Former ATF Agent to NRA/Congress: Don’t Blame Bureau for Bump Fire Stocks, We Can’t Ban Them, Here’s What You Have to Do . . .

Former ATF Dir. of Field Ops. Michael "Mike" Bouchard (courtesy youtube.com)

Michael Bouchard (above) is mad as hell at the NRA, or as his letter to Congress calls them “some [who] attempt to cast blame on ATF for not banning devices like the ‘bump slide’ used in the Las Vegas shootings.” The ATF’s former Director of Field Operations and current head of the Association for Former/retired ATF Personnel (ATFA) wants legislators to know “the law is very clear and does not currently allow the ATF to regulate such accessories.” True! Also true . . .

” . . . the ATF cannot change the law to add new accessories that do not fall within the scope of the existing law.”

Mr. Bouchard’s letter reflects his former agency’s as-yet-unspoken refusal to bend to the NRA’s will to regulate bump fire stocks off the mass market. The highly pensioned ATF Agent has a proposal for politicians desperate to “do something” about bump fire stocks in the wake of the mass shooting in Sin City.

Mr Bouchard reckons Congress should consider “adding a new category to the National Firearms Act of 1934, allowing for the regulation of ‘multi-burst trigger activators.'”

Mr. Bouchard reckons bump fire stocks answer to that description, and fingers RockinLock.com (image above) and rapidfiretriggers.net (video above) as websites selling other “multi-burst trigger activators” that should join bump fire stocks in NFA development hell.

Mr. Bouchard ends his Congressional missive by taking a final shot at the NRA — an organization whose current head once [rightly] labelled ATF Agents “jack booted thugs.”

“We also hope you will not allow the honorable employees of ATF, who followed existing law in their bump stock ruling, to be falsely accused of not doing their job by those who seek to exploit their position for political gain.”

Mr. Bouchard’s letter highlights the can of worms the NRA opened by decided to kill bump fire legislation by naming, blaming and shaming the ATF. Mark my words: this one’s gonna get nasty.

comments

  1. avatar Patrick says:

    Repeal (or amend) the Hughes amendment and open the MG registry! Now!

    1. avatar Noishkel says:

      Actually at this point I’d rather just see a better bump fire stock. Easier to get and harder to regulate now, especially as people come up with better versions of them.

      1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

        Binary triggers are the wave of the future!

        Keep your regular stocks while only needing the strength and control of your trigger finger!

  2. avatar DaveL says:

    While it is rather rich for the organization that tried to regulate a shoelace as a machine gun, and reclassify M855 rounds as armor piercing, to suddenly claim its hands are bound by the law, it should be pointed out they are right in this instance and they were wrong back then. Credit where credit is due.

    As for allowing the ATF to be attacked in the media for following the law, I stand ready to defend the honorable employees of the ATF, should it ever produce any.

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      Beat me to it. It certainly hasn’t stopped them in the past.

  3. avatar W says:

    Aaah, “not my fault.” The standard bureaucrat response.

    Here’s what he left out. The manufacturers of the various devices sent their samples to his organization for approval. They were approved. The organization determined that the devices fell outside of the scope of existing regulation. That was their determination/ position. And, this expert organization also did not run to congress and ask for more regulations.

    Having made these decisions and non-actions, the career bureaucrat now cries, “not my fault.”
    Glad this guy isn’t a surgeon or nuclear power plant designer.

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      Your post makes no sense.
      He’s claiming that the ATF determined that bumpfires don’t violate the NFA, pointed out that ATF does not have the authority to change the wording of the NFA, and said that if Congress wants to treat bumpfires like machine guns, they need to amend the NFA.

      You make it sound like he’s trying to weasel out of some mistake he made, but the ATF did absolutely nothing wrong in this case (words never said before, and likely never again).

      1. avatar W says:

        The ATF determines which devices fall within the scope of the law. I’d contend bump stocks were a judgement call and the ATF said they didn’t. But, the determination was theirs to make, and they did so. For what it’s worth, they went the other way with the “lightning link.” That is, they said, effectively, yes we decided it does fall within the scope of law (emphasis on “we decided”) and we are classifying it under NFA.

        1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

          The thing you are missing is if there is an artificial accelerator added to the device. That will make them classify it as a machine gun. That is why devices with springs and even shoelaces were banned because of that interpretation.

          Bumpfire stocks and binary triggers have no such accelerated feature that the ATF could rule upon to be a machinegun. They both rely solely on human muscle thus are not able to be regulated upon unless Congress decides to change the law to make it soor specifically outlaws devices that rely on human muscle.

          Even then that opens the can of worms on how it can be interpreted because doing that would outlaw all aftermarket triggers that merely lighten/smooth trigger pull since it can be argued that those modified match triggers allow faster fire.

