Slide Fire bump fire stock. courtesy slidefire.com

Reader Armchair Command’oh writes:

I see a lot of criticism in the comments about the NRA’s statement on bump fire stocks. These comments, however, don’t quite capture just how dangerous the NRA’s strategy is. Of all the approaches we could possibly take . . .

(1) “not one inch”

(2) bump stock ban in exchange for something we want

(3) grab our ankles and totally surrender, the NRA chose to make up a new option that happens to be the worst one imaginable.

For the past few years the gun community has gotten a lot of things approved by exploiting technicalities in the language of the NFA. For example Echo/Binary triggers are legal because the NFA defines a machine gun based on a single “function” of the trigger, not a single “pull.”

The ATF has conceded that SIG Braces can be shouldered because shouldering a pistol does not remake it a rifle. Basically, the ATF is applying the statute as written, unlike many other government agencies, and we are getting functional work-arounds to parts of the NFA.

With their stance on regulation of bump fire stocks, the NRA is advocating that pressure be put on the ATF to look at the spirit of the law, not the actually letter of the law as written. Moreover, Republicans in Congress have sent a letter to the ATF requesting the same.

They are doing this so that Republicans can avoid a vote on this issue. Republicans in Congress don’t want to go on record for a ban, since they fear voters’ wrath and primary challenges. They know that if they vote against the ban, they will be hammered over it electorally.

So, both Republicans and the NRA are trying to get the ATF to solve the problem for them. But in doing so they’re setting a dangerous precedent of having the ATF decide what a gun law was supposed to do, then fudging the language to get the desired result. That is a terrible idea.

The only restraint on government regulatory over-reach is the language of the law, and letting the ATF enforce whatever it arbitrarily determines was a regulation’s intent is a recipe for disaster. To allow that would mean the almost immediate regulation of bump stocks. SIG Braces probably wouldn’t be far behind.

AR pistols themselves could even be deemed AOWs, since they’re not really what Congress meant when they defined what constitutes a pistol. The same goes for those short barreled shotgun-like firearms (e.g. Mossberg 590 Shockwave). And the list goes on.

The NRA is traveling down a dangerous road with their current strategy. Whether it’s too late to be turned around now remains to be seen.

35 Responses to The Real Danger Behind the NRA’s Bump Fire Stock Strategy

  1. So let’s just let DiFi run the show, then, and enjoy whatever fiendish legislation she throws at us. Because if bumpfire isn’t regulated, it’s gonna be legislated, and even trigger jobs are going down the drain with it.

    • If we hate our (R) dipshits bad enough that they fear a primary challenge, then how much worse should the evil POS (D) fear the next election cycle.

      It’s NOT a zero sum game, they both start out in deep negative territory and have to prove they can at least hit zero.

      Sucking (R) doesn’t inflate POS (D). And they shouldn’t just have the fear of loosing their jobs, they should have the concern over whether there will be a state to hide in when they are sent packing.

    • . . . I fire precision rounds through the windshield as they leave their own driveways.

      /sarc
      as far as you know

  2. If you can’t ban the idea of a gun (handgun, long gun, full / semi-auto, suppressed, bump fire) AND YOU CAN’T, then you can’t BAN GUNS. That sentence alone is PROOF, that the ATF&E cannot protect you from someone who doesn’t give a flying f about rules when it comes to wishing to do you harm.

    It should be W R O N G F U L, not just “wrong” for anyone in government from claiming that they are protecting you by attempting to regulate such things, as it is impossible. AND IF THEY ARE NOT PROTECTING YOU, THEY HAVE NO OTHER AUTHORITY TO DO IT FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

  3. I don’t know as this is bad strategy, and I hesitate to assume the NRA is making a bad choice.

    I listen to NPR every day (god is that hard most of the time) and as soon as the NRA announced the “re-look* of the bump fire stock, it changed the way every announcer on NPR talked about the NRA. (even if utterly wrong sometimes, like “the NRA supports banning the stocks”) While NPR is a liberal organization little/no better than the rest of the MSM, they reach a lot of people, particularly on the left. If this announcement by the NRA (which uses sleight of hand language IMO) gets it into the minds of hundreds of thousands of liberals, PERHAPS a few will question what they are continuously told about the NRA, which is basically that it’s a for-profit organization funded solely by and for gun manufacturers.

    Lofty hopes, but does anyone believe, trust, or care what the ATF says today? It’s a political agency run by POTUS for all intents and purposes, what is legal today is illegal tomorrow, and what is illegal today is legal tomorrow.

    I wouldn’t put a bunch of stock into what the NRA is saying. In a climate of “do something!”, they are “doing something”, if nothing. Which is likely better than saying nothing, or saying ban the stocks.

