NRA Gets Its Wish: ATF Will (Once Again) Review Legality of Bump Stocks

SSAR-15 MOD

The SSAR-15 MOD from Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor of the bump stocks. (Photo: Slide Fire)

Bump stocks. They’re legal. They’re not considered “machine guns” under the National Firearms Act. On at least two separate occasions, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has said so. But now their official status as a “firearm part” is in jeopardy thanks to the National Rifle Association.

Remember, following the tragedy in Vegas, it was the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre that said the ATF needed to “do its job” to determine if bump stocks should be subject to “additional regulations.”

That’s exactly what the ATF, at the behest of the Dept. of Justice, is currently doing. ATF announced Tuesday it “has begun the process of promulgating a federal regulation interpreting the definition of ‘machinegun’ under federal law to clarify whether certain bump stock devices fall within that definition.”

What this means is that the agency is drawing up an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), which will then be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. The good news is that the ANPRM provides an avenue for the public and the gun industry to chime in before any final decision is made. We need to remind the ATF that this is a settled matter. It’s own regulators very sensibly concluded that it is a firearm part.  Not a machine gun!

“The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed,” said the ATF in 2010, responding to Slide Fire’s submission for classification.  Hard to see how the ATF can reverse that determination without getting egg on its face.

SEE ALSO: ATF to Suspend ‘Green Tip’ Ammo Ban, Reclassification

Comments from the public are not taken lightly in this process. When the ATF attempted to “reclassify” (aka ban) green tip ammo during the Obama years, it noted that a “vast majority” of the comments received were critical of the proposed change. As a result, it suspended the “framework” for reclassification. It was a big win for gun owners.

To be fair to the NRA, many believe what they did was a smart move. By calling for a Trump-controlled ATF to review bump stocks, they kept the matter out of the halls of Congress.

I imagine the NRA’s thought process to be something like this:

Most gun owners don’t give a rip about bump stocks. And if gun owners don’t care about bump stocks, defending a device that accelerates the rate of fire to mimic full auto firearms to the non-gun owning public is an almost impossible task. Especially in the wake of the deadliest shooting in American history.

Bump stocks are on the chopping block, whether we like it or not. What can we do to mitigate the damage? Instead of supporting new legislation for banning bump stocks, like those that Feinstein and others have introduced, let’s see if we can turn the matter over to ATF. At least there it’s a contained environment. We don’t have to worry about anti-gun lawmakers trying to tack on more gun-grabbing legislation in the final hour. As would be the case if this ends up in the House and Senate.

SEE ALSO: Here’s Why ATF Approved Bump Stock But Not AutoGlove

The problem I have with this mindset is that it’s defeatist. It starts from the premise that it’s a no-win situation. That bump stocks are doomed to be regulated. It also creates a slippery slope for the government to politicize or weaponize the ATF. Compelling the ATF to tinker with the definition of “machine gun” is going to open up a can of worms. And who knows what the repercussions will be. Lastly, the NFA is a sham to begin with. I don’t believe we should regulate machine guns any different than we regulate semiautomatics. Of course, I know I’m in the minority on this.

“Possessing firearm parts that are used exclusively in converting a weapon into a machine gun is illegal, except for certain limited circumstances,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a press release. “Today we begin the process of determining whether or not bump stocks are covered by this prohibition. We will go through the regulatory process that is required by law and we will be attentive to input from the public.”

Anyways, the NRA got what it wanted. The review process is underway. Bump stocks are teed up to be a sacrificial lamb. And barring some serious outcry from gun owners, ATF will find a regulatory glitch to say that a lawful product is somehow unlawful.

{ 43 comments… add one }
  • Bobs yer uncle December 13, 2017, 2:31 pm

    Once bumpstocks are banned we’ll all be safe right? I couldn’t figure out how to attach one to my military 1879 rolling block assault rifle anyway.

  • jjkarn December 11, 2017, 11:13 pm

    Once again, the NRA show itself to be the rifle-dropping surrender-monkeys of gun rights. The NRA threw gun owners under the bus with the NFA, with the 1968 GCA, and again by supporting provisions further restricting politically-incorrect guns in the egregiously mislabeled 1986 Firearm Owners “Protection” Act. The NRA is to gun rights what the French are to European wars. Oh, they beat their chest while screaming “Protect Freedom” and “Vive la NRA,” but run with their tail tucked any time a real fight is on the horizon. Had the Minutemen whom the NRA so loves to idolize shown the same courage at Lexington and Concord as the NRA, itself, we’d all still be singing “God Save the Queen.”

