“We could not find a way to classify it as a machine gun. We did the right thing by the letter of the statutes.” That’s the word from the Former Assistant Chief and Acting Chief of the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch, speaking to our good friends at The Trace. To answer his critics, Rick Vasquez (above) has penned an explanation for his team’s decision not to regulate or ban the bump fire stock (click here to view). And they weren’t wrong . . .
The Slide Fire bump fire stock submitted for ATF approval didn’t meet the legal definition of a machine gun, which states that a firearm qualifies if it fires “more than one shot with a single function of the trigger.” As you know, bump fire stocks enable multiple rapid single finger presses, but each round requires one trigger press.
So, contrary to NRA Veep Wayne LaPierre’s public admonition, the ATF “did its job.”
In fact, as a TTAG reader pointed out in a previous post, the last thing gun rights advocates want is a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (and Really Big Fires) that feels free to interpret law to arrive at a predetermined outcome.
Former ATF Agent Vasquez isn’t happy with the NRA’s condemnation of his team’s work on bump fire stocks, with the attendant implication that the Bureau should shoulder some of the blame for the Mandalay Bay hotel spree killing.
“We did the right thing by the letter of the statutes,” he said. “There’s a tragedy that happened and nothing can change that. But to try to put the blame on us, it really irritates me.”
Given all the ATF’s long and ignoble history of corruption, illegal enforcement activities (e.g., Fast and Furious) and deeply-held antipathy to Americans’ gun rights, it really irritates me that the NRA chose to criticize the Bureau for this correct decision. In this I’m not alone.