The Department of Justice anticipates issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would interpret the statutory definition of “machine gun” in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify whether certain devices, commonly known as “bump fire” stocks, fall within that definition,” a Tuesday Federal Register notice advises. “Before doing so, the Department and ATF need to gather information and comments from the public and industry regarding the nature and scope of the market for these devices.”
The document comment period ends on January 25, the notice continues, providing ways to send them in either by mail or via a submission form. The notice also provides background information, including a summary of claimed statutory authority as well as the ”justification” for the proposed rule, which unsurprisingly relies heavily on last October’s Las Vegas music festival murders to make the case that such controls are needed.
Seeing as how investigators have been tight-lipped, that an inconsistent narrative has resulted in plenty of distrust and no small amount of “conspiracy theories” and an FBI estimate that a final report could not be ready until the anniversary of the killings, apportioning blame to bump stocks that are owned by plenty of Americans who don’t abuse them seems more than a bit of a rush to judgment.
As long as the subject is the federal government adding items under National Firearms Act authority (something nowhere delegated to it in the Constitution), it’s relevant to note another ludicrous overreach, such as the time a few years back when ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch deemed “Chore Boy copper cleaning pads, along with fiberglass insulation,” a firearm, subject to registration and a $200 transfer tax (read the letter here).
It’s also fair to look at the records and the environment that will apply to owners of bump stocks should the rule pass. Felony prosecutions occur even though the records are “seriously flawed.” Indeed, when it comes to the National Firearms Registration and Transfer record, an Office of Inspector General survey of ATF’s Industry Operations Inspectors noted:
“OIG asked how often there was a discrepancy between the inventory and what the NFRTR said the inventory should be: 46% of inspectors said either ‘always’ or ‘most of the time.’ (Only 5% reported ‘never’). How often was the discrepancy found in the NFRTR? 44% said always or most of the time, only 6% said ‘never.’”
And from a few years before that:
“In a major victory for those of us arguing that the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) is insufficient for criminal proceedings, Dr. Fritz Scheuren, “the” statistician in the United States (possibly the world), today informed the 10th District Court that the NFRTR is insufficient for criminal proceedings.”
Add to that an issue with conflicting ATF rulings making compliance problematic – indeed, ATF’s previous ruling on bump stocks was that they were outside the Bureau’s purview. And the lack of consistent and comprehensive rules has resulted in a legal complaint, because they’ve known about the problem for years:
In 2005, the Congressional Research Service published a memorandum regarding ATF firearms testing procedures. Among other things, it revealed that the ATF has “over 300 cubic feet of classification letters stored in file cabinets.” The Bureau hasn’t scanned any of these documents into a searchable database to assure consistency of interpretation, to identify and resolve regulatory conflicts. The extent to which this inconsistency has grown and compounded in intervening years is unknown and unknowable without a major organization and review effort.
How adding bump stocks into the mix will do anything beyond muddling the mix even further is not explained, but then again, this isn’t about “common sense gun safety laws” or “stopping the violence” or “getting guns off the street” – this is about politics, and representative are grateful to get a pass on accountability if the bureaucrats can take the heat instead of having to vote on a “bipartisan” bill, which is also in the works. And giving the green light to the regulatory vs. legislative approach is NRA:
“The National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
One additional wrinkle – by not being a “qualified product,” bump stocks may not be covered by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, so having ATF reclassify them may absolve manufacturers from legal liability – although adding a transfer tax could conceivably kill the market.
Here’s the thing: Hard core gun owner advocates are having real problems with establishment types crafting compromises on mental health, on “Fix NICS” and on bump stocks. Republican majorities are in the House and in the Senate, and a Republican president is in the White House. They wouldn’t be there were it not for gun owners.
Why are we talking more “gun control”? And in spite of those majorities, it’s beginning to look like the much-trumpeted “national reciprocity” trade-off may be “going nowhere”.
“[T]he Senate version … remains in the Senate Judiciary Committee and may never be presented for a vote as Democrats, and some Republicans, challenge supporters’ claims that national reciprocity would clarify confusion in negotiating the state-by-state matrix of concealed carry laws.”
Note no one who owes his position of power to gun owners is talking about challenging the Hughes Amendment. And far be it from anyone to propose overturning NFA ’34 altogether. Talk about something that clearly infringes on the very arms that have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia [or] that [are] part of the ordinary military equipment, or that … could contribute to the common defense.”
Instead, we’re being asked to help provide cover to rationalize yet another Intolerable Act, and this one with the sanction of our “gun rights leaders.” If that doesn’t set well with you, submit a comment on the proposed rule.
What should you say? Feel free to use any of the arguments presented here, or post insights of your own and share them with the rest of us in comments.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.
In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.
And this is coming from the same organization that classified a shoelace as a machine gun.
Not to mention fingers, given that any semi auto firearm can bump fire. It’s just somewhat easier with one of these stocks. And even then, a bump stock itself will not automatically make it work every time. It still takes some level of skill to make the gun bump fire reliably.
