Tell the BATFE what 93% of BFA poll respondents know: Banning Bump Stocks is Wrong
In November 2017, President Donald Trump, who had a record of support for gun control before his latest run for president, directed his Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have the Department of Justice to "review" whether or not bump stocks could be banned through means other the legislation. This "review" was something that had been done twice before by their predecessors, President Barack Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
In 2010 the Obama/Holder Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) determined that because bump stocks don't have any moving parts, they are a "firearm part" and could not be regulated as a firearm under existing gun laws. The ATF reviewed the law again in 2012 and reached a similar conclusion.
As Adam Winkler, a constitutional law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told PolitiFact, Obama and Holder allowed bump stocks to continue to be sold "not because they liked it, but because the law did not permit them to prohibit it."
Yet now, Trump and Sessions are proposing to do something that even Obama and Holder believed was illegal.
Sadly, while the NRA opposes legislation banning the devices, the organization issued a statement last fall stating "the NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations" (emphasis added) - seemingly opening the door to the exact type of bureacratic rule-making we are seeing now.
Just months after that NRA statement, Trump signed an executive order directing Sessions to get the ball rolling on a bump stock ban. (Never mind all of his campaign criticisms of Obama for legislating by executive order.)
Responding to Trump's order, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is now seeking to "clarify" that 'bump fire" stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics (bump-stock-type devices) are "machineguns" as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), "because such devices allow a shooter of a semi-automatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger."
This, of course, is a lie. Such devices change nothing about the operation of the semi-automatic firearm. Even when equipped with such a device, the guns still fire one round for each pull of the trigger. They do NOT fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull, as do machine guns.
If this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) is implemented, the Trump BATFE proposal would cause these devices to fall within the prohibition on machineguns. Consequently, current possessors of these devices would be required to surrender them, destroy them, or otherwise render them permanently inoperable upon the effective date of the final rule.
As of June 12, 93% of poll respondents on the Buckeye Firearms Association Facebook page OPPOSE this rule. They understand that blaming or banning objects or tools will never prevent evil persons from carrying out heinous acts. They know that words mean things, and understand that once the BATFE is allowed to stretch the definition of "machinegun" to fit things that clearly are not, they won't stop there. Someday, under some president, they'll be back for more, because the end goal of gun ban extremists is a ban of all semi-automatic firearms.
The BATFE is taking public comments on this proposal through June 26. CLICK HERE to comment now!
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.