As I updated yesterday, I think NRA’s move with ATF is meant to buy time. Time is our strongest ally in a situation like this, because you need people to stop thinking with raw emotion and start being more reasonable. All the strategic documents I’ve ever read coming out of the gun control movement (I wish I could find them now) call for immediate action in the wake of a tragedy. Reason being, and they have admitted this, is that they need people in an emotional state to get traction with their ideas. They do not have millions of people who care about this issue deeply. They have people who transiently care. They know time is their enemy.
So what are ATF’s options? They can take the bait and reclassify, which would be an admission they were wrong in the first place. That will attract blame for Las Vegas to ATF and the Obama Administration. That wasn’t put in there just because NRA wanted to tweak Obama (though I will admit it a nice side effect). It’s daring ATF to reclassify. If ATF does reclassify, every bump fire stock out there will become an unregistered machine gun. All of them will have to be tracked down and confiscated. Remember that there’s no new registrations, so you won’t be able to just register it, pay your NFA tax, and be good. If there were only a few thousand of these things out there Monday, there will be tens of thousands of them out there by the end of the week.Â I can promise you ATF does not want to have to chase after all these things, and then be left explaining how a misclassification resulted in tens of thousands of unregistered machine guns being sold to people with their blessing.
So at the end, ATF is likely to come back and affirm their original ruling, and telling Congress if they want reclassification, the ball is in their court and not ATFs. But this will take some time, and that time will help in getting us a favorable deal. We’ll do much better to negotiate after the news cycle has moved on. Our people are now paying attention, and it’s becoming clear that having the GOP in charge of Congress and the White House is not an immunization against future gun control.
It’s a good idea to write your critters. They do need to hear from us. And that message should be to pass SHARE and National Reciprocity, and not to vote for any future gun control. Despite news stories, NRA does not derive it’s power at the negotiating table because it donates big to politicians. It derives it from all of you calling and bitching to your lawmakers.