NRA Files Amicus Brief Urging SCOTUS to Reverse Trumpstock Fiasco 

President Trump, pleased to announce that “Bump stocks are gone.” (Photo: WhiteHouse.gov)

Trump was wrong on bump stocks.  He wasn’t “playing 3D chess,” as some of his most ardent supporters in the gun community alleged. Can we all admit that now?

Forget what you think about the utility of these “range toys.” Yes, they’re stupid to most of you. A plastic piece of junk, good for nothing but wasting ammo. I get it. But that’s not the point.

What Trump did by unilaterally banning reciprocating stocks was expand the power of federal bureaucracies. In doing so, he set a precedent that regulatory agencies can act as legislative bodies. Who needs Congress when pen pushers at the ATF have the power to write laws criminalizing commonly owned parts and accessories?

This is a big, big deal. I mean, if you don’t think it is, just look back at what Trump said in Feb. of 2018. And while you’re reading it, imagine if it was Obama or Biden.

“Bump stocks, we are writing that out. I am writing that out,” Trump said, from the White House. “I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself.”

“You do a rule, have to wait 90 days,” he said. “That’s sort of what’s happening with bump stocks. It’s gone, don’t worry about it. It’s gone, essentially gone, because we are going to make it so tough, you’re not going to be able to get them. Nobody’s going to want them anyway.”

Basically, Trump said screw the Constitution and the legislative process. He was going to decree it and it would be so. Sounds like ruling via executive fiat, don’t you think?

The result, as anyone could have predicted, is more popular gun stuff is on the ATF’s chopping block. As many of you know, the Biden administration took over where Trump left off, creating its own NPRMs (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) to go after 80 percent lowers, gun kits, and pistol-stabilizing braces.

The comment period for both of those NPRMs has now expired and it’s anyone’s guess as to what the agency will decide. While the ATF has to acknowledge the public’s input, they’re not bound by it when it comes time to render judgment.

Again, consider what happened with bump stocks. Between 2008 to 2017, the ATF had said bump stocks were not machine guns on ten separate occasions.  The matter had been settled.  Bump stocks were sensibly designated as firearm parts, not machine guns.  

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“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 a submission for classification authored by Slide Fire, a prominent maker of the devices. 

What changed in the Fall of 2017?  What suddenly made a “non-automated” accessory a machine gun?

A crazed lunatic shot up a country music festival in Las Vegas, NV on Oct. 1st, killing 60 people, wounding hundreds more.   Bump stocks were reportedly attached to several of the weapons in the hotel room, though what actually transpired that night remains unclear as a motive was never established and the FBI report on the incident was only 3 pages long.

Hard cases make bad laws. But feeling immense pressure to “do something” in the aftermath, (plus, you can’t let a good crisis go to waste!), Trump instructed the ATF to ban bump stocks.  Which it promptly did in the Fall of 2018, reclassifying them “machine guns” despite an outpouring from the 2A community. In total, 32,000 comments from the public were submitted to the ATF, 85 percent opposed the prohibition.

ATF clearly did not heed the concerns raised by the 2A community in those comments. Nor did it explain to any degree of satisfaction how a semiautomatic rifle equipped with a bump stock, that still only fires one round per trigger pull, functions as a machine gun that fires multiple rounds per trigger pull.

But again, Trump should have never been allowed to do this. EvenSen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who has never seen a gun ban she didn’t like, admitted this was a major overreach by the Trump administration.

“The ATF currently lacks authority under the law to ban bump stocks. The agency made this clear in a 2013 letter to Congress, writing that ‘stocks of this type are not subject to the provisions of federal firearms statutes.’ The ATF director said the same thing to police chiefs a few months ago, which they confirmed in an open Judiciary Committee hearing,” Feinstein said in Feb. 2018.  