  • Dr Jim L Davis December 9, 2017, 1:58 pm

    Once again the NRA is selling us out. I am an Endowment Life Member of the NRA but I no longer support them financially. I have a 1000 firearm collection that was willed to the NRA. I have changed that to charities that support Veteran needs. In that collection are several AR15’s & AK47’s with Slide Fire Stocks.

    • George Baber December 11, 2017, 10:13 pm

      You say the NRA is selling us out, Ha! they are just short circuiting the anti gunners who say they only want to ban bump stocks then pass a law against bump stocks with ten other things included. Its called getting the camels nose under the tent. The ATF can make a change, since they approved them. So that no new legislation would be needed. Quick and easy and the NRA can stick to the important things like “Reciprocity” ….!!!

  • Chuck December 9, 2017, 10:50 am

    I am a life member of the NRA. They can really piss me off sometimes. This is one of them.

  • Doc Loch December 8, 2017, 10:31 pm

    I think everyone has dipped deeply into the tyrannical kool-aid! This is NOT about bump-fire stocks. It is NOT about giving up a little here so we can keep a little there. Maybe there is strategy involved and if at the end of the day we end up with more freedom, then I\’ll hold my torch and pitchfork steady-ready. But don\’t for a moment say something so evil as \”well no one really cares about bump-stocks, let\’s let them have them.\” This kind of false thinking is a clear demonstration of a mis-understanding regarding rights and how tyranny spreads. If we are not restoring our freedoms (including bump stocks, machine guns, bazookas, nuclear weapons, etc, then we are succumbing to tyranny. The law abiding have an inalienable right (unless they cede those rights, i.e. are unwilling to fight, kill and die for them) to the best, most effective armament that they can afford. Pre-crime punishment is a crime and we the people ought to be prosecuting those who have violated these highest laws of the land. If you are succumbing to tyranny you are either very stupid (of low intelligence) or a coward or both.

    • Chuck December 9, 2017, 10:48 am

      Very well stated.

    • Shane December 9, 2017, 4:48 pm

      Tell your story to to the Jewish folks and other anti-Nazi party individuals that where killed by the millions…you ignorant buffoon. Go away…spew your puke somewhere else

  • Gandalf December 8, 2017, 7:38 pm

    Then, there’s this: The U.S. Constitution basically sets out the road map for how our country and its citizens are supposed to live with one another. But, there’s one document, I believe, that is even more important than the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence. It most logically and forcefully affirms our, and for that matter, every human’s right and duty to alter or abolish any government that has become destructive of the life liberty and property of it’s citizens. Are we at that point, yet? No. However, one would have to be blind not to see clearly see the direction in which our current political system is moving. It is, more and more, toward the usurpation of rights, the stifling of criticism and the imposition of control. Should it come to the point where it becomes necessary to ‘alter or abolish’ some future tyrannical government, how are we to accomplish this, with the antiquated weapons of the past? Let’s be real. The founding fathers’ intentions are there for all to see. I believe they meant for the people to be armed with whatever modern firearms were necessary for them to aid our government and military in case of war or invasion, or to oppose and remove that government should it become a threat to our liberty. To believe otherwise, in my view, is to ignore the historical events that caused the ‘Declaration’ to be written in the first place; and, as the philosopher-poet-novelist, George Santayana has said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” You, dear readers can discuss the ins and outs of rights and privileges, government overreach and whatever. But, in the end when they have legislated away all your rights, torn up the last shreds of the Constitution and come to take your guns, what will you do? I hope you will do as I intend to do and heed the advice of the aforementioned Mr. Santayana…and one other: Patrick Henry.

  • Patrick December 8, 2017, 3:49 pm

    I have not been an NRA member for many years, yet I still receive calls asking me to donate money to fight gun legislation. It makes me wonder if the proclaimed “5 Million Members” includes people who have not paid dues and who have let their memberships lapse, but are still carried on the rolls. I ask how my donating money will cause some legislator or bureaucrat to change his ideology. No answer. There is only one way that could occur and that would be bribery. Our opposition is far too committed to their cause to be swayed by any “campaign contributions” from our side.

