Late last week, (Friday, March 23, 2018) Attorney General Sessions announced that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has initiated the process to classify bump-stocks as machineguns. The announcement is available on DOJ’s website. If adopted, the rules will amend the ATF’s regulations to “clarify” the terms “single function of the trigger,” “automatically,” and “machinegun” as follows:
- Single Function of the Trigger – Single pull of the trigger
- Automatically – The result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single pull of the trigger
- Machinegun – A device that allows semi-automatic firearms to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter (commonly known as bump-stock-type devices).
These new rules, if adopted, will supersede all prior determinations such that any device that meets these new definitions will qualify as a machinegun. Moreover, if adopted as proposed, those individuals currently owning bump-stock devices will be forced to turn them in or destroy the devices in their possession. Again, it is important to understand that this is only proposed right now, but if you fail to speak up and let your voices be heard these rules will likely go into effect.
ATF is requesting comments from the public with regard to the following five topics:
- The scope of the proposed rule, and the definition of “machinegun”
- The costs and benefits of the proposed rule, and the appropriate methodology and data for calculating those costs
- The reasonableness of the assumption that retailers of bump-stock-type devices are likely to be businesses with an online presence
- How ATF should address bump-stock-type devices that private parties currently possess
- The appropriate means of implementing a final rule
It’s up to you. Regardless whether you own—or care to own—a bump-stock, this is another assault on the Second Amendment rights of gun owners. A solution in search of a problem. After all, how many documented instances of a bump-stock be used to commit a crime are there? Where will it stop? After the gun control advocates get a win, do you think they will stop at bump-stocks or triggers?
Your voice matters, but only if you make it heard. The next step will be to watch for the official notice to be published in the Federal Register. That will kick off the 90-day comment period. You can also become a force multiplier by sharing this story and encouraging others to make their voices heard as well.
What is your opinion of the ATF’s new proposed regulations? What comment will you leave on the Federal Register? Share your answers in the comment section.