A Bump Stock Ban BATFE Haz

Completely unsurprising to anyone who has been following the process, ATF has essentially ruled that the distinction between the currently available bump stocks and the Akins Accelerator is one without a distinction, and that they were wrong when they classified Bump Stocks as not machine guns. Essentially ATF ruled the shelf where you rest your finger is the difference, since it allows the recoil of the rifle to successfully actuate the trigger as it’s pulled into the finger.

Does this mean a belt loop is a machine gun? Probably better not to ask that question. There are a lot of things we do that are honestly better off flying under the radar. Bump firing was one of them, but that asshole in Vegas brought the issue front and center. Home built firearms are another. You don’t have to spend much time in politics, or on social media, to realize the people are extremely irrational about guns and weapons in general. Libertarians are often too clever by half. We want to outsmart the system. But the system doesn’t care about your logical universe. ATF’s ruling here doesn’t really make any sense, but you know what? They don’t care, because it’s politically convenient.

And whether anyone will admit it or not, ATF is doing us a favor, because this doesn’t deal with cranks, doesn’t deal with match triggers, doesn’t deal with rates of fire or other bullshit the preferred bills that are passing are based on. I really don’t like that some people are likely to get screwed by this because they bought bump stocks and likely won’t hear of the reclassification. I do hope the feds exercise discretion.

I’ve said it before, but machine guns are lost. I can’t see beyond 20 years, so maybe by then it will change. Maybe by then we will have lost everything. Who knows? Our immediate goal is saving semi-automatic firearms, and in that fight we don’t need to do Josh Sugarmann any favors by helping blur that line.

38 thoughts on “A Bump Stock Ban BATFE Haz”

    1. Sure they will, anyone that /destroys/ their bumpstock as part of a political stunt will get off the hook.

      Similarly, anyone who has a bumpstock in order to demonstrate to a breathless journalist how evil they are will be safe.

  1. Page 25: No compensation.

    I am concerned that this threatens many semi-autos in the hands of a future administration.

    The following quotes are straight from the ATF.

    The ATF has long held that firearms that can be “readily restored” to fire full auto are machine guns. They also state: “Of all the different firearms defined as NFA weapons, machineguns are the only type where the receiver of the weapon by itself is an NFA firearm.”

    This is why semi AR-15 lowers lack the third hole. It is also why HK full auto receivers and semi receivers are different (semis have shelves, full autos have push-pins).

    Now, if we accept that a bump stock is a machine gun conversion kit, and that it installs on any standard AR-15 buffer tube with no machining required, would not one logically conclude that any AR-15 lower receiver that takes a standard buffer tube is a machine gun?

    On one hand its nice that this is narrower than states like FL are ramming through. On the other hand we’re setting up for a future battle over AR-15s altogether being classified as MGs.

  2. Yes, Trump may have only sacrificed slide-fire stocks with an arbitrary and capricious ruling from the ATF. But then why would such powers necessarily stop after slide-fire stocks are banned?

    Arbitrary and capricious rulings from authorities with executive power seems to be a favorite tactic of the gun-control cultists.

    The AG of Massachusetts used that trick to expand the reach of the State AW ban without any action by the legislature. A future Democratic President (or who knows, maybe even Trump?) might order the ATF to redefine all semi-auto rifles as illegal machineguns. I believe some anti-gun cultists have promoted that very method of banning AW.

    Such a ruling doesn’t have to make any logical or legal sense. Such a ruling is just an exercise in raw power. And the Courts won’t stop them.

  3. Unlike most ardent gun controllers, the BATFE knows about the art of the possible. This affects the, what, 10K or so people who own one, many of whom bought them for a lark after the publicity?

    Not enough people are going to care about this. Unlike, say, if they had gone more broadly. And if this ever matters as a precedent for banning semi-automatics as “readily convertible to machineguns” it will already be too late to matter.

  4. I don’t care a thing about bump stocks. What I care about is surrendering to the left. You never give them anything because they never keep their word and always view any gain for them as a bridgehead for the next move. Of course, this is a small thing compared to yesterdays shit sandwich.

  5. While some might not care about bump stocks, cause they simply don’t care, or whatever reason, this is equivalent to chumming waters. You can see that happening already. Haters must be cousins to Wolverines, cause they’re never satisfied.


    1. I care, but today? Machineguns are a lost cause. Hughes Amendment killed that dead. Regardless of the physics, these are perceived to “let a gun be the next best thing to a machinegun.” At least partially because that’s what they are sold as – let’s not be cute there and ignore that.

      We can blow our powder reserves on something that matters at the margin (which is what this is) or we can keep it for when they come for the trigger jobs and self-loading firearms.

      1. I care too. This pisses me off that they can use weasel words to change the meaning. But look, if a “state” can mean “state and the federal government”, anything can mean anything.

