Questions for Trump Administration’s Bump Stock Prohibitionists Remain Unanswered

Out of up to half-a-million in circulation, how many other violent crime shooting incidents have “bump stocks” been used in, and where are the official reports analyzing devices used in Las Vegas, as opposed to recovered at the scene?

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- “A few days ago (yes, days), I submitted a FOIA [Freedom of Information Act Request]  to ATF and FBI regarding bumpstocks and the Las Vegas shooting,” attorney Stephen Stamboulieh announced Saturday.

“Today I received a CD with 777 pages of information, which you can review at the following links:

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Volume 4

“The FBI has not responded to its FOIA yet.” [See “Update” below.]

It’s evident that the government continues to withhold information for reasons it will not state. Case in point, this is what we're allowed to see of ATF’s memorandum to the Department of Justice on “Legality of ‘Bump-Fire’ Rifle Stocks” (Vol. 1, pp 671-674):

They just want us to obey their rules. They don't have to explain why to us.

This is a power-grab by the executive branch that will set the tone for this and future administrations to arbitrarily change definitions, impose bans with destruction/surrender orders and turn non-compliant citizens into felons, all while bypassing Congress.

It’s not hard to imagine what a Democrat president would do if such power becomes the accepted norm. It's not hard to imagine them taking full and gleeful advantage of it, with fawning media support and no shortage of appointed-for-life activist federal judges eager to rule in favor of infringements.

That’s despite the Trump administration's new efforts and justifications contradicting not just what ATF/DOJ previously stated in rulings, but what they just last year asserted in federal court and argued to a judge.

From their position as stated on July 27, 2017:

“Bump firing is the process of using the recoil of a semiautomatic firearm to fire in rapid succession, simulating the effect of an automatic firearm when performed with a high level of skill and precision by the shooter… The rapid fire sequence in bump firing is contingent on shooter input, rather than mechanical input, and thus cannot shoot automatically”

From their position as stated on Sept. 13, 2017 (scroll to page 8):

“[B]ecause of the manual, skill based methods required to operate a bump fire device they are not machineguns.”

What has changed? Besides a political position ordered by superiors who would not be qualified to intern at the Firearms Technology Branch…? Essentially, the FTB's supposedly science/physics-based position is being politically overridden.

In January, this column reported on the Congressional Research Service report from the prior October titled “Gun Control: ‘Bump-Fire’ Stocks.” The report had been posted online by the Federation of American Scientists, a group I’ve reported on before 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 make its reports available to the public, despite our tax dollars funding them.

CRS issued a new report last Wednesday titled “ATF’s Ability to Regulate “Bump Stocks,” again posted online by the FAS. Among the considerations for Congress:

“[T]he scope of ATF’s authority to regulate bump stock devices is a creature of statute, and Congress can act (within the scope of constitutional parameters) to expand or curtail this authority. For example, if Congress wants to give ATF clear authority to regulate bump stocks, it could do so by (1) expressly directing ATF to initiate rulemaking to ban bump stocks within a certain timeline and/or (2) amending the definition of “machinegun” under the NFA and GCA so that bump stocks necessarily will fall under that definition. Alternatively, Congress, through its taxation powers (a constitutional basis for the NFA) and commerce powers (the constitutional basis for the GCA) potentially could ban or otherwise regulate bump stocks through independent legislation.”

Both reports, the one from October and this latest, avoid one question altogether:

Why?  What’s the critical need for such drastic action and usurping of such powers?

Some of us find it curious that there is no mention of crimes committed nationwide using bump stocks, and of shootings committed with them in either report. Yet they are supposed to guide our representatives in crafting and justifying legislation.

What about Las Vegas? Authorities have been holding their cards close to the vest. While bump fire stocks were reported found in the suspected shooter’s hotel room, where are the official reports that the devices were used?

While the CRS report says “the perpetrator of the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, had attached to his semiautomatic firearms an accessory that allowed his rifles to effectively mimic the firing capabilities of a fully automatic weapon,” it does not acknowledge guns found at the scene that did not have such devices attached. including eight AR-10 rifles, nor identify which firearms were used.

“By using several AR-type rifles with attached bump-stock-type devices, the shooter was able to fire several hundred rounds of ammunition in a short period of time, killing 58 people and injuring over 800,” the proposed rule nonetheless states. What it does not do is credit its source to make that definitive claim. Are they citing local law enforcement? ATF’s FTB? Can we see what they’re working from? Why not?

