm legally risky, and that’s before you get into the multitudes of constructive possession issues.
So what do you do? Call on ATF to undertake rule making, where you can control the process under a friendly administration, and make sure whatever comes out is narrowly worded. Also, since it’s regulation, rather than law, it’s much easier to change.
So that was the choice: a bump stock ban that swept in a lot other ordinary and legal activity, and a bump stock ban that was just a bump stock ban, and was regulation rather than law. There are no other options. Don’t like that? Then you’re left replacing many of the squishy Republicans. But you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone running for office in this country willing to stand up and shout, “Yay for machine guns,” let alone win on it. And if you challenge all the squishy Republicans and lose? You’re done. Finished. Bump stocks ain’t a hill I’m dying on, and trust me, it is a hill you’ll die on.