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The bump stock thing.

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LawBeefaroni
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The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue May 07, 2019 4:15 pm

Let me preface this by saying the following: I think bump stocks are stupid. They have no legitimate purpose. I think they are to the second amendment like hate speech is to the first. And yes, I was fine with laws being created to limit their use (make them an NFA item) or even outlaw them.

But here's the thing. They were legal. The ATF conveyed this fact. Law backed it up.

Then Vegas happened. Pressure was put on authorities to ban bump stocks. Congresspeople did their dances. Trump demanded that they be banned and the NRA seemed to be OK with that. However, nothing actually happened in the legislature. The executive simply told the ATF to make them illegal and they changed their interpretation of the NFA definition of "machinegun".

The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify that bump-stock-type devices—meaning “bump fire” stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics—are “machineguns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

And with the clicking of a few keys, and some tenuous wordplay, they were made illegal. They are pieces of plastic with none of the parts of a machine guns as defined in the NFA. Yet they are now "machine guns". Not just when attached to a semi-automatic rifle. Not just when being used to bump fire. But just sitting there in their package on the shelf.

Machine gun:

Enlarge Image

This is interesting. If Obama had done this, the right would be losing it's shit. If this was a different product, say IUDs and Trump told the FDA to classify the devices as prohibited narcotics, the left would be losing their shit.

But because it's the shitty bump stock no one cares. For me it's a frightening precedent (and president). An enforcement agency can stretch the bounds of all logic and proclaim anything to be anything else in order to make it illegal.


Personally I think it was a trial balloon and we can expect more use of this tactic. At least until even the facade of following laws goes out the window.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue May 07, 2019 4:51 pm

NPR
Gun rights activists have filed several lawsuits, accusing the government of bowing to political pressure when the ATF reversed its earlier findings that bump stocks were legal.

Tim Harmsen is a bump stock owner and one of the plaintiffs in a suit filed by Gun Owners of America.
...
Harmsen is a firearms expert with a social media following and YouTube channel. He says he's not about to encourage anyone to break the law, but he predicts some people will, as they did with earlier bans on extended ammunition magazines.
...
The lawsuits also object to the fact that the new rule effectively deprives people of their property — bump stocks cost anywhere from about $180 to $500 — without compensation.

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue May 07, 2019 4:58 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 4:51 pm
NPR
Gun rights activists have filed several lawsuits, accusing the government of bowing to political pressure when the ATF reversed its earlier findings that bump stocks were legal.

Tim Harmsen is a bump stock owner and one of the plaintiffs in a suit filed by Gun Owners of America.
...
Harmsen is a firearms expert with a social media following and YouTube channel. He says he's not about to encourage anyone to break the law, but he predicts some people will, as they did with earlier bans on extended ammunition magazines.
...
The lawsuits also object to the fact that the new rule effectively deprives people of their property — bump stocks cost anywhere from about $180 to $500 — without compensation.
None of those lawsuits were successful and anyone with a bump stock now is a felon.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue May 07, 2019 5:05 pm

They weren't enjoined, but they weren't dismissed, either.

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue May 07, 2019 8:13 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 5:05 pm
They weren't enjoined, but they weren't dismissed, either.
IANAFL but since the date for compliance has passed isn't the difference moot?
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Isgrimnur » Tue May 07, 2019 8:43 pm

At the moment, yes. Eventually, who knows?

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Holman » Tue May 07, 2019 9:40 pm

IANAL, but would it be much different if the bump stocks were given the status of "machine-gun enablers" and then treated the same as machine-guns? Obviously they have no other purpose than to make semi-auto rifles full-auto.

If I invented a NervGasoTron that converted household kitchen chemicals into nerve gas, would it be wrong to treat my NervGasoTron as a WMD even though it was not capable of killing anyone until the ingredients were added?
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Tue May 07, 2019 9:56 pm

Holman wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:40 pm
IANAL, but would it be much different if the bump stocks were given the status of "machine-gun enablers" and then treated the same as machine-guns? Obviously they have no other purpose than to make semi-auto rifles full-auto.

If I invented a NervGasoTron that converted household kitchen chemicals into nerve gas, would it be wrong to treat my NervGasoTron as a WMD even though it was not capable of killing anyone until the ingredients were added?
A bucket is all you need to make chloramine gas out of 2 of the most common household chemicals. It would be like if they declared buckets to be WMDs. All a bump stock does is recreate what people have been doing with their belt loops
(nsfw language) for years. It doesn't not alter the inner workings of the gun at all. Auto sears do that and they are also considered machine guns. But they are replacement parts that turn a semi-automatic rifle into a full auto rifle by actually making it a full auto rifle.


The specifics aren't that important though. It's the fact that the President wanted this and Congress couldn't do it so he just told the DOJ to tell an agency to change their definitions and voila, the force of law.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by em2nought » Wed May 08, 2019 4:08 am

Bump stocks have nothing to do with good marksmanship so I don't care much about them. Now, ban the peep sight and I'd be upset. Make me use a thumbhole stock and it bothers me because you just made my weapon the ugly step sister instead of the belle of the ball. lol

Never knew you could do that with a belt loop. So what happens if you do it now?

Pistol braces will probably go next.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by msteelers » Wed May 08, 2019 8:07 am

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:56 pm
A bucket is all you need to make chloramine gas out of 2 of the most common household chemicals. It would be like if they declared buckets to be WMDs.
Come on man. A bucket has several other uses besides making chloramine gas. A bump stock serves no other purpose other than letting a semi-automatic weapon simulate a fully-auto weapon.