    • Boss December 8, 2017, 4:45 pm

      NRA dose not call for donations. If you get a call from the NRA for money, it is NOT the NRA, it is a scam!

  • DARKIWNG December 8, 2017, 2:21 pm

    DR WHO.Just as people call a semi-auto AN AUTOMATIC (even SOME owners) you have perpetuated that mind process. Is your point that someone should come after these triggers also? A binary trigger will not fire two rounds with a pull of the trigger. It will fire one round on the “pull” and one round on the “release”. There is a difference. I built a rifle with a binary trigger and I do know one thing. I built an AR with a very good lightened bolt carrier, matched with a good buffer spring and buffer and a very slick light pull quick reset trigger, and fire 2 rounds as quick with that rifle. The binary will beat it in sustained fire (but I would hate to stake my life on the difference) and will also burn up parts a lot sooner. For the largest majority of people the cost of the trigger is prohibitive and ammo to feed it on a constant even more so. I have lots of surplus capital and have only used my binary trigger in the binary mode a couple of times mainly to see how it compares and how controllable it is. Other than a fun factor or maybe competition it is really a waste. But however, are we not allowed to waste our money as we see fit?

    • Boss December 8, 2017, 4:49 pm

      For most of my life I spent my money on whisky, women, and guns, The rest of it I wasted.

      • The Equalizer December 8, 2017, 8:48 pm

        LMAO! That was a good chuckle and more true in ways I care not to admit about myself. :)))

  • D Day Dog December 8, 2017, 1:51 pm

    I am for repealing the NFA. But that is unlikely to happen. With that thought in mind, I believe we should just let bump stocks die. Just my opinion folks. I cannot fathom that any significant percentage of gun enthusiasts own these devices or even care about them. Besides, a finger and a belt loop will produce almost the same result as a bump stock, just not as much control. With all the mass shootings now, there will be continual mounting pressure for the ATF to find a “problem” with bump stocks as well as other firearms. If the ATF cannot find a reason under their current technical rules to say bump stocks are prohibited under the “current” NFA, I believe it will likely lead to more legislation to change the existing technical rules on what constitutes a machine gun. This might result in a new NFA with even more bans that could creep closer and closer to banning semi autos in general.

    While I’m not in favor of allowing the Feds to chip away at my gun rights, unfortunately, my opinion is that this has to be a gimme in this instance. Pursuing this particular issue can lead to “bad law”, no matter how well intended the pursuit of removing or deciding the law was. You have to pick your fights and think before acting. A few more Sandy Hooks or Las Vegas type massacres and you will be saying goodbye to your military looking firearms. It would have been easier to simply allow a bill to ban them, without another review of the ATF, and then continue whatever struggle we can for a full repeal of the NFA at a later time. This is a stupid move on the NRA’s part. I may not be renewing my membership.

  • RollinL December 8, 2017, 12:45 pm

    Thank you for an intelligent article. The NRA and Wayne LaPierre have always claimed there is a “big picture” to be concerned with, which always translates to rolling over so that they don’t look so strident and mean to the media. The organization is sooo overrated. They are not always our friend, as gun owners. They are a self-interested organization that is more concerned about their status, salaries and job security and, if some segment of gun owners gets sacrificed to support those ends, they are fine with that. They lose nothing but a segment of their membership. Just think about this. They brag about having 5 million members. Imagine if they actually did support gun rights in a no-compromise fashion. They should be 3 or 4 times as large, with 75-100 million gun owners in America.
    As to bump stocks, the article is right on the money. There is zero statutory authority for ATF to regulate this. They did not “approve” them, they are not to blame, nor is the Obama Admin, that’s just dishonest deflection by the NRA. The results will be no different this time, unless ATF decides to legislate from the Technology Branch.

  • pete December 8, 2017, 11:44 am

    Good. Ban them. Ban all trigger or other rate-of-fire increasing devices. Do it today. They’re clearly end-runs around the intent of the law that have no place in a civilized society (but do have a place in the sick Wild West that so many of us gun nuts seem to want!). After LV, no right minded adult should want them around. End of discussion. (oh but wait, I can just see some southern Repub introducing the Arthritic Shooters Enabling Act to protect bump stocks).

