ATF Won’t Reclassify Bump Stocks

The Washington Examiner is reporting that ATF is refusing to reclassify bump stocks.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives has signaled to Congress that it would prefer new legislation instead of new regulation to impose restrictions on “bump stocks,” which could end up being a major hurdle to any federal action on the firearms accessory.

This is what was likely to happen. If they changed their mind, they’d be setting themselves up for blame, and that is not something any federal bureaucrat wants to do. So they are kicking it back to Congress. Whether NRA tries to kill bump stock bills, or trades it for National Reciprocity remains to be seen.

“It is illegal to convert a semi-automatic to fully automatic,” NRA Executive Director Chris Cox said this month. “The ATF needs to do their job, review these and if there is [a need for] further regulation, then we will work on further regulation.”

I don’t know if that’s an indication of an impending deal, or whether it’s just more delaying tactics. I’ve seen no indication that the gun control folks are interested in a deal on bump stocks. They are much more afraid of National Reciprocity or SHARE. The former I understand: the unwashed flyover people being able to carry in Manhattan? Scare bleu! But SHARE? Really? A silencer in and of itself is only dangerous if I throw it at you really hard.

16 thoughts on “ATF Won’t Reclassify Bump Stocks”

  1. Not surprising really. Hopefully nothing comes of the legislation, unless we get a really good deal out of it, and the language is ONLY banning bump stocks.

  2. SHARE is dangerous because it would facilitate the expansion of the gun culture. There wold be less excuse to shut down ranges, as noise complaints would have a trivial solution. Ranges could be built closer to other facilities, instead of having to be built first and grandfathered in in to protect them from noise ordinances.

    1. It’s also the camel’s nose under the tent of dismantling the rest of the NFA. Incrementalism goes both ways.

  3. If they changed their mind, they’d be setting themselves up for blame, and that is not something any federal bureaucrat wants to do


    That and, as written, the NFA’s definition simply doesn’t apply to a bump stock, any more than those hand cranks they also approved (IIRC).

    Even if the reasoning may be mostly political, I like a BATFE that actually cares what the law says.

  4. So here’s my concern about trading Bump Stocks for SHARE or National Reciprocity: How do you word a bill that has a good definition of Bump Stocks? I’ve yet to see any Gun folks offering language here. And since you can do the same thing with a shoelace, it sounds like the ban would have to address the shooter’s behavior not the equipment. Now try to enforce that…

    1. In discussion with friends, I came up with this: “A ‘bump stock’ or ‘slide fire stock’ shall be defined as a firearms shoulder stock with integral hand grip and sliding receiver mount, designed to allow the rifle receiver to slide rearward under recoil to reset the trigger without movement of the trigger finger.” I have no experience with bump stocks, but my understanding is the salient feature is that they allow the receiver to reciprocate, operating the trigger without movement of the trigger finger. Very specific language to define this type of functionality should be feasible. But as Sebastian has been discussing, the gun control lobby seems to be after more than just these devices in the broad language of the bills they’re pushing.

  5. Id also like to see SBRs deregulated.of Its a silly rule.

    I will pop a crate of popcorn amd watch the twnnis match between the BATFE and Congress. How are they going to “regulate” bump stocks without opening the registry to new machine guns? Oh wait…

  6. Language to legislate bump stocks would have to classify as a machine gun any device which modifies a firearm to use gas operation, springs or elastic devices, motors, or recoil forces or the resultant recoil motion to continuously or automatically activate or assist the operator in activating the firearm trigger mechanism.

    This would eliminate any need for language legislating rates of fire or accelerating the firearms mechanism, but cuts to the point: machine guns have a high rate of fire because the firing mechanism cycles continuously and does not need to be reset while it is activated by the operator.

    From a regulatory standpoint, the biggest issue with bump stocks is that they circumvent the registry. Of course, if the registry were opened, there would be no reason for bump stocks. If the goal were to put an extra layer of scrutiny on the trade of fully automatic weapons, closing the registry forces things to either go underground, or creates incentives to find and exploit loopholes. That bump stocks have been circulating in the market without the same scrutiny as full-auto while producing a similar effect is proof of the latter. Closing the registry created the conditions for bump stocks.

    I don’t like gun legislation, but we need to respect and work within the law. If we simply ignore the law because we don’t like it, we have no argument against the lawlessness of others. If we work to circumvent the intent of the law, we create opportunities for our opponents to push for more legislation. I’d rather there be no gun control legislation, as its arguably inconsistent with 2A. If we’re going to be stuck with it, though, we should trade bump stocks for National Carry Reciprocity or SHARE.

    Maybe we should push for a legal definition of Arms. If we were to define arms as man portable weapons, accessories for those weapons, and ammunitions and items necessary for their storage, maintenance, or use, we could push in new directions. It would need to be defined carefully, but it should pretty much include anything designed, past or present, that could be used for personal infantry combat against any foe, man or beast. Or robots.

    1. From a regulatory standpoint, the biggest issue with bump stocks is that they circumvent the registry.
      Hogwash. One bullet per trigger pull doens’t circumvent anything.
      I’m pleasantly surprised ATF is saying (for now) that there won’t be a re-classification. Whodathunk they would actually make rules based on current law?

    2. “The Law is an ass”. Which is why those of us in California comply with it TO THE LETTER. Bump stocks are already illegal here, but every permutation and workaround is pursued. The biggest problem is that progressive lawmakers here are becoming very specific about banned items, nibbling away, instead of trying to pass overly broad bills.

  7. I am now thinking that the NRA is (carefully) selling the antis a ticket for a frog ride of the antis own devising. The antis can’t help themselves, they’re going to go with an overly broad bill, then wonder why the inbred hicks won’t compromise.

  8. The political left uses the fraud of “gun control” to abuse the political right. They’ll even take a ban on bump stocks and celebrate it as a victory because they “stuck it to us”. The hundreds or thousands of people who have their lives ruined for the crime of bump stock possession, which was never even an issue before, doesn’t matter to them. They’re as self-righteous to the world, and callous to their victims as were the Nazis. They’re sick like that.
    Ask them how many police or military units anywhere in the world use bump stocks, and then tell them that there’s a good reason why the number is zero.

  9. Are we going to be OK with people going to prison for the “crime” of possessing a bump stock if a ban ever gets passed? Are we OK with destroying the livelihood of everyone who works at Slidefire Solutions?

    1. No, but we don’t live in an ideal world where we can just steamroller everyone who disagrees with us. National Reciprocity will keep far more people who don’t belong in jail out of jail.

  10. They were flying off the tables at the gunshow this weekend. If you snoozed and got there after about 11 they were all gone. I asked one of the suppliers and he said during a normal show they would sell 1 or 2. They sold over 100 and have none left.

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