    • The good PR on NPR is an argument for supporting a narrowly drafted legislative ban on bump stocks. It’s the pragmatic approach, and I think is probably the correct one (strategically speaking). The NRA’s punt to the ATF is the moderate approach that also tries to protect Republicans in Congress from suffering a primary challenge, but at the cost of setting bad precedent for the ATF interpreting the NFA based on the spirt of the law rather than the actual text.

      • it has the beginnings of one hell of a batman/ xanatos gambit,
        1] it stalls for time, by the time atf pull its head out of its ass most anti gunners will have lost interest
        2]if the atf goes against their mo of being greedy and power hungry, it places all of the blame on the atf and obama, and make the nra look good at a time while causing anti gunner to fight amongst themselves
        3] when the atf tries to get their grubby little hands into the pot,and recommend that bump fire stocks should go on the nfa, the nra can write a bill and tack it onto the shush act (or vice versa), forcing anti gunners to either give up more than they gain, or look like massive hypocrites
        4]if they try to regulate bump fire stocks as machineguns the the nra can point out that such a move is impossible with the registry closed, meaning that if that’s a hill people want to die on they’re going to have to open the registry, at least as a temporary measure, and as we all know there’s nothing more permanent than a temporary measure
        5] yes it does mean that the nra will have to take a step back, but by doing so it takes the idea of a flat out ban off the table, forcing the like of feinstein off balance and into a much worse position
        all in all the nra has a chance to win many of the battles that they’ve been fighting the last decade, cut clinton and feinstein off at the knees, and come out of it smelling like roses

        it reminds me of the old bugs bunny cartoon about bullfighting, when the bull charges the red cape only to find an anvil hidden behind it

  4. I agree with Sebastian (http://www.pagunblog.com/2017/10/06/what-options-does-atf-have/): this is meant to buy time, as well as puts the ATF in a corner. The ATF can re-classify, but then there’s 10,000s of unregistered/unregisterable machine guns out there, because they “screwed up” under Obama. That’s a huge oops for them to admit to. So they’re likely to re-affirm in time. Time that buys us days/weeks without this story at the top of every news cycle. As the antis know, you have to strike while emotions are high. Time is their enemy.

    • It is also worth noting that until the statute changes, it is unlikely that another review of bumpfire stocks will change the ATF analysis. If the ATF decides to go the regulatory route, they will be required to open the proposed regulation to a notice and comment period. When they did just that regarding gun trusts, the received something like 40,000 comments, which they legally must review and respond to. It held up the issuance of new regulations by several years. In 12-36 months, will people be as passionate about this issue? Probably not. Which is why they made this recommendation- to avoid any immediate legislative action, and buy some time to work out a better solution or at least a better compromise.

  5. We all need to mass call the NRA membership Center and just completely shut their phone lines down. As a protest and ask them all that pick up the phone on the NRA Zend if Wayne LaPierre had a freaking stroke? Because his judgment is that of a child. Who gets in bed with the Enemy a dirtball that’s who. Look up their phone number it’s on your membership cards if you’re a member and call them every one of us today that are on this website we all need to call and shutdown their membership number make it be absolutely nothing but people calling bitching and complaining about Wayne LaPierre demanding his resignation immediately.

    • It’s like people learned nothing from his lies about the Hughes Amendment.

      Can the NRA be sued for false advertisement?

  6. Not doing “bump stock ban in exchange for something we want” really is the biggest problem with this fuck up. If the NRA just got a bill moving bump stocks to the registry while opening it back up nobody would be complaining. Now nobody can try that tactic.

    • I know the antis are ignorant and emotional and all that, but do you SERIOUSLY think they would let us “sneak” open the MACHINE GUN REGISTRY without them noticing?

      • Oh they’d notice, but it would get the bill out onto the floor (not just stuck in committee) and the dems would have to defend their no position to the low info voters (who they’ve been telling silencers are banned when subject to those exact regulations) who want the bumpfire ban. If most Republicans voted for it, you’d only need a few dem senators to flake away anyways.

  7. The NRA is a bunch of morons. If they sell out bumpfire stocks one of the things that would take the sting out of it is that the ATF doesn’t get to make such arbitrary decisions, but rather actual laws with strict parameters should be passed for regulation.

    • The NRA/gun owners would never get any concessions by selling out the bump fire stocks. Suppressors being freely available, reciprocity, more widespread concealed carry, all of that has been talked about as how this shooting could have been *worse*, although utter horsehocky.

      The left doesn’t use reason to make their decisions. There is no rational discussion to be had with them, there is no negotiating with people who don’t care to know what they are arguing about. They are emotional, and as time goes on emotions wane. Get them through their temper tantrum and they will be back to trying to figure out how next to attack Trump.