It’s worth noting that Trump wasn’t the only one who wanted to go this route. Early on, NRA Exec. Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for the ATF to review bump stocks to see if they should be “subject to additional regulations.” Maybe it was hard to think clearly in the wake of America’s most deadly shooting or maybe going this route would keep Dems from voting on additional anti-gun legislation when it came time to vote on bump stocks.

Anyway, the NRA-ILA is currently doing the right thing by throwing its weight behind an amicus brief (see below) for a case known asAposhian v. Garland, that challenges the Trumpstock fiasco.

Along with accusing the ATF of moving the “goalposts” with respect to how the agency reinterpreted the definition of “machine-gun,” the brief points out that for two centuries SCOTUS has held that “the power to create crimes lies exclusively with Congress.”

Furthermore, when criminal liability is on the line, “ATF’s position is ‘not relevant at all.”’

Under current federal law, it is a felony to possess an unregistered machine gun. Violators can spend up to ten years behind bars and face fines of $250,000. Because of the Trumpstock fiasco, untold thousands of law-abiding citizens became felons virtually overnight.

Now we need the high court to set things straight. Hopefully, it listens to the NRA-ILA and takes upAposhian v. Garland. And, as for those of you who thought that Trump was one of us, just remember what George Carlin said, “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it. You and I are not in the big club.”

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Stan d. Upnow September 14, 2021, 9:38 am

    Giving the Progressive-Socialists an inch towards what they call “common-sense gun safety” measures is a vast mistake. They will lie(as usual) and claim “90%” of gun owners are in favor of (fill-in the blank).

    Remember what their ultimate goal is. Understand that they are relentless in pursuit of that goal, and have openly stated that they cannot get there in one fell swoop, but by slowly and gradually enacting anti-gun laws.
    Many of them point to Australia & UK as the model to be patterned after.

  • John September 13, 2021, 7:54 pm

    I let my NRA membership lapse in the 90’s after “Wayne the gun control Nut” stated that the “NRA believes in sensible gun control”…

    Olly’s coup should have won if there was any real “GUN” people on the NRA board..

    The current board are Gun control freaks.

  • David September 13, 2021, 6:35 pm

    None of this really matters because the government is actively trying to kill it’s citizens. Even “patriots” are taking the fake “vaccine” and sitting in their houses listening to the news not willing to do a damn thing about it. And everypnes been paying their dues for their fake 2nd amendment representation. I wonder why Congress, their colleagues, employees of the “vaccine” makers, judges etc., are all exempt from the edict? I thought this was for everyone?! I wonder why no one is talki g about hospital administrators caught on zoom fudging numbers, “marketing covid?” Very interesting.

  • DAVID INGRAM September 13, 2021, 4:07 pm

    If adding a bump stock can make any semi-auto rifle a machine gun then possession of any platform a bump stock can fit also becomes a violation. It never stops.

  • Nemo September 13, 2021, 10:46 am

    NRA has become like a union taken over by The Mob. It has enough public functions to appear viable, and it looks like it is championing its clients, but it’s irredeemably rotten to the core. it needs to go.

  • Kane September 13, 2021, 10:24 am

    (Early on, NRA Exec. Vice President Wayne LaPierre called for the ATF to review bump stocks to see if they should be “subject to additional regulations.”)

    To which the ATF punted back to Trump. Is concern over decades of case law on semi-auto and common use NOT a legal consideration? The oblivious legal argument the anti-2A crowd have made is that “bump stocks” might satisify the letter of existing laws but violate the spirit of those same laws. The anti 2A crowd would push for a change in the law on semi-auto. So if rate of fire of semi-auto and “bump sock” rate of fire are one and the same then would that underming arguments past cases?

    Did the NRA ever call for a ban on the “bump stocks”?

    If Trump is a bad 2A POTUS then who is a good in the last 50 years?

    What are the alternatives to the NRA and Trump? Gottlieb and SAF work together with the NRA.

    Can Larry Pratt fill the void if the NRA was NOT a player? Who has seen Pratt’s books and travel vouchers? How does Pratt afford to live the one of the most wealthy zip codes in the US?

