Bump Stock Regulation Proposal Explained & How You Can Comment

Slide Fire SSAR-15 SBS Bump Fire Stock
Bump Stock Regulation Proposal Explained & How You Can Comment

Washington DC – -(Ammoland.com)- In a press release issued on March 23, 2018, Attorney General Sessions announced issuance of a notice of proposed rulemaking clarifying that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law.

Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) advise the notice will be published in the Federal Register later this week. This bulletin will summarize the Administration’s proposal to ban bump stocks and the impact on possessors if the proposals are adopted.

What is a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking?

A notice of proposed rulemaking (“NPRM”) is a document published in the Federal Register announcing to the public that a federal agency wishes to make changes to a regulation. Publication of the notice is required under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) before an agency may implement regulation changes. The APA generally requires that agencies publish proposed regulation changes, solicit public comment, consider all comments, and then publish a final rule.

Until the final rule is published and effective, existing regulations remain in place.

Summary of Bump Stock Proposal

The NPRM outlines the October 1, 2017, shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, in which the shooter used AR-type rifles with attached bump-stock-type devices. The notice states that the devices were readily available in the commercial marketplace through online sales directly from the manufacturer and through multiple retailers.

The NPRM states that during the period 2008-2017 ATF issued classification decisions concluding that certain bump-stock-type devices were not machineguns, including a classification issued to the manufacturer of the devices used in the Las Vegas shooting. The NPRM then states as follows:

Those decisions did not include extensive legal analysis relating to the definition of “machinegun.” Nonetheless, they indicated that semiautomatic firearms modified with these bump-stock-type devices did not fire “automatically,” and were thus not “machineguns,” because the devices did not rely on internal springs or similar mechanical parts to channel recoil energy. ATF has now determined that that conclusion does not reflect the best interpretation of the term “machinegun” under the GCA and NFA. In this proposed rule, the Department accordingly interprets the definition of “machinegun” to clarify that all bump-stock-type devices are “machineguns” under the GCA and NFA because they convert a semiautomatic firearm into a firearm that shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

DOJ indicates that ATF issued 10 rulings between 2008 and 2017 that would effectively be overruled if the regulations are amended as proposed in the NPRM. The NPRM states that the agency applied an incorrect interpretation of the term “automatically” as used in the definition of “machinegun” to the devices considered and classified.

DOJ states that banning bump-stock-type devices will significantly enhance public safety. The NPRM notes that the Las Vegas shooting highlighted the destructive capacity of firearms equipped with the devices and the carnage they inflict. The document further states that the shooting publicized the availability of the devices–potentially to criminals and terrorists–and increased the threat to public safety. The purpose of the NPRM is to address that threat.

The NPRM proposes amending the definition of “machinegun” in regulations in 27 C.F.R. §§ 447.11, 478.11, and 479.11 to add the following language:

For purposes of this definition, the term “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as the result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger; and “single function of the trigger” means a single pull of the trigger. The term “machinegun” includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm 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.

Impact of Amended Regulations on Possessors of Bump Stocks

The NPRM states that the proposed rule would overrule prior inconsistent classifications of bump-stock-type devices so that all qualifying devices would be regulated as machineguns. Because machineguns manufactured after 1986 may not be lawfully possessed by persons other than law enforcement and the military, once the final rule is effective all bump-stock-type devices in the hands of consumers would be contraband.

Any such devices manufactured or imported after the effective date of the final rule must be marked, registered, transferred pursuant to ATF approval, and distributed only to law enforcement and the military.

ATF has in the past allowed possessors to register firearms that were reclassified. See ATF. Rul. 94-1, 94-2, and 2001-1, available on ATF’s website at https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/firearms-rulings. Nonetheless, the NPRM states that DOJ has determined there will be no registration period for any device classified as a “machinegun” as a result of the NPRM and any final rule. The NPRM states that if the final rule adopts the proposals set forth in the notice, current possessors of regulated devices must dispose of them.

Public Participation

In accordance with the APA, ATF is soliciting comments on the proposals. In addition to the proposed regulatory language, the agency requests comments on the costs and benefits of the proposal and how the agency should address devices in the hands of private parties. Comments will be accepted during the 90-day period following publication in the Federal Register. Comments may be submitted through the online eRulemaking portal, http://www.regulations.gov; via fax at (202)648-9741, or through mail to Vivian Chu, Mailstop 6N-518, ATF, 99 New York Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20226.

Conclusion

The NPRM published by DOJ is a proposal only and does not at this time ban bump stocks. Bump stocks will be banned only if DOJ publishes a final rule adopting the proposals outlined in the notice. Interested parties, including manufacturers, dealers, and purchasers, may submit comments on the proposed regulatory changes. ATF and DOJ are required by law to take the comments into account and address them before issuing a final rule.

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

Ficaretta Legal Services

Please contact me with questions about this bulletin at [email protected] or (301)358-3553.

Teresa G. Ficaretta
Attorney at Law
Direct Dial: 301.358.3553
Admitted in Maryland and D.C.
[email protected]

Ficaretta Legal Services, LLC
15480 Annapolis Road, Suite 202, #419
Bowie, MD 20715
www.ficarettalegal.com

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18 Comments
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Dan
Dan
3 years ago

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.”