        We can say machine guns are protected by the Second Amendment, and that is true. But the courts have failed to do their job, and there just isn’t public support for any change. The BEST we can hope for at this point is a repeal of the Hughes Amendment, but that is probably decades away if ever.

        So lets focus on the important thing: changing the culture. National Reciprocity is what will do that. Fighting the good fight, not the margin fight.

        1. The real issue is that people have never considered machine guns to be in the scope of their second amendment rights. If they did, they would have fought for them in 1934, and again in 1986. But it’s always been something traded off. The Courts suck, but we’d be lucky to get categorical protection for semi-autos from the courts.

          1. The courts when it comes to guns are literally nothing but a bunch of Roland Freislers. Here’s a hypothetical situation and I don’t think anyone here thinks this wouldn’t happen:

            Federal government: ‘we are going to pass a law banning all guns and make a special task force using armored vehicles, tanks and bombers to go door-to-door confiscating firearms and sending the people we don’t Kill without trial to camps. We will systematically exterminate them and use nuclear weapons to kill at least 100 to 150 million United States citizens to maintain our control.’

            SCOTUS: OK. I see no problem. Have fun.

      2. mostly I’m disappointed we couldn’t get something (e.g. reciprocity) in return for giving these up. This wasn’t a compromise, and it doesn’t appear to be a tactical retreat–it’s just a cave-in.

  6. Don’t be mad at Josh Sugarman for that term “Assault Weapons”. Former Republican Governor of California, George Deukmejian, is the sole person responsible for codifying the term “Assault Weapons” into the Legal-Lexicon of the Firearm Issue. That bastardous 1989 Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act is going to be the death of the 2nd Amendment, outright.

    Ironically, I fear that Trump will sell us down the river in 2019 when the Democrats take back the House. Their Omnibus Spending Bill will give Trump all of his Military Industrial Complex $$$funding with a total ban on all Semiautomatic Firearms and “High Capacity Magazines”. He has signaled to the Democrat Party that he will sign any Bill that advances their Agenda, so long as that Bill funds the Military.

    I hate to be a pessimist, but the Truth is pessimistic in Nature. In 20 years, America will be lost entirely, 2nd Amendment and all. Beyond Trump signing an order to ban “bump-stocks”, he signed that Omnibus Spending Bill, ensuring that his base will stay home in 2018 and 2020. Say hello to 50 years of Democrat Party Rule.

    Looking at the trajectory of America’s Demographics, we will be a 2nd World Country (I think we’re there already) in 10 years, and will be a 3rd World Shithole like Mexico and Venezuela at least 20 years from now.

    As Nikita Kruschev said: “We will spoonfeed you little bits of Socialism, until one day, you will wake up with Communism”.

    1. Sole person responsible?

      To blame one craven bill-signing by a law-and-order Republican Governor, instead of the VPC and the almost party-line vote in the California legislature, for the ban and terminology “assault weapon” is mind-boggling.

      And at this late date, after almost thirty years of both political parties sifting their ideology on gun-control, to throw blame on Republicans for the worst of gun-control is pointless muddying of the waters we now face.

      I’m not even going to bother unpacking the rest of your shrieking pessimism. Who are you trying to convince? What are you trying to accomplish?

      Because all I see is a language of despair which leads logically to only one suggested course, giving up on peaceful political action.

      1. I’m not suggesting giving up at all. First regarding George Deukmejian, he could’ve vetoed that Bill, as the California Democrat Party did not have the votes to override it. George Deukmejian in 1982 and 1986 for his Election and reelection, saw and campaigned against the California Democrat Party whom were actively campaigning for a confiscation based ban in California throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s. Democrats promised Deukmejian and the CA GOP that the 1989 Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act would be “the ultimate solution, and perfect compromise” on the Gun-Issue……Look where California is now pertaining to the 2nd Amendment. Deukmejian should’ve known that the Democrats would stab him in the back.

        There are 95 million to 130 million American Gunowners. This Anti 2nd Amendment/Gun Confiscation movement has openly declared all of us to be political dissidents that must be “purged” from society. The total number of Gunowners in the Coubtry has the ability to crush Bloomberg and his army of Aristocratic, Pigs from the Animal Farm by Uniting together with what should be, a collectively unstoppable Vote.

        Instead (this where my frustration is) I continue to hear some gunowners in my very own social sphere believing, that like Republicans doing with the Communist Democrats, we can play patty-cake and “compromise” with the Gun Confiscation Activists.

  7. Well I’ll say it. I think it’s time we seriously consider this presidents mental composure and back off supporting him for re-election.

    He makes snap decisions that have led to most of his other EOs getting tossed by federal judges. This will be another one to challenge.

    It’s not a matter of trust. We’ve been able to trust pretty much zero presidents on most matters of civil rights. Most have had egos the size of Trump’s. It’s a matter of concern at this point.

