ATF Proposed Rulemaking Will Classify Bump-Stocks as “Machineguns”

Slide Fire SSAR-15 SBS Bump Fire Stock
Slide Fire SSAR-15 SBS Bump Fire Stock

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- On Friday, March 23, 2018, Attorney General Sessions announced that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is set to publish proposed rulemaking to classify bump-stocks as machineguns. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) has not yet been published in the Federal Register, but it is available on DOJ's website.

If adopted, the proposed rule will amend ATF's regulations in 27 C.F.R. Part 479 to “clarify” ATF's interpretations of the statutory terms “single function of the trigger,” “automatically,” and “machinegun” as follows:

  • “Single function of the trigger” will mean “single pull of the trigger.”
  • “Automatically” will mean “as the result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single pull of the trigger.”
  • The term “machinegun” will include a device that allows semiautomatic firearms to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter (commonly known as bump-stock-type devices.

This proposed rulemaking is in response to the shootings that occurred on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, in which the shooter used a bump-fire stock that ATF had classified previously as NOT being a machinegun. Consequently, this rulemaking, if adopted, will supplant any and all prior letter rulings that are inconsistent so that any bump-stock device that allows continuous firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter will qualify as a machinegun. Further, if the final rule is adopted as proposed, current possessors of bump-stock devices will be obligated to dispose of those devices. This is because of the strict prohibitions the Gun Control Act imposes on the possession and transfer of machineguns manufactured after May 19, 1986 (see 18 U.S.C. Sec. 922(o)). However, it is important to remember the NPRM is only a proposed rule, and ATF is requesting comments from the public on how to address bump-stock-type devices that private parties currently possess (see below). Parties potentially affected by this rule should review the NPRM and provide comments by the deadline, which will be 90 days after the NPRM is published in the Federal Register. At this date, we do not know what the deadline will be for comments because the NPRM has not yet been posted officially on the Federal Register's website for public inspection. We will follow up with another alert once the NPRM is officially published.

Past ATF Classifications of Bump-Stock-Type Devices

In 2002, the Akins Group submitted to ATF for classification its newest product, the Akins Accelorator, a rifle stock designed to be used with a semiautomatic rifle that allowed the continuous firing with a single pull of the trigger. When the shooter pulled the trigger, springs in the Akins Accelorator caused the firearm to cycle back and forth with each shot so that the trigger finger remains in a constant pull, allowing continuous firing without further action by the shooter until the shooter takes his or her finger off the trigger or the magazine is emptied. ATF initially classified the Akins Accelerator as not a machinegun because the agency interpreted “single function of the trigger” to mean a single movement of the trigger itself as opposed to a single pull by the shooter.

In 2006, ATF reviewed the Akins Accelerator again, but this time determined the device to be a machinegun because “the best interpretation of the phrase “single function of the trigger” was a “single pull of the trigger.” NPRM at 10. Subsequently, ATF issued Rul. 2006-2, “Classification of Devices Exclusively Designed to Increase the Rate of Fire of a Semiautomatic Firearm.” In it, ATF determined the definition of “machinegun” “includes a part or parts designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and includes a device that, when activated by a single pull of the trigger, initiates an automatic firing cycle that continues until the finger is released or the ammunition supply is exhausted.”

However, between 2008 and 2017, ATF issued ten private letter rulings that classified bump-stock devices as NOT machineguns. Why?According to ATF, these bump-stock devices were distinguished from the Akins Accelerator, either because they did not initiate automatic firing that continued until the finger is released, or because they lacked automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performed no mechanical function when installed. In all cases, according to ATF, the agency applied a different understanding of the term “automatically.”

In response to the Las Vegas mass shooting and the political demand for ATF to ban bump stocks, ATF reviewed these classification determinations “to reconsider and rectify potential classification errors.” (NPRM at 16). Now, in the wake of the Advance Notice ATF published on December 26, 2017 (please refer to our alert of December 21, 2017) and a memorandum from President Trump to Attorney General Sessions, dated February 20, 2018, concerning bump fire stocks and similar devices, ATF will publish in the coming days an the NPRM to clarify that bump-stock-type devices are machineguns subject to all prohibitions of the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act.