      By the way, this is a great opportunity for leftists to try and alienate the NRA from some gun owners, which only helps the left.

    • you don’t think they knew this when they released the statement? Knowing the legislation would never get past the house or the POTUS? All part of a grand plan I’m guessing..

  8. Yeah, having the ATF decide what is what is a pretty dangerous idea. In Canada, the RCMP make a lot of the “administrative” decisions around guns. In theory, that should mean clarifications for things in law that are hard to understand. In practice it gave the RCMP the right to prohibit whatever it felt like prohibiting, essentially making up laws, and taking ordinary gun owners to court to play little games around rules interpretations. One of the reasons the current Liberal government is mad at the previous Conservative government is that the Conservatives changed some rules. They made it so Parliament would decide whether a gun could be prohibitied, restricted, or non-restricted.

    The Liberals much preferred the easy excuse of “Well, the RCMP says it’s bad and they banned it. Nothing we can do, sorry folks! They are the experts, after all.” So, you have the danger that the ATF down in the US could mimic that.

  9. If we get nothing substantive out of this bumpfire fiasco I’m freaking done.

    Practically, bumpfire stocks are a dumb range toy. I think everyone can agree on that. Only in a very narrow circumstance, like what occurred in Vegas, could it even be considered to be a casualty-increaser, and even then, I bet if he had taken 7 minutes to fire off 400 aimed shots (average 1 per second) instead of a few thousand sprayed rounds the deaths would undeniably have been appallingly higher.

    We could have EASILY traded bumpfire stocks for something that really matters, like national reciprocity or NFA reform or re-opening the Machinegun registry, and NRA screwed the pooch.

    Now we’re going to have to fight hard just to keep aftermarket triggers.

  10. The thing that I don’t like about this is that it sets a precedent: Yes, a piece of plastic, somehow turns something from a sporting rifle into a ‘killing’ tool. Right now in California they are creating felonies for a piece of plastic or wood, a pistol grip. That somehow lends super powers to a semi auto rifle. See what i did there? I couldn’t give a flying f about bump fire, but you go after one plastic device, it gives them license someplace else.

  11. The NRA-ILA is pretty competent at monitoring the collective mood of the U.S. Congress and Senate. The NRA bump fire stock position suggests that the ILA believes bump fire stock legislation is a slam dunk and likely to be festooned with additional restrictions, such as a high capacity magazine ban or fixed magazine requirements.

    Buying time is of the essence here. Think the NRA is trying to use the recent BATFE technical ruling on the ‘Auto Glove’ device to keep the worms in the can.

    It is fair to question the NRA’s political strategy, but it is also fair to question the various alternatives. There is real risk here for gun owners, particularly if we are divided. We have a week or so to make up our collective minds, or divided we fall.

    • I see it the opposite way. I believe they know legislation will either not get through Congress OR if it does won’t have the votes to override a veto. I also believe that they KNOW that Congress will never leave this with the ATF as they don’t score any political points with the soccer mom base…could be wrong but that’s my guess…

  12. It was only a matter of time before some moron used a bump fire in a mass shooting. I’ve shot bump fires and many machine guns and neither of them are very useful for hitting anything accurately after the second shot at distances past 50 feet. I don’t believe in banning anything gun related but there are always high emotions after an incident like this, Thank goodness the shooter did not use single shot aimed fire with bolt action, lever or even semi-auto timed fire.
    When you show live or video of a bump fire in action there is not much defense, despite the ATF letters, that they sure do look and smell like machine guns. It is indeed a hard defense, So the NRA and Newt Gingrich’s idea to let ATF possibly make these items NFA… hopefully only AOW’s, may be the only way to save them,
    On the other hand, by the time the post Sandy Hook bills came to a vote, a lot of time had passed and America had moved on to the next big news story or hurricane or ISIS threat and all the anti gun bills failed. I think there were at least 5 bills.
    So I’m just going to write a few letters, make a few calls urging no bans and wait and see. I can’t afford to continue to worry about everything because I don’t think I can drink that much.

  13. I would argue that the NRA’s capitulation should not surprise anyone.

    http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/XcIBViewItem.asp?ID=3247
    The NRA supported The National Firearms Act of 1934
    The NRA supported The Federal Firearms Act of 1938
    The NRA supported The Gun Control Act of 1968

    And the NRA let the Hughes Amendment of 1986 to the GCA slide without a fight.

    The NRA is not to be trusted. The leadership of the NRA still has ties to the Council on Foreign Relations, which is a globalist organization seeking totalitarian world government.

    The NRA only pays lip service to liberty, they do not stand in support of it.

