USA – -(Ammoland.com)- The deadline for the public to submit comments on proposed rulemaking by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is this Thursday night, the Federal Register advises. At issue is a revised “interpret[ation of] the statutory definition of ‘machinegun’ in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify whether certain devices, commonly known as ‘bump fire’ stocks, fall within that definition.
“Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before January 25, 2018,” the notice explains. “Commenters should be aware that the electronic Federal Docket Management System will not accept comments after Midnight Eastern Standard Time on the last day of the comment period.”
Unless gun owners have been asleep – and for many, that’s a distinct possibility – the rulemaking should come as no surprise.
We also know – or have at least been told – that after the Las Vegas murders, bump stocks were reportedly found at the crime scene. We know that, true to form, opportunistic blood-dancing gun grabbers seized upon an opportunity for another incremental “slippery slope” advancement using the ever-reliable (and ever-meaningless) “something must be done” mantra. And we don’t really know much else, because “investigators” have been tight-lipped, at least when they haven’t been seemingly contradicting themselves.
We know that the National Rifle Association has called for such a rule. We also know “bipartisan” legislative efforts are ongoing both in Congress and at the state level to ban such devices. And we know ATF initially (and properly, many believe) acknowledged it lacked such authority.
Someone overruled that line of thinking and the administrative approach is back on track. And unsurprisingly, at least to those of us who have seen infringements advance and good efforts fail through apathy many times over the years, the collective response from gun owner rights advocates has been less than impressive.
At this writing, fewer than 8,000 comments have been submitted and time's almost up. Considering that roughly “Three-in-ten American adults say they currently own a gun,” that’s a pathetic level of involvement. Of course, the same can be said for the number of American gun owners who are members of national and state “gun rights” organizations, or who contact their representatives on gun-related issues, attend public events in support of the right to keep and bear arms, or, as we saw recently, who even bother to vote.
All kinds of excuses can be offered for why that is, but that’s just what they are. And lost is the fact that this is not really about bump stocks at all – it’s about another victory being ceded without a fight.
In moviemaking, the term “MacGuffin” refers to a plot device, often a thing that is pursued by the characters and around which the narrative unfolds and action revolves. It can be the Pink Panther diamond or the Maltese Falcon or Pee-wee Herman’s bicycle in the non-existent basement of the Alamo. Bump stocks serve that purpose here.
The gun-grabbers don’t care about such devices per se – most had never even been aware such things existed until recently. They just know it’s something they can use to manipulate popular opinion and score another cut. What they care about is advancing another step closer to their goal and getting public sentiment and political momentum on their side.
Every gun owner who knows this and still sits on his hands is helping them do that. Why not instead just take a minute and submit a comment?
And if you're still on the fence, set aside a bit of time to watch the Military Arms Channel's interview with ATF Firearms Technology Branch retiree Rick Vasquez to understand the scope of the danger and the extent of NRA's wrong-headedness.
About 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.