  • Jason September 13, 2021, 8:24 am

    OMG Trump was such a bad guy! Good thing we have Biden now, then Harris when he’s sent to the old folks home in the near future. They’re really going to protect our rights unlike Trump! 🙄

  • Roger D September 13, 2021, 6:23 am

    ” it’s anyone’s guess as to what the agency will decide. ” Like we really don’t know?

  • Shanz September 12, 2021, 7:10 pm

    Fuck the NRA. They begged the ATF to take em now they file a worthless brief that will go nowhere. Yup definitely was a bad idea for Trump to cave on bumpstocks. Was a huge win for the bad guys.

  • Bones September 11, 2021, 7:06 am

    The nra is a scam, trump is a scam, your religion is a scam, your government is a scam, capitalism is a scam.. all a Bunch of lies and scams to control and manipulate you fools.. and its SO EASY 😂😂😂

    • Boss September 13, 2021, 9:34 am

      Lookup Shanz: follow directions execpt, burn your computer. Just like the books you would burn had you the chance.

    • Stan d. Upnow September 14, 2021, 9:47 am

      Well guy, according to you, everything is so snafu’d that the only solution would be to off yourself. I’ll look forward to reading your obituary.

  • Bones September 11, 2021, 6:56 am

    3-d chess??🤣😂🤣Idiot trump couldnt beat a 5 yr old in checkers hes so fu$&in dumb! LOSER AND A FAKE !

    • Shanz September 12, 2021, 7:14 pm

      Why don’t you and your boyfriend blue dog go wear masks together in your mommies basement. Commy troll.

      • Stan d. Upnow September 14, 2021, 9:54 am

        He was wearing his “Hillary 2016” T-shirt as he wrote that. Later, he’ll drive to his Antifa meeting in his car plastered with “Obama- change we can believe in” and “Biden/Harris” bumper stickers.

        His type needs to be deported along with all the Illegals. Round ’em up, boys!

  • Rollin L September 10, 2021, 1:10 pm

    Thanks to Mr. Blannelberry for his bluntness and truth-telling. There were a few of us, here, making this argument at the time. It should have been obvious to ALL gun owners that such a blatant power grab by ANY President and bureaucracy would prove a valuable precedent for the next Democrat administration. Some of us were shouting- and calling out the NRA for their duplicity- while other gun owners kept telling us that bump stocks don’t matter, and that any such attempts to use a “loophole” in the NFA were asking for trouble. Well, a “loophole” is merely a term misapplied to doing something the law allows for. Why anyone has a problem with that, I don’t know. But the Fudds in our community seemed to welcome this. Sadly, some of them will welcome the almost certain implementation of Biden’s new regulations. As for the NRA’s filing, my guess is that it is happening only because they figured out that they have lost dramatic levels of support from the firearms community. I’ll believe they are sincere when LaPierre apologizes for selling us out with Trump in 2018, as they most assuredly did.

    • Elapid King September 11, 2021, 8:24 am

      People are short sighted. While they cheer on “their side’s” power grab, they tend to remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that the new found power wielded by “their side” as a cudgel will ultimately be used against them when the “other side” inevitably ascends to power.

  • TJ September 10, 2021, 8:35 am

    Really? Under federal law machine guns need to be licensed? who wrote that? The owner of a class 3 pays a $200 dollar tax and receives a stamp showing the taxed has been payed. Are the guns supposed to apply for a license and take a time out in the corner if they are black?

  • Dav September 10, 2021, 3:38 am

    Are you seriously fucking kidding me? THEY ARE THE ONES THAT TOLD HIM TO DO IT!?!?!?!?! If you let Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre remain in their roles, you will never be anything other than a laughing stock. The NRA should just disband and leave room for people who actually give a damn other than what they can fleece people with.

    • Dr Motown September 10, 2021, 6:56 am

      Cox has been gone for over 2 years now….got on WLP’s bad side during the Ollie North incident

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