          See where this is going?

  4. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    I think the NRA did a dumb thing in this, but it is fun to see them in the middle between congressional gun grabbers and the ATF. Whatever they decide, it will anger one or the other… and maybe all three.

    1. avatar AndrewinVA says:

      I disagree. I think the NRA was very calculated in its moves. And I also think Mr. Bouchard is spot on as well.

      The folks at the ATF and the NRA-ILA both had to know that the ATF couldn’t legally restrict access to something correctly classified as an accessory. I think the NRA chose this path mostly to take attention away from and/or delay any hasty, knee-jerk legislative response.

      1. avatar dwb says:

        This!
        Plus, now that the bump stocks are legal, the ATF would have to address the impact of thousands of new unregistered un-serialized machine guns sold since the original 2010 order.

        By the time Congress and the ATF get around to reviewing this, media interest will have died and cooler heads will prevail. It will be an election year and suddenly people want to be elected in pro=gun Red States.

      2. avatar MamaLiberty says:

        Each to his/her own, Andrew. You obviously trust in the NRA and the system. I trust neither one…

        We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. 🙂

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          +1000
          I found and read the transcript of the congressional hearings from 1934 when the NRA was directly asked about making machine guns more expensive by regulation. They totally agreed. Anyone who says the NRA was asleep at the switch on the National Firearms Act is just uneducated about the truth.

          The NRA leadership, who ever they are, has never supported the civilians owning machine guns.
          Historically civilians had more advanced weapons than the government did.

        2. avatar JasonM says:

          Nobody present at the 1934 hearings is alive today, so we can’t really blame Wayne & company for that. The NRA was mostly an organization of Fudds, who only cared about their bolt action rifles, until the ’80s, when it became more clear that compromise was a gun-grabber euphemism for incrementalism.

    2. avatar kenneth says:

      That’s what happens to idiots that try to walk a fence with crocs on one side and sharks on the other. Bad things tend to happen…

  5. avatar former water walker says:

    Don’t blame us-we ‘re just your friendly neighborhood jackbooted THUGS…FIFU

  6. avatar Gman says:

    This entire discussion illustrates the fallacy of the NRA’s general position on the 2nd Amendment. They do not believe the individual right of the People to keep and bear arms is protected, in part, for the security of a free state. The militia preface clearly implies the People must be equally well armed as any modern army and therefore the restrictions of “military” grade arms is unconstitutional. Hence they entangle themselves in unnecessary arguments and end up capitulating to the left.

    1. avatar Raoul Duke says:

      This

      They have stated numerous times they don’t want us mere “peons” to have machineguns or any NFA devices except maybe silencers for that matter.

      They are pro-status quo and pro give-me-more-of-your-money-to-let-them-live-off-your-money. Nobody in the upper echelons of the NRA leadership is poor. All have mansions and live high off the hog!!

      Think about it. If gun rights started to go in our favor who would need them except for firearms training, certifications, etc. Even then a lot of that stuff can be found for free online these days so the information isn’t that hard to find anymore.

      NRA=giant scam

  7. avatar Joe R. says:

    “Here’s What You Have to Do . . .”

    GO F yourselves with something sharp and heavy.

    And stand the fV<K by til we find your replacements.

  8. avatar kap says:

    Yeah ATF remember WACO, you got 5 agents and 80 kids plus more adults killed for Stupidity, showmanship and Money, so eviscerate them, or Ruby ridge, framed a guy buy getting him to break the law,
    the ATF can only break the law with impunity under a Democrat administration especially under the Obama administration, where many bureaucrats could pass Anti- American rules which become law with out approval of Congress, {IRS, BLM, EPA}
    Democratic party is owned by Sorros and Bloomberg who want to kill our freedoms for their monetary gain
    Molon Labe, “Non Sibi Sed Patriae

    1. avatar Ya ne-gavyruu says:

      Nex ut omnibus tyrannus

  9. avatar Aaron M. Walker says:

    Eventually, hopefully in the not to distant future.( Barring another 2nd USA/ American CIVIL War for Liberty…) We the People with regain control of our Government. Purge it of LibTards, Globalists, RINOs, and Wack-a- Doodles…Then we can finally give our full undivided attention to these “Deep State” Alphabet labeled agencies like the BATFE…And officially set them out to pasture, permanently!

  10. avatar FuddDoctor says:

    The degree of mental meltdown in these comments is astonishing. No one knows who to be angry at.

    The one time when the NRA propaganda tap is not dispensing the expected KoolAid, we see a million flavors of crazy in the comments.

  11. avatar Jack Moore says:

    BS BATFE You’ve banned things for less. You banned that glove.

  12. avatar cody says:

    “honorable employees of the ATF” my ass

  13. avatar Mr. Woodcock says:

    “multi-burst trigger activators”

    A statement such as this is pants on head stupid. Maybe they will ban index fingers next.

