Bump stock ban opens the door for literally anything to be declared to be a ‘machine gun’

bump stock

I have been reading the gunnie news over the last couple of days and what I am seeing is our side losing the forest for the trees. As wrong as I think the rational of the ATF is about bumps stocks being machine guns because of how they do or do not operate, the greater danger here is how they (and also Trump) believe that they have the power to determine what a machine gun is.

Here is the greatest danger in all of this… they rewrote the legal definition of ‘machine gun’ which was put into place by congress.

The following language is added to the end of the current definition of a machine gun.

* * * For purposes of this definition, the term “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as the result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger; and “single function of the trigger” means a single pull of the trigger and analogous motions. The term “machine gun” includes a bump-stock-type device, i.e., a device that allows a semi-automatic firearm 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.

They most certainly do not have the power to do this. This is the ATF making law. Not writing a regulation or deciding how to enforce a law through regulatory power. This is making law. This is such an incredibly dangerous precedent and if this is allowed to stand then a hostile administration can use this same power to literally declare almost anything a ‘machine gun’.

When the standard is, ‘its a machine gun if we say its a machine gun’ then what is stopping them from again changing the language for the definition of a ‘machine gun’? What is stopping them from declaring all semi-automatic firearms to be machine guns? What is stopping them from declaring any gun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine to be a machine gun? What is stopping them from declaring anything that can be fired more rapidly than a muzzle loader to be a machine gun?

This is a pivotal crossroads for the right to keep and bear modern firearms.

  1. And the problem is one does not even need a bump stock to fire a semi auto rifle as fast as it capable of firing, bump stock or not. Search YouTube for
    “bump fire without a bump stock”. Even the venerable M1 Garand can be bump fired. From 12 YEARS AGO!
    www dot youtube dot com/watch?v=TBQrtzSdVDo
    Since I do not know if links are allowed I neutered it. You know what to do to the link to make it work.

  2. Here is where their definition collapses.
    “continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.”
    SORRY. My finger continues to manipulate the trigger, albeit with physical assistance.
    Their definition implies the gun continues to fire if I remove my finger from the bump stock.
    Not even a REAL machine gun can do that.
    Sorry about ranting, but as Peter Griffin once said “This really grinds my gears”.

  3. The bump-stock ban is a side-track. Still wrong, but it ignores the fact that the bump-stock came about to legally comply with other bans, while still providing something that shouldn’t have been banned in the first place.

    The Second Amendment requires PARITY of arms with our government. How else could the Founders / Framers expect the average bona fide citizen to be able to chuck their government and install new guards for their security, as prescribed no less than 2 x in the flesh-language of the Second Paragraph of the Declaration of Independence. No logic can be found to claim that someone should have to ask the government that needed replacing for the means, or the permission to obtain the means, to do so. Parity of arms with our government is therefore required by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution, and it’s not our fault what that parity entails.

  4. OK, this will be challenged and we will get a ruling – only then can we tell how far the precedent will go. That said, I respectfully disagree with the premise of the post. Let me address some of the concerns.

    “Any semi-auto can be bump fired, so this allows any semi-auto to be classified as a machine gun!”

    Nope. The law and the ruling address devices. A bump stock effectively allows you to pull the trigger once and hold it, resulting in the firearm pulling its own trigger. Semi-auto firearms are well defined in law, and the fact that they can be fired rapidly without the use of a device does not change the definition.

    “When the standard is, ‘Its a machine gun if we say its a machine gun’ then what is stopping them from again changing the language for the definition of a ‘machine gun’?”

    Answer: The language of federal law. This rule does not simply say, “A machine gun is whatever we say it is”. It makes an argument that bump stocks are similar to auto sears, in that they allow the user to pull and hold the trigger to fire multiple rounds. We shall see if the courts agree – but even if upheld, the scope will be limited to devices that emulate full auto fire.

    “What is stopping them from declaring all semi-automatic firearms to be machine guns?”

    Answer: The explicit definition of a semi-auto firearm in federal law. That trumps any ruling by ATF.

    “What is stopping them from declaring any gun that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine to be a machine gun?”

    Answer: The fact that the definition of a machine gun in federal law says nothing about magazines. Legally, a machine gun may have a fixed magazine.

    “What is stopping them from declaring anything that can be fired more rapidly than a muzzle loader to be a machine gun?”

    Answer: Really? Let’s get real – this ruling is quite literally, rooted in law. An argument can be made that bump stocks are a device that turn a semi-auto firearm into a full auto one. That argument may be found to be invalid by the courts, but even if upheld, it would only extend to devices that effectively convert semi-autos to full autos.

    We should challenge this ruling – but do not think that if we win, bump stocks will be legal for long. Congress will quickly pass, and Trump will sign, a law to the same effect, Unless the high court decides to change its ruling in Heller, bump stocks will be found to fall outside the scope of 2nd Amendment protection. Why? Simple, they fail the “common use” test. I’m not saying I agree with this – just that it is what will likely happen.

    So, why challenge the ruling? Simple, we might lose on the issue, or we might win – but either way, we are likely to get a ruling that extends 2A protection. For instance, SCOTUS might rule that bump stocks may be banned, but make it clear that all semi-auto long guns are protected. They could make the same statement even if the rule is found to be unconstitutional.

    In any case, this ruling is not as bad as many fear.

    1. Except that the term machine gun is clearly defined in the statute:

      For purposes of federal law, a “machinegun” is defined as: [A]ny weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manually reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

      The trigger is being repeatedly operated when a bump stock is used. The user is not holding the trigger. Is this a workaround? Yes. Is it a “loophole”? Yes it is.

      There is a way to fix this in a constitutional manner, but using the ATF to rewrite the statute is not it.

  5. Except that the term machine gun is clearly defined in the statute:

    For purposes of federal law, a “machinegun” is defined as: [A]ny weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manually reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

    The trigger is being repeatedly operated when a bump stock is used. The user is not holding the trigger. Is this a workaround? Yes. Is it a “loophole”? Yes it is.

    There is a way to fix this in a constitutional manner, but using the ATF to rewrite the statute is not it.

  6. It’ll stand, get use to it. Just as the magazine bans have stood.
    This is the reality, like it or not.
    So whatcha gonna do? Don’t answer I don’t wanna know. Answer to yourself, and keep it that way!

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