No, as usual the anti gun forces in the government want to use a tragedy to writ a new regulation to strip our gun rights. And even if these devices are mostly range toys we must resists this new reg.
I wonder if Public Comment period also means your name and address, and Your position on bump stocks and how many you have becomes public. In the energy industry, public comment means just that, name and a verbatim list of your statements are public on the internet.
I wouldn’t let that paint people into a corner of fear. There’s certainly something to be said about being “too connected” and sharing too much personal info online, however the government already has tons of data on us all. I figure we might as well let our voices be heard. If they then decide to use that against us, and come confiscating… well, then we all know what it’s time for.
First, last, org name, and statement will be publicly viewable it says.
Why on earth would you tell them how many you own, IF you own them?
My statement was worded rather neutral in that I focused on how bump fire worked and what their current definitions of machine gun/full auto and semi-auto. I then asked that, should the ATF decide to regulate them, would that mean they’d have to work around the 1986 Hughes amendment and open the NFA to register the devices, thus creating the possibility of allowing new machine guns to be bought and added to the registry as well.
Public comment is just forming a database….
You mean like the database the NSA keeps out in Utah in the largest building in the world? You’re apparently active on the internet so they already know everything about you, and if a list exists, you’re already on it. Why hide?
To be honest, bore the NSA with bull$h!t. Some apparatchik has to go through and check the “aberrant” data.
From an outsider’s perspective (my tag name and posts are a clue to my location) I was surprised these devices were available, were legal, and even approved by the BATF. But the BATF had to work within particular rules in making their decision.
But now the genie is out of the bottle, it is hard to put the genie back in.
I look forward to the expose that ancestry.com and other DNA collectors for “geneology” projects are an NSA project.
Cowards speak up and stop this illegal rule making. The government knows who you are and to be honest there is more of us than them and we are better armed. Are you scaredy cats posting your hunts, guns, opinions, etc online? They already know who you are. Make your voice heard and overwhelm ATF with comments that we do not approve of regulating a device that does what a finger can do.
Yeah being doxx’d is totally my cup of tea.
Anarchist doxx people. The government railroads people.
Then use a fake name on a laptop from your local McDonald’s. STFU and stop whining.
Didn’t realize I was whining but ight.
When I left my comment yesterday there were 60 something others. I follow the link today and there are zero comments. Shenanigans?
Maybe. Scroll down on the page to find this:
‘Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number for this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANRPM). All comments received will be posted without change to the Federal eRulemaking portal, http://www.regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the “Public Participation” section of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.’
Maybe if people don’t put a line at the top of their comments like:
‘Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Docket 2017R-22.’
their comments get tossed. I would not be surprised if that’s true.
now why can’t I meet a girl like that.
There should not even be a vote. If only one person wants a bump stock he should be allowed to have it. I’m sure if you put it to a vote anchovies on pizza could easily be made illegal. I’ll take anchovies on my pizza please, now pineapple that should be a crime!
They examine the posts prior to display. Wonder if they “accidentally” delete those opposed unless written by an idiot.
If the ‘Chore Boy’ material functions essentially like a suppressor baffle, since it helps ‘baffling’, what’s to stop them from ruling ‘cable pulling gel’ as a baffle in its own right since it aids suppression of the muzzle’s blast?
Seeking “public comment” ??? Please…it’s all a sham. They don’t care what any of us think. They just need to go through the motions to uphold legalities and appearances. Another govt agency run amok, staffed by bureaucratic idiots on a power trip using poorly worded “laws” to make “rules” that we are forced to live by.
When they classify the bump fire stock as a machine gun, all these poor food stamp claiming rednecks who work at Walmart making $8/hr will then have an asset that appreciates 100x because of the Hughes amendment. The problem of white poverty will be solved. This bump stock ban is all part of Trumps’ promise to MAGA.
Here is a rough draft of what i am submitting. feel free to cut paste and edit as you see fit for your submissions
In the wake of the mass killing in Las Vegas many people have come out in favor of banning a firearm accessory known as a “bump fire” stock. I cannot state this clearly and forcefully enough. I am NOT now, NEVER have been, and doubt I ever will be, in favor of any form of legislation or regulation that infringes on a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. I served in the military and swore an oath to support and defend the constitution of the united states. The Constitution was conceived of to protect the peoples liberties from the government, not to provide a “right to safety” despite what many people seem to believe. It is impossible to legislate or regulate away the evil in a person’s mind or heart, and attempt to do so are futile. You cannot disarm or disable those who would do harm to others, only those who would be law abiding citizens. The killer in Las Vegas broke the law against murder 58 times, and committed countless other crimes, during his attack. Evidence at this point seems to indicate he intended to continue doing so should he have survived and escaped. None of the laws against killing his fellow men and women stopped him.
The questions the government has asked deal with commercial transactions, and have no bearing on the definition of machinegun (“The NFA defines “machinegun” as 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 also includes “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 U.S.C. 5845(b).”) The device in question does not meet this statutory burden, as determined by the ATF previously, and attempting to regulate it into a machinegun on the basis of commercial transactions steps far outside of the regulatory authority of the agency.