  14. avatar Nanashi says:

    “the honorable employees of ATF, who followed existing law”

    There’s a first from the agency of jackbooted thugs that set fire to a church, ran over it with a tank and did the world’s worst frame job by planting their own, obviously unburned, equipment in the ashes.

    1. avatar DaveL says:

      I have nothing but the greatest respect for the honorable employees of the ATF, and I’d like to have them all over to my place some evening so we can all get roaring drunk on my best bottle of scotch.

  15. avatar Hank says:

    So lemme get this straight, the ATF can arbitrarily decide that suppressor wipes are NFA devices in and of themselves, but they can’t do the same with bumpfire stocks? Bullcrap! This guy wants congress to hand the ATF a loosely worded law that the ATF can use to expand their authority on a whim.

    1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

      “This guy wants congress to hand the ATF a loosely worded law that the ATF can use to expand their authority on a whim.”

      ^^Exactly this.^^

      I think we should:

      — Ask the ATF why they didn’t ban or attempt to ban these when they were quite aggressive about trying to designate shoelaces, silencer wipes, standard surplus ammunition, and, indeed, lead, as prohibited.

      — Ask them for their proposed, bump-fire stock legislation.

      — Ask them why the legislation we’ve already seen, presumably developed in consultation with them, is so broadly worded.

      — And ask why, with all that broad wording, it doesn’t say: “Bump fire stocks.”

      — And ask them where to find their proposal, before this event in LV, for legislative changes to give them the authority to do what must be done. They’re supposed to be the experts. What, it took a few hundred people injured for them to figure out this might be worth doing? Even people who never though of the issue before got that, at this point. So, I gotta ask ATF-guy, what good are you?

      Why ask them? They don’t have a leg to stand on, and they are both self-righteous, and mostly idiots. Get them to state their position on this, with a PR / propagation campaign, and they will shoot themselves thoroughly in the foot. (Sic.) They’ll make a muddle of however much legit argument they have, not counting the extra mess they’ll make with nonsense.

      So, let them spew and get it out there. We’ll never convince the anti’s, but we can let them convince folks in the persuadable middle for us. “We’re talking about giving more latitude to these idiots? Ok, just no.”

      To counter, be thorough, reasonable, factual and calm. Be crisp. If you can, get them in front of a committee and Gowdy them.

      “I see here that you have proposed banning, and I quote from the proposed legislation: ‘any device or refinement that accelerates the ability to fire multiple shots from a firearm.’

      “So, for my own understanding, does that include any self-loading, what’s called a semi-automatic, and a long-standing standard design in common citizen’s use?”

      “Well, it seems to me that firing the one, readying the firing of the next could be interpreted to ‘speed up’, so could fall under the wording you have proposed.

      “If you intend to ban 10s of milliions of citizens’ firearms used safely every year with this legislation why not just say so?

      “Let me ask another question: does this include lever-actions?’

      ‘Well, the same answer to you question a lever action might be interpreted to “speed up” the firing of a fire arm, compared to, for example a bolt action. I’ll remind you that you are here to answer the people’s questions, which I’m doing my best to ask, and my time is limited, so if you could confine yourself to your answer, that would help.”

      “If specific devices are known to be particularly dangerous, why didn’t you name them?”

      “Well, there is precedent, and I’ll remind you again that you are here to answer our questions, but to answer, the so-called ‘assault weapons ban” named a number of specific fire arms, and a number of specific features, concretely, and objectively. Someone could know before they bought one, or made one, whether it fit the law or not. I’ve been a prosecutor, and while I appreciate the attraction of broad statutes, I know from my experience that they are hard to prosecure — unconstitutionally vague. Unless you intend to use the law for administrative restriction: warning letters, findings that people have to protest, like with your m855s, things that don’t get to court.”

      “I suppose that’s a good question: if you get this wording, how do you envision it being enforced?”

  16. avatar doesky2 says:

    I think everybody on all sides can come together in the spirit of unity and agree that at least the NRA got the “Jack boooted thugs” part correct.

  17. avatar JD says:

    I find the term regulate when it comes to arms unconstitutional from the get go. Congress understood this in 1934 and came up with a taxing scheme for certain arms. Still unconstitutional as it was taxing a protected right but the court let it slide.
    We should start from the government has no constitutional authority to regulate arms period. Then hear what they think the solution is. If that means an amendment to the Constitution then knock yourselves out. That will never in my lifetime or my kids lifetimes become a possibility. Otherwise shut up about it and go home.

    1. avatar Ben says:

      The law-abiding citizen should be able to have whatever they want shot the rifle’s fully automatic‘s sandwiches with no questions asked why not criminals have with they want what am I chopped liver

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