  • Kevin Haley December 8, 2017, 10:45 am

    The NRA has really let us down on this one. The NRA may be making a calculated gamble here, but the unintended consequences will most probably go against gun owners, not liberals and anti-gun fanatics. All my life I’ve vouched for the NRA and its stances on firearms & gun owners – but this bump-stock position has really given me a cause for concern.
    Like the NFL and their disrespectful “kneelers”, the NRA may just feel this one in their pocketbook.

  • Infidel762x51 December 8, 2017, 8:56 am

    I would be more than willing to trade bump stocks for the SHARE act.

  • Dr Motown December 8, 2017, 8:47 am

    It’s a calculated move to get some of the heat off of gun owners. If the BATFE comes to the same conclusions they did in 2010, then gun owners (and the NRA) will be vindicated, to a certain extent. By the time they complete their review, enough time would’ve passed after Las Vegas to dampen down the enthusiasm for a Congressional ban. Americans have short attention spans, and the story has faded away. Conversely, if the BATFE reverses its decisions, it’s only going to inconvenience a small minority of folks who think these devices are cool. Yes, yes, I know about the “slippery slope” argument some of you will make, but, in reality, it’s very difficult to get people (including MOST gun owners I know) to support something that sure as hell acts like an automatic weapon. Just my opinion…your welcome to yours my brothers

  • Dr. Who December 8, 2017, 8:10 am

    I’ve been pro-Second Amendment all my life, now owning two AR’s and have a concealed handgun license. The only reason bump stocks are in the “limelight” is because of the Vegas shooting. But if that scares people, then they will be totally freaked out by the trigger mechanism that allows two rounds to be fired with a single trigger pull, which is more like automatic fire.

  • rwb December 8, 2017, 7:40 am

    i dont own a bump stock but im not against them. it was deemed ok by atf let it go.too many doo gooders are doing us trouble.my fear atf backs down on this issue what next will they back down on? and if they are outlawed we just give them to atf no charge? we paid good money for them

  • Tj December 8, 2017, 5:58 am

    I used to own a slide fire solutions stock on one of my AR’s. It was fun for about the first 200 rounds and then I removed it and put it back into my gun safe. All I could see was dollar signs going out the ejection port of the rifle. I have fired legally owned full auto rifles and again dollar signs gone.
    Its a personal preference if you want one or not. I do think the NRA sold out regardless of the excuses they make. I know bump stocks will be made illegal but that’s not the issue with me. The issue is the NRA has always stood for the gun owners rights no matter how feeble they where. They should have stood up and said that hey are against any attempt to reverse the decision to make then illegal.
    I think it’s time for new leadership in the NRA, but this is strictly my opinion. they need to keep doing what’s right for gun ownership and stick to that and not get caught up in the trivial stuff like accessories for fire arms.
    Again good or bad its just my opinion.
    Tj

  • Dumb leading the deaf December 8, 2017, 4:10 am

    You know, I don’t like it either. And if they decide to do that, since they likely won’t grandfather it, I think Hillary’s campaign fund should pay full price for every single one they are restricting. I’d say that the NRA should give me the money instead, but since they’d just be returning the money I gave them for which they used to do absolutely nothing other than hiring more people to continually call me for more money, I’d feel that I was paying for the item twice. And I say Hillary’s campaign fund instead of the Government, because it is part of her lobby to ban all of this, and thus her specific represented class of sheeple. If the Government pays for it, then I’m paying for it and thus I’m paying for the item twice.

  • Mark December 7, 2017, 10:12 pm

    The NRA wants the “ATF to do it’s job.” I don’t! I want the ATF to be abolished, along with the NFA which is totally unconstitutional. What happened to the HPA which has been sitting on the shelf for years now. It should’ve been pushed through by now. Instead the NRA gets into an argument with itself about bump stocks, which was already settled during the Obama administration. LaPierre needs to go.

    • Matt December 8, 2017, 10:38 am

      Amen brother. We don’t need agencies or laws to tell us what was very clearly written in the constitution hundreds of years ago.