ATF Request for Comments

The NPRM lists the following topics on which ATF is requesting comments:

  1. the scope of the proposed rule and the definition of “machinegun;”
  2. the costs and benefits of the proposed rule and the appropriate methodology and data for calculating those costs;
  3. the reasonableness of the assumption that retailers of bum-stock-type devices are likely to be businesses with an online presence;
  4. how ATF should address bump-stock-type devices that private parties currently possess; and
  5. the appropriate means of implementing a final rule.

Please note that ATF will not accept comments on the NPRM until it is officially posted on the Federal Register website for public inspection. In fact, DOJ has added the following cautionary language regarding the posted NPRM: “This is the text of the Bump Stock Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) as signed by the Attorney General, but the official version of the NPRM will be as it is published in the Federal Register.”

We will follow up with another alert once an official version of this NPRM is published.

The above alert is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed or used as legal advice. Receipt of this alert does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


About Reeves & DolaReeves & Dola, LLP

Reeves & Dola is a Washington, DC law firm that specializes in helping clients navigate the highly regulated and complex world of manufacturing, sales and international trade of defense and commercial products. We have a deep understanding of the Federal regulatory process, and use our expertise in working with a variety of Federal agencies to assist our clients with their transactional and regulatory needs.

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RepoE. Bryan HooverMoosemanJohn cOldvet Recent comment authors
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Mooseman
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Mooseman

Somehow the link was edited out.. https://imgur.com/r/The_Donald/DTeK7
Or put https:// in front of imgur.com/r/The_Donald/DTeK7

Repo
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Repo

I read thru that whole link and it makes an interesting case.. It doesn’t provide any proof that any of those things happened or happened because if the reasons stated. Like it said they had to load all the mags once they realized only a few were loaded. One of the pics of the room showed at least 30 ext surefire mags stacked like cordwood that looked loaded. If 2 shooters why no sound of overlapping fire? Other than the one video on the stair shaped building no other video of any shooters. If and its a big if that… Read more »

Mooseman
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Mooseman

Unfortunately , the whole LV shooter using Bump stocks is a false flag narrative, did anyone else notice the bipods on the guns in the pics ? Bump stocks don’t work with bipods but evidence is now coming to light what really happened. It is quite a lengthy read but this needs to be spread to everyone as to what is really going on and what happened that night. Go to and read it all. The evidence compiled there is eye opening about the assassination attempt that went wrong . As a former Investigator , I knew the narrative we… Read more »

Repo
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Repo

Go where to read the evidence? No link or website provided..

E. Bryan Hoover
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E. Bryan Hoover

Does the particular bump stocks used in LV work with bipods if the bipod is off the ground?

If the gun barrel is through a hole in a glass window and the bipod is off the ground?

If the hole in the glass is greased as well?

I do not know – but I suspect Mooseman does not know either …

As another poster said – post the hyperlink to this report — your failure to do so puts your statements in doubt…

E. Bryan Hoover
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E. Bryan Hoover

If, IF, the bump stock modification was what turned the guns used in the Las Vegas massacre into automatic weapons (the fact that automatic weapons were used is beyond dispute – the sound alone tells us that), again if that was what turned them into automatic weapons — then those specific bump stock modifications should be banned. The executive order signed by Trump does not even contain the words bump stock(s), it just returns regulatory law to where it was between 1934 and the Obama administration. Why did Obama change it, one can only assume it was for the same… Read more »

Dave Brown
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Dave Brown

Folks most of US Gunners said, I better get one of these Bumps before they change their mind as we all knew they should never have been allowed. But the darn Stamp if you want to play. Me I don’t want to have to go against some nut job with a Bump, and you don’t want to either, admit it.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Dave B, Nut jobs using Bump Stocks to go fast are inaccurate in the extreme. I would not worry about that. I am more worried about my Civil Rights being chipped away by people that do not know what they are writing about. Nor is there any “allowed” in our Second Amendment Civil Right.

