Did that title grab your attention? Good. Because this is not a joke.
Wednesday, June 27th at 11:59 p.m. EST is the deadline for the public comment period on bump stocks. It’s our chance to tell Big Brother where to stick this unconstitutional prohibition on reciprocating stocks!
As you may recall, the Trump administration at the behest of the National Rifle Association (NRA) has opted to put forward a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) via the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) that would outright ban the possession, sale, and transfer of all slide-fire devices aka bump stocks.
Citizens would be forced to surrender or destroy their lawfully owned property or risk violating federal law regulating the ownership of “machineguns.” Unlawful possession of a “machinegun,” which is what the NPRM claims a bump stock is despite two previous ATF determinations explicitly stating that a bump stock is NOT a “machinegun,” carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years behind bars.
You read that correctly. That ATF doing a complete 180 on this matter bucking an established precedent because president Trump ordered it to do so. Apparently, this regulatory agency can act as a legislative body when it’s politically convenient for POTUS.
As mentioned on the regulations.gov website, if the NPRM is implemented, “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.”
The only way to stop this insanity is to comment by the deadline. While the ATF is not required to incorporate public comments when drafting the final rule, it will at least listen to what gun owners have to say on the matter before it puts pen to paper. In the past, comments from the gun community have ostensibly helped to turn the tide on president Obama’s NPRM to ban green-tip ammo.
The ATF estimates that there are between 280,000 – 520,000 bump stock-type devices held by the public. Furthermore, the agency estimates that since 2011 the amount spent on these range toys was close to $96 million. It’s worth noting that owners of these devices will not receive compensation for turning them over or rendering them permanently inoperable.
Interestingly enough, the ATF also calculates the total cost of the rule in terms of dollars over the next 10 years. It includes the cost to destroy all bump stocks ($1.8 million), the loss of future production and sale of the devices ($20 million per year), and the value of the existing inventory ($96 million). Putting all that together, including potential 2018 sales, this rule will cost $297.2 million over the next decade. See chart below for the breakdown.
Goes without saying but that’s a lot of money to blow on eradicating a novelty that arguably makes a rifle harder to aim and shoot. Moreover, banning this accessory does not prevent one from “bump firing” a rifle, which is possible using all sorts of common household items from rubber bands to belt loops.
What it does accomplish, however, is it makes a bunch of anti-gunners feel as though they’ve accomplished something important when all they did was take a whole lot of time and attention away from real solutions to gun-related violence, mainly initiatives that harden schools, promote gun safety, target the mentally ill (particularly those with homicidal and suicidal ideations), and attack the small percentage of key offenders responsible for the vast majority of violence in any given city.