Why the ATF Ruling on bump stocks scares the crap out of me.

You can go to the Federal Registrar and read the history of the ATF rulings on bump stocks.

In a nutshell, the ATF decided that the original bump stock, which had a spring in the stock was a machine gun, but with the spring removed was not since pushing on the bump stock so that the finger engaged the trigger and fired the gun didn’t meet the definition of a machine gun.

Vice did a video on this:

In 2017, the ATF indicated that any changes to the bump stock rule would be legislative, i.e., Congress could ban them, but the ATF wasn’t going to change the ruling.

Today, that ruling was changed.

This scares the shit out of me for two reasons.

Reason 1: Arm braces, AR pistols, and firearms.

The ATF has ruled that arm braces are not stocks.  You can legally put one on an AR pistol.

AR pistols are functionally the same as AR-15 rifles, but without butt stocks and with different serial numbers.  The ATF lets manufacturers classify them as pistols.

Firearms like the Remington Tac13, Tac14, and Mossberg Shockwave are not short barreled shotguns, but firearms because they are 26 inches long, how they are serialized and that they come OEM without stocks.

If the ATF can, because of political pressure from the DOJ…

From the ATF website:

On February 20, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum instructing the Attorney General “to dedicate all available resources to… propose for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns.”

In response to that direction the Department reviewed more than 186,000 public comments and made the decision to make clear that the term “machinegun” as used in the National Firearms Act (NFA), as amended, and Gun Control Act (GCA), as amended, includes all bump-stock-type devices that harness recoil energy to facilitate the continuous operation of a semiautomatic long gun after a single pull of the trigger.

Reverse a previous ruling on bump stocks, it can reverse the rulings on arm braces, AR/AK pistols, and Shockwave type firearms.

Congratulations, your Tac14, AR Pistol, or arm brace is now an unregistered SBS or SBR.  You have 90 days to destroy it or you are in violation of the NFA and get to go to prison.

We are now talking hundreds of thousands or millions of people made felons overnight with a rule change.

Reason 2: Social media and search warrants.

I’ve already seen it posted online “compliance will be low, how many people will really destroy their bump stocks?”

How many gun owners have pictures or video of their guns with bump stocks on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

Well, that’s now evidence, and potentially enough to get a search warrant for your address.

Your honor, here is a YouTube video of the suspect shooting a bump stock, we just want to make sure it’s destroyed.

An no, a boating accident won’t cover this.  The ATF is very specific when it comes to destroying NFA items.  Failure to destroy a bump stock in the way they want you to is just as bad as not destroying it at all.

A legislative ban on bump stocks might have been as bad as “no new ones but existing ones are grandfathered in, and you can’t sell it or transfer it after you die.”  Essentially what California did with assault weapons after registration.

Owners wouldn’t be felons.

The rule change just turned thousands of people into criminals in 90 days.

That’s one hell of a blow to civil rights.

6 Replies to “Why the ATF Ruling on bump stocks scares the crap out of me.”

  1. I am very disappointed.

    All PDT had to do was leave it to Congress. The same people that cannot pass a simple dozen budget bills on time. (They came close this year, but still failed.). There would be no bump stock ban. They would either fail, like they did on the Sacred Vow to Repeal Obamacare, or pass something so egregious that even PDT would veto it.

    Your fears are my fears. The permanent bureaucracy will happily overrun any previous rules, mores, or traditions to achieve their goals. Just look at the spying on the Trump Campaign and the Mueller investigation. Not our goals, not our elected officials goals, their own bureaucratic empire’s goals.

    1. Yep. It would be one thing if he just said “I’ll sign a bump stock ban, but we can’t do this through regulatory action.” It would piss us off and be annoying, but okay we can deal with that, and fight it, or at least get some concessions.

      Instead, he made a bunch of people felons overnight, for something that was LEGAL.

  2. How does one “prove” you’ve destroyed the offending item? If you don’t save the pieces, or turn it in to the ATF and get a receipt, as a minimum, you can expect a visit from the ATF turning your house and life upside down. Even if nothing is found, you will still be under surveillance. And if you think “Bump Stock” manufacturers and sellers won’t turn over sales records, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

  3. I don’t have a bump stock. I don’t think they’re really useful for anything besides making noise, but that’s okay by me and doesn’t mean that whoever wants one shouldn’t have one if they want it.

    This regulation is utter idiocy that should be laughed out of court.
    We shall see what happens as suit has been filed about the regulation, but which ever ruling the original court makes, the losing side is going to appeal and so on until SCOTUS either grants or denies cert – years down the road.

    That being said. We should always be accurate on our side of the equation when voicing our concerns about possible futures. We rail against the gun-grabbers for being inaccurate, so we should not be.

    Here’s what to remember about the differences between bump stocks (now MGs by regulatory legerdemain ) and firearms/pistols that either fire shot shells or have arm braces.

    18 USC 922(o) the ‘Hughes amendment’ banned post ’86 new production of MGs for non government/military use. (period) Thus these new ‘MGs’ will be, by law contraband in 89 days unless the court grants an injunction, or the Attorney General calls an amnesty as allowed per GCA 68. There is no other way by law to deal with new MGs in people’s possession.

    However with arm braced pistols and ‘firearms’, there is no ban on new production of SBRs & SBSs and like the streetsweepers/strikers/USAS-12 shotguns that Lloyd Bentsen ruled were Destructive Devices ~ 25 years ago, these would have to be allowed to be registered if ATF did their mumbo-jumbo hand waving and reversed themselves again.

    So being accurate, if ATF goes ApeShit again, the same scheme would apply and there would be however many new ones added to the NFRTR as had been manufactured. By the way I have three arm braced pistols (along with “real” NFA firearms) myself so I have ‘skin in the game’.

  4. As a retired LEO, it seems to me that the probable cause to obtain a search warrant for a bump stock would have to include knowledge that it was possessed after the ban. I don’t think the fact that you purchased one lawfully would be sufficient to issue a search warrant to see if you got rid of it.

    Post a video using one after the ban, there’s PC. Making declarative statements on Facebook that you will not comply may be enough.

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