Paul Fitch
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Paul Fitch

A couple of thoughts from our Constitution: 1. Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. This means that no law can be made “retroactive”, i.e. if it was legal yesterday, you can’t be charged for doing it yesterday even if they pass a law saying it is illegal today. Amendment V: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” I believe that banning a device that is private property constitutes a “taking”. and if it is for “safety”, then the taking is “for public use”,… Read more »

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Paul Fitch, Splendid, and well done, brother. You can drink from my canteen anytime. And we can get back to the Constitution, that legislators, judges, and bureaucrats are currently ignoring, but it will be a lot of work and treasure.

Mooseman
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Mooseman

So Gun owners got screwed in 1986 with the Amendment to the “Gun Owners Protection Act” and can no longer buy or build and register a machine gun made after that date , Only Law enforcement and the Government can purchase these weapons which sounds to me like we lost equal protection under the law and the start of a Police State. American Ingenuity comes along and builds a LEGAL device to increase the rate of firing at a slight cost of accuracy and while thousands of these bump stocks sat quietly , 1 nut job commits crime and multiple… Read more »

Vanns40
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Vanns40

@JohnC: I can’t begin to tell you how wrong your thinking is but I make this one point for starters: You want the government to regulate an inanimate object, that is owned by tens of thousands of people, is not a firearm and has been used ONCE in the commission of a crime? You then want to tax every single person $200 for every one of these pieces of plastic they own AND prove to the government that they haven’t committed a crime even when there is absolutely no suspicion that they have? In short, what is wrong with you?… Read more »

Scotty Gunn
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Scotty Gunn

No, no mfg for civilians post 86. Including bump stocks. There is a 55 page document from the feds how to enact this. No where is it say they can be papered. Just destroyed or rendered inoperable.

John c
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John c

I dont want them to do anything about them. THEY want to do it to me. I, as in myself, do not want to have to destroy or give up something I have purchased legaly only because one wacko has used it in a crime. The way I see it is, it will be either outlawed as a machine gun, or treated as an NFA item. Atleast as an NFA item it can still be legally posessed and purchased with propper background checks and such. The best case is this all blows over and nothing changes. Although in the eyes… Read more »

Herb
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Herb

No matter what laws are in play . They will never stop the killing . Free this Free that . Bad guys and nuts will always do something to try and stop a good guy . Worry about what your going to do when the SHTF .

Vanns40
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Vanns40

@recon29: I’ve fired all manner of full auto and if you’ve practiced with a bump stock/slide fire etc you can come as close as it gets to full auto without it actually being full auto. I do agree that the sheriff’s dept has, for whatever reason, withheld info.

John C.
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John C.

How about just making them Nfa items and not machine guns. Everyone that has them will have to get a stamp(B.S.) but atleast they will not all be destroyed and future purchases could be made. After all they do not make your weapon a machine gun, they only make it fire faster. I know the whole tax stamp and background stuff will probably weed out some of the people but aleast if you havent been up to no good you could keep what you have already purchased. If you know you cant pass the back ground checks you could sell… Read more »

recon29
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recon29

First and most important to me is: I have no clue about the Vegas shooting. We have been given no info at all. The FBI has prevented the local cops from telling what actually went down. Second: I carried an M-60 for three years in combat. I know what it sounds like. There is no way this was done with bump stocks. This is some type of FBI deal gone bad. Security guard disappears then shows up on “Ellen D’s” show for questioning. BTW the corp that owns the hotel also owns “Ellens” show and major broadcast station. Nothing about… Read more »

Vanns40
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Vanns40

I urge everyone to stop quibbling over the short story and look ahead at the long goal. We all realize that this is ridiculous so why are they doing it? Here’s the long game: Once the Bump Fire ban is in place and, in time it’s shown to not be effective, the anti-gun crowd, probably led by Feinstein or some other well known will step up and say “we were wrong, the true culprit here is the semi-automatic firearms themselves. We need to severely regulate who may own them”. Of course the next step in the multi-year plan will be… Read more »

CoosaTotahK9
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CoosaTotahK9

Quibbling over the short story is what is going to deter the long goal! The short story is what will give them a foothold to go for the long goal. Stop them NOW, don’t let them get another foothold up.

Wild Bill
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Wild Bill

@Vann and Coosa, Brothers, I come from a long line of long term quibblers! I am up for both! Had we not libtards, trolls, and first rung socialist propagandists, I would, just, be… beside my self.

