One Slippery Slope Replaced by Another
The ATF recently unveiled proposed regulations for a “bump stock ban.” And, sadly, all gun owners should be very concerned.
You may remember that ATF had initially discussed regulating any accessory which accelerated the “firing rate” of a semi-auto.
Pursuing such an approach would have produced language similar to the Feinstein bump stock ban in the Senate.
Besides bump stocks, several items could have been deemed to help gun owners increase the rate of fire on their semi-autos: match triggers, polished bolts, high-capacity magazines, and even tripods.
Gun Owners of America wrote several alerts encouraging people to submit comments to the ATF in opposition to a bump stock ban.
Thousands of people responded. According to media reports, 85 percent of the comments were against the ban, with about 20% of them being directly inspired by GOA’s alerts.
So thanks to the massive pressure from you, the original anti-gun language that would have endangered rate-increasing devices was jettisoned.
But now we’re facing a new danger.
Under orders from Trump to “do something” on bump stocks, the ATF has stumbled into a different peril — a new “bump stock ban” that is just as bad … and one which now endangers AR-15s and other semi-automatic rifles.
From a “single function” of the trigger to merely a “single pull”
Trump’s proposed regulations would declare a bump stock to be a “machinegun” because it allows the gun to fire more than one shot “by a single pull of the trigger” — that is, by a single volitional function of the finger.
But hold on a second. Federal law, at 26 U.S.C. 5845(b), defines a part as a “machinegun” only if it is designed solely and exclusively to allow the gun to “fire more than one shot … by a single function of the trigger.”
To state the obvious, a finger is not the same thing as a trigger. And, while a bump stock is in operation, the trigger functions separately each and every time a round is discharged.
So these regulations are proposing a radical change — as they effectively define a gun as a machinegun even if the trigger resets for every round that is fired, so long as the finger only pulls the trigger once.
While bump stock devices will now be treated as machineguns under these regulations, they also raise serious questions in regard to your AR-15s or other semi-automatic rifles — as they are now on the brink of being designated as machineguns by the next anti-gun administration.
Will a “Single Pull” of the Trigger Turn Your AR-15 into a Machinegun?
Look at what the ATF regulations says on p. 13457 of the Federal Register from March 29:
A “machinegun,” “machine pistol,” “submachinegun,” or “automatic rifle” is a weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger…. 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. (Emphasis added.)
So here is the predicament for gun owners. Will a future anti-gun Democrat administration use this regulation to ban AR-15s, AK-47s and other semi-automatic rifles?
In the past, one had to fundamentally change the firing mechanism of a semi-automatic firearm to convert it into a fully automatic firearm.
But now according to these regulations, a bump stock is a machinegun — and it can “readily restore” a semi-auto into a machinegun, simply because the gun owner can effectively fire the weapon continuously with a “single pull” of the trigger. According to the ATF, this satisfies the legal definition of a rifle that is classified as a machinegun (26 USC 5845(b)).
It won’t matter that a gun which is being bump fired has not been fundamentally altered.
I don’t believe Donald Trump wants to ban every semi-automatic rifle in America. But under an anti-gun Democrat administration, they could be on the brink of extinction once these regs go into force.
Rubber Bands and Belt Loops could become the next Machineguns
Undoubtedly, AR-15 owners have rubber bands lying around the house or belt loops on their pants.
So don’t be surprised if a virulently anti-gun administration makes the argument that your AR-15 is actually a machinegun because it can be readily bump-fired using common items such as rubber bands or belt loops (or nothing but your finger)!
And they will be able to make that argument because of what Trump’s regulations say about bump stock devices:
These devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun [because it] is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger.
That’s scary. All you would need is an AR-15, in conjunction with common household items, and that would put you in possession of a gun that can “produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger.”
So please contact the ATF. Tell them their proposed rule is fatally flawed, and will lead to a ban on semi-automatics, in addition to the existing ban on bump stocks.