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.