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 “In an unpublished decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit upheld ATF's decision.”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.

  • 7 thoughts on “Congressional Analysis Cites ‘Coiled Spring’ Precedent for ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks

    1. 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.

    2. 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 exposing the records of Obama regimes dirty work. Work the NRA should already be doing. Maybe they are. But I don’t see it. Until we can get ahead of the rats gnawing away the 2nd Amendment and until congress and the courts follow the law as written without liberal interpretation our freedoms, all of them are at risk. The current investigation into the Obama regimes weaponization of the FBI and other agencies to frame Donald Trump has revealed acts that were the stuff of Hollywood. But it happened. Now we know Democrats will not let the law to get in their way in their drive for power and control. Including gun control.

    3. 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 shot and each and every shot required a separate function of the trigger in order to fire. Exactly as the NFA requires of a semi auto. The ATF first used that….”continues to fire until the finger is removed” lie to the circuit court judge and the three judge 11th court of appeals judges, in order to try and make the non mechanical, Clinton appointee judges on both courts think that the finger never was removed from the trigger when firing my Accelerator bumpstocks. It was a lie then and continues to be a lie and is a lie in the text where it was cited again by ATF and used recently in their preamble to telling folks how to submit comments up until Jan 25, 2018. Both courts were mechanically confused and bought the ATF lie in spite of my attorney’s defense that what the ATF was saying was not true. Both courts also bought the ATF lie that the ATF had a duty to ensure public “safety” even though the ATF has no authority to do anything other than to enforce Congressional law. Both courts never even gave me my day in court and found against me on summary judgement with just papers going back and forth between my attorney, the ATF and the courts. I never saw the inside of a courtroom. Both courts also allowed the ATF to violate my rights under the Administrative Procedures Act. Such act that REQUIRES UNDER FEDERAL LAW that any federal agency that is contemplating a rule making or change in rule making MUST first give the public and any affected parties time to submit their opinions to that agency before such a rule making can be done. Both courts in my two cases just gave the ATF a pass on that without any accountability nor punishment whatsoever. The decision of both courts in my case was a travesty of justice.

      1. 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.

        1. 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 short time later NRA had to gall to call me and ask me to renew my already 30 year membership. I gave them a piece of my mind and did not renew and joined the G.O.A. instead. Where were YOU and where was YOUR voice and help when this was done to me initially in 2005 by the ATF and where were YOU when I needed help in suing them a few years later? I’m sure that like the NRA and most others, you were “too busy to pen a letter”. But now that the ATF is doing another illegal and unconstitutional and violation of the NFA power grab, that could possibly extend to magazines, other accessories and even to semi autos themselves, suddenly when it affects YOU,….you get all antsy and upset and misdirect your anger towards the ATF via sarcasm towards me. The only organization to lend me any help was the Gun Owners Of America (G.O.A.) who filled an amicus brief in my behalf to the court. And by the way, I sent in my comment to the Congressional record during the comment period. So your sarcasm towards me is misplaced.

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