  • Blue Dog December 7, 2017, 4:26 pm

    Good! I hope they rule bump stocks to be subject to stricter regulation. The only purpose of a bump stock is to defy the spirit of the National Firearms Act and to counterfeit fully automatic fire.

    • Mark December 7, 2017, 10:02 pm

      F U Blue Dog!

    • kyle December 8, 2017, 5:14 am

      We all know you want everything banned, Blue Dog. Nobody cares what you have to say. You are just a liberal trolling this website as always.

      • Blue Dog December 8, 2017, 4:35 pm

        I don’t want to ban everything. I do have a list of things that I would like to see banned or more heavily regulated, including bump stocks, but most categories of firearms I want left mostly alone (except for a few common sense changes, like universal background checks and magazine capacity limits). AR-15s, AK-47s, most of the so-called modern sporting rifles and tupperware are just tacky and many less-informed critics of current firearm policy call for their regulation on aesthetics alone. While I do agree with them on many points, I do not come from the place of ignorance that many of my compatriots do. Maybe that makes me a fudd? I am not really clear on what that means.

        Are liberals not welcome in these comment sections? I am left of centre politically and I represent a dying breed, a moderate Democrat. However, the majority of voting Americans vote to the left. How many times in the last quarter century have the Republicans managed to win the popular vote for President? Once in 2004, as memory serves. Even then, he was a Republican but how much of a conservative was he?

        • Boss December 8, 2017, 5:13 pm

          Second Amendment-Bearing Arms.
          A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
          For the Militia to be well regulated, it would follow The AR15 IS the 2A rifle as the populace should be familiar with and able to use the militaries current issued rifle. It would help to know and use the enemies rifle also.
          You, Blow Dog, in your arrogance and ignorance would deny citizens the privilege of defending their country.
          You would prefer to hide in your basement, like the whole of the population in Boston when the Tsaenaev bros went nuts.
          Best advise, find a big rock and crawl under it.

        • Mike V December 9, 2017, 2:59 am

          But you do come from the place of ignorance that your “compatriots” do.
          All of your posts display a fundamental lack of understanding as to the purpose of the second amendment.

          Stop describing your arguments as “common sense.”
          If it were so, you wouldn’t need to say it.
          You’re not a “fudd”, that’s far to innocuous a description for someone who bends over backwards to advocate for the practical elimination of our second amendment.

        • Daniel December 14, 2017, 12:36 am

          A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, SHALL NOT be infringed.

          As a retired Police Officer, let me call to your attention that this doesn’t say, “MAY NOT” be infringed.

          There is a huge difference here, legally, as SHALL is a mandatory term, whereas MAY is permissive.

          This means that all of these types of bans are unconstitutional as they are infringing upon our right to keep and bear arms.

          Also, note that this is a RIGHT and not a privilege.

          A lot of veterans will state emphatically that the Las Vegas mass shooting involved belt fed automatic rifles, NOT bump stocks. This is a big hoax being exploited by the largely George Soros owned media establishments to once again attack our gun rights.

    • Jeff December 8, 2017, 5:34 am

      Easily one of the dumbest statements I’ve read all week…

    • Dick December 8, 2017, 5:44 am

      Shut the hell up!

    • Red Bull December 8, 2017, 6:10 am

      So are your thumbs and pant loops, should they tax and regulate them too?

      • Doc December 8, 2017, 9:15 am

        So true but people are so stupid. They don’t know you can hold your finger and thumb in your belt loop and get the same effect as a bumpstock.If the Vegas shooter would of done this technic would they be after semi auto ar15 rifles now.The NRA is a joke throwing bump stocks under the bus.

    • Patrick December 8, 2017, 6:40 am

      Again with this blue liberal troll. Seriously get another hobby.

    • Mike V December 8, 2017, 6:51 am

      Sad.
      Shouldn’t a proud patriot want to defy an unconstitutional law?

    • Matt December 8, 2017, 10:39 am

      The spirt of the NFA??? That is an unconditional law to begin with and it is way past time for it to go. The nfa needs to be repealed period.

    • pete December 8, 2017, 1:05 pm

      You’re right of course, but this site is not the place for reason or responsible adultness.

      • cavecreekgoat December 8, 2017, 11:19 pm

        HAHAHA – So true

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