It looks like the NRA is winning the battle against the bump fire ban bill. We hear House Speaker Paul Ryan won’t be bringing it to the floor for a vote. That’s the good news. The bad news . . .
The NRA and its legislative supporters continue to insist that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives should add the plastic firearms part to items regulated by the National Firearms Act — despite the fact that the ATF [rightfully] ruled that bump fire stocks are not machine guns. Or a device that turns a rifle into a machine gun.
As I’ve argued numerous times, green-lighting the ATF to regulate bump fire stocks off the market is a stupendously bad idea.
As my Rhode Island cronies would say, the ATF is not a friend of ours. Or of the United States Constitution. Or of the Second Amendment. Or of Americans who believe that federal agents should obey the law.
This they’ve proven at Waco and Ruby Ridge. By supplying Mexican drug thugs with weapons during their Fast and Furious anti-gun smuggling gun smuggling black bag job. By creating a multi-million-dollar secret slush fund. By exploiting a mentally damaged teenager in Wisconsin. By setting up “stings” that inspired gun thefts by paying sky-high prices for stolen guns. Etc.
Giving the ATF power to interpret law according to prevailing political whims — rather than insisting they follow the law as writ — is like giving a first grader a cup of Nitro Cold Brew and expecting them to sit quietly through mass class. Once unleashed, the ATF will use their power to regulate firearms, firearms parts, ammunition and gun sales as they see fit.
In short, the NRA’s “answer” to the public outcry to rid the country of a piece of plastic used in a single if [horribly] spectacular crime put gun rights on a slippery slope to California-style oblivion. Provided that is, the ATF plays ball.
Our sources inside the Bureau say the agency mucky-mucks are dead set against reversing its ruling on bump fire stocks. I think they’re dreaming, drunk on their own power, underestimating the pressure they’re going to face from both parties, the President and the media.
But I hope the ATF does stick to their proverbial guns. Which puts me — and anyone who cherishes their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms — in the uncomfortable position of supporting the ATF naysayers against the NRA.
And one more thing. If the ATF balks at the NRA’s “answer” to the bump fire stock furore, the “problem” will not go away. Republicans running to reelection need to take bump fire stocks off the table before they go to voters, who support a bump fire ban. So the President will set a dangerous precedent by issuing some kind of Executive Order outlawing them, or Congress will return to a legislative solution.
As Simon and Garfunkel wrote back in the day, anyway you look at this we lose. Thanks to a spree killer named Stephen Paddock. And the NRA? You tell me.