Repo
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Repo

It seems to me we have much more govt tyranny now than before the American revolution. Taxes,,infringing on 2nd amendment, corrupt FBI,DOJ, pretty much every section of govt,politicans get rich from being politicans, media in bed with govt pushing agendas,illegal immigrants allowed to stay and protected by govt and voting illegally,schools turning into progressive indoctrination centers,free speach is blocked when it’s not popular or approved by the progressives, and I could keep going but my point is where is the line? The line that forces action to stop these tyrannical acts. I think the founders would not have let it… Read more »

Justin
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Justin

They should not be banned! I do not own one but I can bump fire just fine without one. I didn’t feel like paying $280 or $400 for one. So what are all these people going to say when people are bump firing guns without even having a bump fire stock… bitch and cry and say but we banned the device how are they still doing it!!

Rocky
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Rocky

Thanks NRA for betraying the very people that you used to represent. I will not give one more dime.
Life member that knows the NRA is another scam to collect money from the less educated.

col jr
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col jr

Any law the atf makes is illegal. CONGRESS makes the law, NOT individual gub’ment agencies!!! The atf’s original Ruling of bump stocks said this as well.

joe martin
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joe martin

You are right on the money col jr! Administrative law, what BATF and all the other Federal agencies use to create regulations with the effect of law, is totally unconstitutional. That being said, I can make a device out of string and a rubber band that will do the exact same thing a bump stock does. Next we’ll be seeing BATF arresting people for having string and rubber bands as “devices for making an illegal bump stock”, not unlike arresting people for having reloading smokeless powder, pvc pipe for plumbing, and cannon fuse and charging them with having “bomb making… Read more »

LE KENOBBIE
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LE KENOBBIE

What is the answer to not putting it to your shoulder? If held off the shoulder it will only be a semi-automatic is how it was explained to me. Correct or not?

John J
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John J

One person misuses something and now it should be banned ? Most people did not know what a bumpstock was and did not care until it was misused by a sick person, if he was sane he would not have misused it and most people still would not even know what it is or care. Ban the sick people not the tool they used.

Jim Macklin
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Jim Macklin

If you’re “the one armed man” a bump stock won’t work. It takes a seperate user in put to push the whole gun forward. The trigger finger pulls the trigger and fires one shot.
Then the other arm pushes the gun forward and fires another shot.

If you can redefine “machinegun” I guess Stormy Daniels is a virgin.

gaf
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gaf

you do not pull the trigger,not first round or any other round.

gaf
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gaf

You dont pull the trigger,you move the rifle forward with your left hand while your finger of your right hand rests on the bumpstock.The recoil moves it back, your left hand moves it forward.

binder
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binder

YouTube and Full30 BOTH have pulled all the videos that are responsible for this policy change. Before ANYONE comments on the proposed “bump stock” bans, see if you can find out what a slide fire can really do.

Marc Disabled Vet
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Marc Disabled Vet

If you squeeze the trigger
as hard as you can & never
back off even a smigent ,
what happens ? I haven’t
explored them yet .
will it force your finger
off the trigger ?
Yes I do know you still
have to squeeze off the first rd.
and it stops if your finger is removed !

gaf
Guest
gaf

one round but thats not how it works
no
you do not squeeze any rounds, it stops when you stop pulling forward on the upper
It has nothing to do with trigger pull.

Marc Disabled Vet
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Marc Disabled Vet

gaf
thanks didn’t know if stock had
a spring of some kind in buffer area ,
to push back from recoil . Didn’t ever
have the chance to check one out .

Ed C
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Ed C

There was a stock made with a spring but the BATFE ruled it was a automatic weapon with that stock and it never made it to the market.
As an after thought google or search “worlds fastest lever action rifle shooter”. this guy does the same thing with a lever action rifle as you can do with a bump stock.

Marc Disabled Vet
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Marc Disabled Vet

@ ed
had a lever action rifle as a kid
it had a tab you could flip out on
lever, it made contact with the
trigger just as it closed on the butt
and would fire it off.
It was a cap gun, but might work
on real winchester style rifles

Oldvet
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Oldvet

@MarcDV…Remember those they were a product made after the effect of the Rifleman TV series . The rich kid down the block had one.