~~ Mao Tze Tung, Nov 6, 1938~~

MeMikeT
MeMikeT
3 years ago

If or when bump stocks are banned, that would be one huge step closer to a rewrite of the 2nd Amendment. The Liberal Progressive’s next logical step would be to regulate other external elements that would produce rapid fire…such as the index finger. In order to regulate rapid fire produced by the index finger, the Liberal Progressives would put all their money and energy to require a trigger to be pulled 3 times before it can engage the firing mechanism. Think about it. A bump stock ban would actually be a ban on pulling the trigger rapidly.

Higherview
Higherview
3 years ago

Where do you go to comment? Is there a link someone can provide?

Dennis
Dennis
3 years ago
Reply to  Higherview

You can comment here. Scroll down when you open the site and you will see something like bump stock devices. https://www.regulations.gov

vab
vab
3 years ago

There are two problems with the ATF’s proposal:

1. Only Congress can make, modify, amend, and repeal laws. Any change the agency makes is unlawful.

2. If the law is changed and is determined to be constitutional, it is an ex post facto law that deprives citizens of previously legal items without just compensation.

James Higginbotham
James Higginbotham
3 years ago
Reply to  vab

you are RIGHT VAB.
and i have been TRYING to wake people UP TO THIS FACT.
but also to the FACT CONGRESS HAS NO ENUMERATED POWERS TO ACT ON ANY OF THIS, AND NO OTHER GOVT AGENCY DOES EITHER.
OR TO TRY AND DISARM WE THE PEOPLE, OR PASS EX POST FACTO LAWS IN THIS REGARD.

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
3 years ago
Reply to  vab

@vab, Congress gave BATFE the power to make “rules with the force and effect of law”. Congress has given many agencies the power to make “rules with the force and effect of law”. That way the people will hate the agency, not Congress. Congresspersons can spend their time campaign fund raising, talking with lobbyists, and getting reelected. Congress likes ceding its exclusive authority to legislate to the various agencies. Barry Soetoro liked it, too! He just used his phone to call an agency head (his employee), and tell them that he wanted a certain “rule with the force and effect… Read more »

James E. Leuenberger
James E. Leuenberger
2 years ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

That delegation of legislative power is unconstitutional. In a republic, only elected legislators are authorized to create laws. Sadly, the courts have approved these unconstitutional delegations of power for a very long time. But then court’s aren’t authorized by the constitution to make laws any more than executive are empowered to make laws.

tomcat
tomcat
3 years ago

There is a section of this that caught my eye “with approval of ATF, and only distributed to law enforcement and the military”. Where does the 2A apply here, oh I know, they completely disregarded it.

Nick
Nick
3 years ago

I support the 2nd amendment but automatic fire in the hands of legal citizens would be great but we all know somehow a criminal would get one some way. Semi auto and single shot weapons are fine. We should keep the ban in place or whatever it is.

Jomo
Jomo
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick

Criminals can simply get one of the tens of thousands of black-market AKs that already exist in the hands of the drug cartels. At one point, cartels in Mexico had full-fledged HK G36s when Americans can’t get the semi-auto version. You are a fool if you think this affects anybody but the law abiding.

Johnny
Johnny
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick

CRIMINALS HAVE FULLY AUTOMATIC WEAPONS THAT SHOOT TEN TIMES FASTER THAN ANY BUMP STOCK CAN POSSIBLY SHOOT! AND THEY WILL ALWAYS HAVE ACCESS TO THEM. ALWAYS! PROPLE LIKE YOU, ARE THE PROBLEM WITH… EVERYTHING! SPEAKING OF THINGS YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. IT’S AS BAD AS SAYING, GUNS KILL PEOPLE. SHEER LUNACY! OR ASSAULT RIFLE OR WEAPON. THERE IS NO SUCH DEVICE. NONE! AR, AS IN AR-15 OR AR-(anything) MEANS: ARMALITE. THE NAME OF THE COMPANY WHO PATENTED AND BUILT THE AR STYLE RIFLE. NOW, ANYONE CAN “ASSAULT” ANYONE WITH ANYTHING. DID THE ARABS HAVE “ASAULT” BOX CUTTERS? Hmm? A DAY… Read more »

Jeff S.
Jeff S.
3 years ago
Reply to  Johnny

Well said my brother!

David D
David D
3 years ago

Bill M. You are so correct, I belive the government agencies need to be revised not or rights as citizens of the United States.

kenneth kaplan
kenneth kaplan
3 years ago

I agree with Mr.M. Sessions is just over matched as a A.G. He makes a public statement once in a while then goes hide some wear. A.T.F. is way to long being replaced. The president should replace this agency. The rules they use to determine the use of Bump Stock are just mumbo jumble. One rule over rules another.Who is in charge of this insane agency?

Bill M
Bill M
3 years ago

Everytime a nut shoots a bunch of people they want to ban the tool
So ok since drunk driver’s kill far more people in this country let’s ban cars ,
Sessions is about as use less an attorney general we have ever had and his second in command is no better
Here’s a better idea how about more mental health for those who need it
And quit taking guns and attachments away from law abiding people who enjoy shooting sports as much as those who enjoy baseball or any other sport

Markjop
Markjop
3 years ago

I guess they will have to ban belt loops as well? First time I witnessed “bump fire” it was done with the firing hands thumb through a belt loop. Works on the same principle. Good bye belts.

MeMIkeT
MeMIkeT
3 years ago
Reply to  Markjop

Markjop, your comment about ‘good bye belts’ might have been facetious, but when a liberal reads your comment watch MSNBC have a lineup of liberals coming out of the walls condemning them. Like I said in a previous comment, I’m surprise liberals haven’t tried to outlaw the index finger.