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…
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.