I believe Congress needs to act and ban bump stocks, but the idea that the President did this as a trial balloon is approaching eye roll levels of hyperbole. He's impulsive and desperately seeks praise, so odds are he did this because he wanted some good headlines. The more nefarious explanation is he did this so that Congress wouldn't have to vote against the NRA.

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed May 08, 2019 8:57 am

msteelers wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:07 am
LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:56 pm
A bucket is all you need to make chloramine gas out of 2 of the most common household chemicals. It would be like if they declared buckets to be WMDs.
Come on man. A bucket has several other uses besides making chloramine gas. A bump stock serves no other purpose other than letting a semi-automatic weapon simulate a fully-auto weapon.

I believe Congress needs to act and ban bump stocks, but the idea that the President did this as a trial balloon is approaching eye roll levels of hyperbole. He's impulsive and desperately seeks praise, so odds are he did this because he wanted some good headlines. The more nefarious explanation is he did this so that Congress wouldn't have to vote against the NRA.
This NRA?
The NRA wrote:Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by msteelers » Wed May 08, 2019 9:12 am

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:57 am
msteelers wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 8:07 am
LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 9:56 pm
A bucket is all you need to make chloramine gas out of 2 of the most common household chemicals. It would be like if they declared buckets to be WMDs.
Come on man. A bucket has several other uses besides making chloramine gas. A bump stock serves no other purpose other than letting a semi-automatic weapon simulate a fully-auto weapon.

I believe Congress needs to act and ban bump stocks, but the idea that the President did this as a trial balloon is approaching eye roll levels of hyperbole. He's impulsive and desperately seeks praise, so odds are he did this because he wanted some good headlines. The more nefarious explanation is he did this so that Congress wouldn't have to vote against the NRA.
This NRA?
The NRA wrote:Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.
There's a reason the NRA asked the BATFE to address this, and not Congress.

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed May 08, 2019 10:21 am

So why isn't this end-around more of an issue? It doesn't address anything since there was no legislation, it just lets Trump flex his overreaching executive powers.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Remus West » Wed May 08, 2019 10:31 am

I have to side with LBeef here. I like the outcome but the means opens way too many more abuses to feel good about it. Congress needs to get off their asses and pass the legislation required rather than treating our laws as though they can mean anything our idiot in chief wants them to mean regardless of whether this alteration is a net positive or not. Its the next one and the one after that that are concerning. What will he do if allowed to set a precedent in this manner?
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by msteelers » Wed May 08, 2019 11:19 am

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Wed May 08, 2019 10:21 am
So why isn't this end-around more of an issue? It doesn't address anything since there was no legislation, it just lets Trump flex his overreaching executive powers.
The government updated the definition of a machine gun to include bump stocks, making it so that bump stocks fall under existing bans. You can sarcastically point out that
LawBeefaroni wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 4:15 pm
Machine gun:

Enlarge Image
But at the end of the day, of course bump stocks should be considered machine guns! They serve a single purpose of taking a legal semi-automatic weapon and converting it into an illegal fully-auto weapon. There are no other uses for them. If I have a law that says Item A is illegal, and you have a product that's sole purpose is to turn Item B into Item A, then obviously that product should be considered illegal!

Congress still needs to act because, as we've seen, when something is done on the order of the President it can be undone by the order of the next President. Congress passing a law would make the ban much harder to reverse down the line.

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Blackhawk » Wed May 08, 2019 12:17 pm

If I'm reading things correctly, the definition of machine gun has always included parts used to make machine guns.
The National Firearms Act, 26 U.S.C. 5845(b), defines “machinegun” to include any combination of parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon to shoot automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger
Other parts that aren't guns are also considered machine guns under the NFA - like the drop in auto sear.

Machine gun, since the dawn of the NFA:

Image

I believe that the gun lobby had avoided it by trying to work around the language. A bump stock doesn't change the number of rounds fired by a single function of the trigger. It just pulls the trigger for you, one shot at a time. It's close enough that it's open to interpretation as to whether the law applies to it or not. If all they've done is review their decision on that, I'm not sure it's an issue.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Jeff V » Wed May 08, 2019 3:59 pm

A gun-nut friend of my brothers once mail-ordered a kit to convert a semi into a full. He declined the delivery when he noticed a suspicious car nearby - he presumed they were ATF agents waiting for him to take delivery.

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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by LawBeefaroni » Wed May 08, 2019 4:36 pm

An auto sear is a machine gun like a lower receiver is a firearm. It is the primary part that makes a machinegun/firearm a machinegun/firearm. Sure, it's not complete but it is the primary, unavoidable component.

But ok, if a bump stock is a machine gun, then someone with a FFL SOT license can own them, right? Just like a full auto machine gun or a drop in auto sear? Like everything else that is a "machinegun"? Not so, according to the ATF. No one can possess them at all. Dealers, even FFL SOTs, had to turn them in or destroy them.

It's this constant inconsistency that is bothersome. They just wanted them gone and they made them go away. I mean good riddance but I do not like the means to the end.
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Re: The bump stock thing.

Post by Blackhawk » Wed May 08, 2019 4:54 pm

I didn't say it wasn't bothersome or consistent, just that it appears to be a reinterpretation of a ruling that was judged on a technicality rather than a full re-jiggering (that's a lawyer word) of the law. I also know that there is some issue with date of manufacture and possession/transfer of them, as some other registerable/transferable components were grandfathered, but long before bump stocks were a thing. I haven't been involved in the gun industry since the early 90s, so I don't really remember how it all works.
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