This device makes it easier to repeatedly engage the action of a firearm. Many other devices perform the same function, such as light pressure triggers (3lb vs 10lb pistol triggers for example), or replacement springs on bolt action rifles (Lee Enfield rifles come immediately to mind). Simple training can achieve the same results. If these get re-regulated as machineguns none of them are on the machinegun registry. Which means every single one that has been sold becomes an automatic felony, in effect turning this regulation into an ex post facto law. These laws are prohibited by Article I, Section 10, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution.
completely random note: as of 1000 on 12-30-2017 none of the commentsw seem to be available for veiwing
down size the ATF, FBI, BLM, IRS, Homeland security, take away their rule making capability therefore unconstitutional law. Law not made by legislature but by edict like Obama did and which the 5th estate (Media) cover up or ignore for their hunger of power given by the cronies of Hillery, and the Demonic party commonly called Money or other perversions!
Screw the ATF. I would like to know why/how the entire Vegas crime has been hushed since the week after. VERY noticeable lack of “reporting” and a”analysis” in the lame stream press. Perhaps nothing fits their agenda.
Most people can’t even use them …plus this guy (SEE LINK) can shoot just as fast and much more accurate!
So they are going to ban fingers next???
Let them know Congress writes and rewrites laws and the 1934 NFA is illegal as hell!!
#ShallNotBeInfringed is clear…… is does not say we can ban any arm or gun we want!!
The 2nd amendment is a declaration and a WARNING TO GOVERNMENT!!! HANDS OFF or face the hangman’s noose or HOT TAR AND FEATHERS AND TREASON OR BOTH!!
Bumpfire stocks do not meet the definition that they RAMMED DOWN OUR THROATS ILLEGALLY as a machine-guns end of story! No do overs!
LETS MAKE THEM QUAKE IN THEIR JACK BOOTS ….SO THEY DON’T EVER TRY THIS AGAIN ..ARE WE WILL MARCH ON WASHINGTON!!
Comment @ the link PLEASE! DON’T SIT BACK AND LET OTHERS DO ALL THE WORK!
SPREAD THE WORD ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS…WE ARE THE NEW MEDIA LETS USE IT!
10 YEAR GIRLS ARE MASTER OF SOCIAL MEDIA CAN’T US ADULTS DO THE SAME???
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW! THANKS!
I think maybe the tactic is to make comments, copying them to other interested parties. Something like these, copied maybe to congresscritters, other parts of the admin, and select media:
Legally, this makes no sense.
If bump-fire stocks are “machine guns” under current law, why weren’t they regulated that way already? If not, where’s the request for the statutory authority to do so?
Morally, this seems like closing the barn door after the horses are already out (or dead, in this case.)
If you can do this now, with no change in the law, you could do it all along, and if the cause is the gear, not the guy driving, 50-some deaths in Las Vegas are on you.
Responsibly, this seems like a non-starter.
Given that in recent years the ATF has attempted to ban cleaning pads, common practice ammunition, and, indeed lead, under ambiguous stretches current law, how does permitting any expanded wording or interpretation make sense?
The point is to regulate firearms so they can be used by citizens, not remove them from people who want them. Why should we trust you to make a new rule that does what it says, let alone can’t be abused to do something else?
Isn’t reactively doing something stupid whenever there’s a headline what congrescritters are for?
I’m not a fan of bump stocks, and on a personal level would not miss their absence from the market. But, here’s the rub for me. Reviewing and changing one ATF ‘ruling’ for political reasons is the slipperiest slope imaginable.
A politically motivated reversal of ATF’s ruling that bump stocks are not ‘machine guns’ at this point leaves the door wide open for future rulings which are equally politically motivated, rather than being predicated upon the rule of, and letter of the law.
Once that door is thrown open, the sky is the limit for rampant political abuse and overreach of the agency’s mandate by the same forces who have so deeply and thoroughly corrupted the upper echelons at Justice.
Most eloquently put sir.
Address comments on ATF regulation of Bump Stocks as noted below. Comment period runs through 25 January, 2018,and time is passing.
Written comments must be submitted to ATF no later than thirty (30) days after publication in the Federal Register. Comments should be identified by docket number (2017R-22), by any of the following methods:
– Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. ( Click the Leave a Comment Button)
– Fax: (202) 648-9741
– Mail: Vivian Chu, Mailstop 6N-518, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Ave. NE, Washington D.C. 20226. ATTN: 2017R-22.
I did not even know about this until yesterday. I commented and I also called and wrote my senators and house rep asking them to make noise and stop this infringement. A noisy senator or rep is better than any comment we make on the subject. The ATF will ban semi autos via regulations no matter what we say. Fast trigger devices include any after market triggers.
Congress is ruled by fad, style, and media hype, not by law or democracy. Yes there will always be a way around their stupid logic, because it is always convoluted group logic. Use your finger and screw them.
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