  14. The thing is the ATF can’t just make bump stocks illegal.

    “The term ‘‘machinegun’’ 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 machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.” – 26 USC § 5845

    Therefore, either bump fire stocks are illegal already, or they aren’t. They either are or are not “a single function of the trigger.” Interpreting them as a single function of the trigger is a tortured interpretation. So if the NRA gets the ATF to redefine them, then someone sues in a conservative district. Bump fire stocks would then be definitively legal.

  15. I’ll repeat what I’ve said before in other threads…

    People need to be reminded that this is a one-off event. It’s likely that bump-fire devices have never been used before in ANY crime, let alone a mass attack. I’ve read several articles today where police in several cities were asked if they had ever seen a bump-fire device used in a crime and the response has always been no.

    These devices are TOYS. They are intended to enable people who just like to shoot fast to do so. They are intended to SIMULATE full-auto fire for people who have never fired and can not obtain or fire full auto weapons.

    In fact, for MOST collectors of full auto weapons, full auto weapons are also TOYS. Shooting them is FUN. A few people may feel they are better protected in self-defense terms with a full auto weapon, but that is probably a small
    percentage.

    Full auto weapons are not terribly more useful in combat than semi-auto weapons. You just MISS FASTER! They are only useful for suppressive fire which is sometimes necessary in combat and for putting a LIMITED number of bullets faster on target than can be achieved with multiple trigger pulls, i.e. the “three-round burst” which is the way most soldiers are trained to fire.

    The fact that VERY few crimes (by criminals as opposed to terrorists) are committed with full auto weapons is a testament to how these weapons are almost always used by civilians for legal purposes, i.e., entertainment and collecting.

    A number of people are suggesting that the argument is that because of this ONE OFF incident, that such devices should be banned because “no one needs them.” The “no one needs them” argument has been used against semi-auto pistols and semi-auto rifles and is of course the main argument against high-capacity magazines.

    Well, people don’t “need” cars that go faster than 55 miles per hour. People don’t “need” millions of things. Freedom means that people can obtain stuff they don’t need but merely want for whatever legal reason they want it.

    What happens when the next mass attacker commandeers a dump truck, a city bus, or a tractor-trailer and drives into another mass concert and runs over fifty, a hundred, two hundred people before he can be stopped? Do we ban those vehicles because of a one-off incident? Or even multiple incidents? So far, vehicle attackers have merely attacked pedestrians on the street or small crowds. A vehicle attack on a mass event would be FAR more destructive.

    We don’t ban an object which exists because of people’s desire for it because it is used in a one-off criminal application.

    People also need to be reminded that bump fire devices do not change a semi-auto weapon into a full-auto weapon. The definition of full-auto is where multiple bullets are fired from one trigger pull; semi-auto is one bullet per trigger
    pull. Bump fire equipped guns are STILL semi-auto – they just fire faster than the human finger can usually pull the trigger, or with less fatigue.

    As someone noted, it won’t be long before 3D printers can produce the components for bump fire devices which can then be easily assembled. Banning them will be useless. That ship has sailed. They are not rocket science to re-invent or build by anyone with the skills.

    There is no doubt in my mind that this incident will be repeated at some point in the future, possibly with more preparation than the current shooter. In my considered opinion, there will be no way to prevent it no matter what
    regulations or security precautions are taken. Even the approach some police departments are now considering to place snipers as part of security at mass entertainment events will not be completely effective.

    As a meme I developed for computer security goes: “You can haz better security, you can haz worse security. But you cannot haz ‘security’. There is no security. Deal.”

    People who who propose banning an object because people don’t “need” it are part of the problem. That includes the NRA who apparently is caving in in order to avoid further negative press. I get that people want to “make a deal” but there IS NO deal to be made. Ban one object on this basis and you’ll end up with no Second Amendment eventually. You will NOT be “horse trading” to get full auto weapons or suppressors or anything else. Anyone who thinks the Congressional Democrats (and equally Republicans) are going to do that source of nuance are deluding themselves.

    It’s that simple.

    • All true, and all irrelevant. Outside of gun nerds, no one gives a rats ass about any of the points you make. There is going to be regulation of some sort. The question is; how much damage will be done before it all plays out?

      Fortunately the media and politicians are fixated by these dumb ass stocks. If this become drawn out, you can be guaranteed they will shift their focus to magazines and other features or go for broke on a reinstatement of the AWB. How much of a fight do you think the congressional Republicans will put up? My bet is on not much.

  16. NRA language on Bump Stocks = Cuck-Talk

    The Frenchman Wayne LaPierre has done like so many of his ancestors (it must be genetic), he’s thrown down his rifle and fled the field of battle without ever having fired a shot.

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