Congressional Analysis Cites ‘Coiled Spring’ Precedent for ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks

We pay for this. Why aren't we privy to the work product we're funding?

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- The public comment period is over for citizen input on proposed rulemaking on “‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices” by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. That means it’s too late to add findings from a Congressional Research Service assessment that was published last October, but deliberately withheld from public dissemination as a matter of standard practice.

I was just made privy to that paper, posted online by the Federation of American Scientists. That’s a group I’ve reported on before both for AmmoLand on and the War on Guns blog (and elsewhere), for issues ranging from ATF funding, to so-called “assault weapon” bans and more. Founded by former Manhattan Project scientists, the group takes it on itself to posts such reports because the CRS, essentially a Library of Congress issues “think tank” for federal legislators—does not generally make its reports available to the public, despite our tax dollars funding them. Attempts have been made in the past to change that through legislation, but “our” representatives have never been sufficiently motivated to share such information influencing their decision-making with their constituents.

That’s wrong, because we deserve to know why they come to some of the conclusions they do, and in this case, the paper highlighted a distinction more gun owners should have known about if for no other reason than to be able to argue precedent in the comments they submitted.

“On December 13, 2006 … ATF … reclassified bump-fire systems like the Akins Accelerator as a machinegun, because it was equipped with a ‘coiled spring’ and initiated automatic fire with a single trigger pull,” the report states. “In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld ATF's decision.”

Conversely, “Other manufacturers submitted modified ‘bump-fire’ or ‘slide-fire’ stocks that did not include a ‘coiled spring’ or similar mechanisms to the ATF for classification,” the report notes. “From the ATF rulings discussed above, it appears that bump-fire stocks with ‘coiled springs’ and that initiate automatic fire with a single trigger pull are regulated as firearms under the NFA; however, modified stocks without any ‘automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs’ are not similarly regulated.”

No matter your thoughts on Akins, that’s what the report advising Congress says. And because such reports are withheld from “just us citizens,” it was not available for gun owners to cite in their comments. No doubt industry insiders and a handful of technically-oriented gun owners are well-versed in such rulings and history, but the fact remains that such information was relevant to the comments being solicited but its dissemination was restricted.

For the record, I’ve long maintained Akins got screwed over big time, I see no Constitutional basis for ATF to even exist, and I subscribe to Tench Coxe’s contention that “Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American.”

That said, a means of influencing outcomes is denied when information that should be available to all is not. We shouldn’t need to find out from third parties when it’s too late to make a difference. But unless a national organization takes point on urging members to contact their representatives to change that, expect the status quo to continue undisturbed.

UPDATE: Bill Akins elaborates in “Comments,” below.


About David Codrea:David Codrea

David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating / defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament.

In addition to being a field editor/columnist at GUNS Magazine and associate editor for Oath Keepers, he blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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    Bill AkinsSweetOlBobTrueBornSonofLibertyJaque BauerJanek Recent comment authors
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    SweetOlBob
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    SweetOlBob

    Sounds like Bill Atkins was another victim of the “winks and nudges” the criminal ATF uses to influence federal, know-nothing Judges.
    “We’re all on the same team, aren’t we Judge ?” Wink-wink … Nudge-nudge.

    Bill Akins
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    Bill Akins

    That’s an accurate assessment of the Clinton appointee judges SweetOlBob.

    Jaque Bauer
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    Jaque Bauer

    A great find. And thanks. The NRA calls me 5 times a week asking for money. No more money from me. The GOA is now on my list. As a life member I was apalled at their response to the bump fire stocks purported use in a mass murder. It was cowardly. It was stupid. And it was a mistake they will regret for a long time. Did the NRA know about this report. I bet they did. If so it makes their position even weaker. Perhaps We need a force like Judicial Watch. JW has done yeomans work in… Read more »

    Bill Akins
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    Bill Akins

    Dear David. This is Bill Akins the inventor/patentee of the first bumpfire stocks known as “The Akins Accelerator”. In both their 2006-02 ruling and again in their recent text on their public comments section, ATF has and continues to lie about how my accelerator stocks operated. In the ATF 2006-02 ruling, they said: “Once the trigger is pulled, it initiates a sequence of automatic fire that continues until the ammunition feeding device is empty, or the finger is removed”. Until the finger is removed from what? In my stock the finger was removed from the trigger for each and every… Read more »

    TrueBornSonofLiberty
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    TrueBornSonofLiberty

    Kudos for speaking up after the deadline. I’m sure you were too busy to pen a similar letter, outlining your unique experiences, to other online blogs, so this information could’ve been widely disseminated during the commenting period. Smh.

    Bill Akins
    Guest
    Bill Akins

    Well TrueBornSonofLiberty,….if you checked you’ll see that I did. When the ATF did that to me back during Christmas of 2005, I wrote on many blogs and firearm associated sites telling how the ATF was destroying our company and our product illegally, unconstitutionally and in contradiction to the wording of the NFA. I also wrote about it again after I sued the ATF twice and liberal Clinton appointee judges just rubberstamped everything illegal the ATF did. I even contacted the NRA multiple times and spoke with their Institute for Legislative Action begging them for help….but they ignored me. And a… Read more »

    Janek
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    Janek

    And ‘gun-ban politicians’ are like ‘coiled springs’ that propel more useless gun regulations in our direction!