    1. Trump lost his base, and reelection in 2020 by signing the Omnibus Spending Bill.

      Sadly, the seeds for our demise were planted by that “Sporting Purposes Clause” of the 1968 GCA. Trump will be utilizing it to ban semiautomatic firearms in 2019 when the Democrats have control of the House.

      The next Democrat Presidency (coming in January of 2021), is going to weaponize the ATF, in full to ban all semiautomatic firearms through bureacratic fiat if Trump doesn’t start doing it next year.

      The Courts will uphold those moves citing the “Sporting Purposes Clause”, insisting that “because “semiautomatic firearms can be readily converted to fully automatic, they are not fit and proper, and are unsafe for Sporting Purposes”.

      1. Joe, stop it with the hysterical projections that exist only in your brain. We have enough to deal with in reality.

    2. Seriously consider?

      And who is the Trump alternative to “seriously consider” at this time? Kasich? Kamala Harris? Santa Claus?

      I’m no chump for Trump, I never have been. We generally accept the reason why Trump was elected in the first place was only because of the potential calamity of a Hillary Presidency and a metaphorical third term for Obama.

      None of us at any time should ever give automatic support for Trump re-election. But so far Trump is giving us court appointments which are vital to the long term battle for the future. And right now the anti-gunners are really pulling out all the stops to make the next elections all about gun-control.

      Maybe in 2019 or even 2020 when we see evolving conditions more clearly it may be time to “seriously consider…back[ing] off supporting him for re-election”. But to do so today? Even before the mid-term election? That’s silly.

      1. We would have a serious tactical error on our hands if the NRA goes “all in” to support this president for re-election who did more to advance bans than Obama did if this EO still stands in 2020. I have seen die hard Trumpers just accept this EO as something desperately needed because (and I SERIOUSLY QUOTE), “Obama didn’t do anything to help ban bump fire stocks when he had a democratic congress”. These people are not helping the cause of gun rights. Filthy partisanship has done more to destroy rights by forgetting about rights.

        Obama was a “true believer” who legitimately thought he could push as much as he could to raise money. If an EO banning bump stocks was within his arsenal, with the help of Eric Holder, why didn’t he do it?

        Now, I’m still very open to this being a tactical calculation if indeed Trump aides made it seem like this could be easily overturned in a court of law. I get tactics. If Trump can walk away (and I do mean walk away as in let it go without screwing this up even more) then I will rescind my criticism.

        But the last thing we want is hearing about how this president did more for gun control than Obama and for that statement being right. The GOP brand will be tarnished if NRA chooses to go down with he ship on Trump.

        1. Why didn’t Obama have an executive ban of bump stocks? Well, probably because he, like 99.99% of everyone outside the gun community didn’t know they existed.

          Remember, the Obama admin did ban surplus 5.45×39 ammo, had a lead ammo ban on hunting on federal land. It’s not like he had no executive gun control.

          1. The ATF definitely knew they existed as far back as 2010. I think the anti-gun channels would have piped that information back up the chain to the WH real fast via the Holder DOJ.

            Have either of those two EOs been repealed? I hadn’t heard.

  8. So, 280,000-520,000 people are to be declared felons to be eligible thrown in prison for ten years, all for doing something legal. Disgusting.

  9. For all that I don’t think it’s worth expending political capital by the NRA to fight, I hope someone expends some money on this, because the ruling really does go beyond the boundaries of what the law defines a machinegun to be.

    We don’t always get what we want, though.

    1. Most people don’t understand the government rulemaking process; nothing has been banned yet, and if a ban happens it won’t for a number of months, if ever – the proposed rule has to stand up to several scrutinies within the government, public comment, and a bunch of other steps.
      All of that, of course, is separate from basic constitutional questions – for example, these were legally bought and legal to own; if they are now reclassified, the government has to either buy them back or provide an avenue for registration, like they did when they classified the USAS, Street Sweeper, and other shotguns as destructive devices.
      If fought correctly, this could actually be a back door way to bypass the Hughes Amendment; the ATF (under law technically the Secretary of the Treasury) actually has the discretion to register new machine guns but it has never been used – by attempting to regulate legally owned and bought items as a machine guns, they fall into a property trap and conflicting rules.
      My hope, and at this point it is just a hope, is that the ATF will take months or years to study the issue and then decide they can’t reclassify bump stocks as machine guns.

      1. This is all true for everything except machine guns. The law on machine guns is actually really simple and airtight. Machine guns are illegal for civilians to possess. The sole exception is pre 86 registered MGs. The secretary has lots of leeway to amnesty lots of other things (like DDs and SBSs) but not MGs.

        Then again with the courts ruling that a penalty is a tax and the federal government is the state government who knows what will fly.

  10. Question- would cutting off the “shelf” covering the trigger make a bump stock compliant?

  11. No compensation? Doesn’t that violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment?

    ” nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

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