We should also consider that, per the proposed rule, “the number of bump-stock-type devices held by the public could range from about 280,000 to about 520,000.” How many of these have actually been used in violent crimes (not merely found or recovered during a raid for something else)?

Before we allow the government to start apportioning blame, imposing new restrictions, coercing the relinquishment of private property and creating new felony charges with which to ensnare heretofore law-abiding gun owners, don’t we deserve to know the documented scope of the threat so that an appropriate level of response, if any, can be determined? We know what weapons the Las Vegas Sheriff says were recovered from the alleged shooter’s hotel room, and based on reports that have been released, we can see that many of them were claimed to be equipped with bump-fire stocks. What we don’t have verifiable documentation for is if any of those weapons were actually used or, until we are given access to Firearms Technology Branch analyses, if any had been converted to full-auto.

If such concerns seem far-fetched and unnecessarily distrustful, ask yourself: Who is trying to ram through a power grab while reversing prior legal findings, operating in secrecy, and deliberately withholding information until after the deed is done? Is that the way a government established “to secure the Blessings of Liberty” is supposed to function?

To exploit this level of uncertainty with this level of heavy-handed and premature political posturing — carrying very real consequences for compliance “violations” — is not something gun owners, who put the Trump administration in power, should be expected to stand for.

Anyone who thinks this is just about “bump stocks” has not been paying attention to the implications of the executive branch assuming such perpetual undelegated, and thus unlawful, power.

UPDATE: The FBI has responded. They claim they have no way of knowing how many “bump stocks” have been used in crimes and the FOIA law doesn't require them to be responsive.


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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    NedGregory RomeuTrumpedDavid M.Jim Macklin Recent comment authors
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    Ned
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    Ned

    What you see here is the Hegelian dialectic in action.

    Trumped
    Guest
    Trumped

    This will absolutely be used by future presidents to ban ar15s and who knows what else if it is not stopped.

    David M.
    Guest
    David M.

    #1. The bottom line IS; Why do (ALL LAW Abiding CITIZENS), (ALWAYS) have to LOSE ANY GUN RIGHTS, because a (CRIMINAL/Wannabe Terrorist) SHOT UP A CONCERT, or a SCHOOL!!! (Of course, all shooting’s of innocent people are a (SHAME)! #.2 (I BELIEVE), the (CRIMINAL/Wannabe Terrorist) in the VEGAS shooting, took a (SWORN) pledge to ISIS or ISIL, one day, one hour, or one month before the shooting, and Law Enforcement, can’t prove it. Just because they can’t prove something, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Remember, AL CAPONE, in the 1920’s/early 30’s was directly or indirectly involved in killing around 400… Read more »

    Jim Macklin
    Guest
    Jim Macklin

    Terribly lethal, dangerous assault arms, I’ll do the numbers 59 dead and over 800 wounded/injured.
    That is 0.000725% lethality. Maybe bump stocks should be required?

    Erik
    Guest
    Erik

    Problem I see with the bump stock ban is anyone who has ever used or been in possession of is now a felon. That person has broken a 1938 law. This is the “ignorance of the law is no defense of the law.” My issue to which my answer would not make the government happy is that a bumpfire requires a human to be part of the rate of fire. If said human is paraplegic and is without one arm, then it’s impossible for that person to grip the front and push it forward as required for the bump. Therefore… Read more »

    Gregory Romeu
    Guest
    Gregory Romeu

    That anology is so far fetched, the Democrats will use it in the upcomi,g elections. You totally miss the UN-CONSTITUTIONAL, EX POST-FACTO methods attempted by government. What was legal today can not be made illegal yesterday! I caught the FBI NICS in gross ex-post-facto methods by turning a 1973 misdemeanor into a felony based on grade-school quality data-mining by 4 contract companies hired by the FBI NICS to find a reason to NOT return a .38 caliber handgun that I had pawned. I had to fight this uphill battle by myself even after I had asked the NRA and the… Read more »

    Dave Brown
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    Dave Brown

    OK, when the pistol arm brace first came out we all said, better get one before they change their mind. WE all said the same thing when they said The Bump was OK. Get one before they change their mind. Me, I don’t need one as I have a few firearms I can bump without adding a stock, but even Bumping is considered a no no. As for Bump Stocks, they should never have been allowed, and you all know it. So quit being a Complainer, ask them to make a special Stamp for The Bump, and pay the price.

    Greg Newman
    Guest
    Greg Newman

    Yep see Dave Brown showing his democrat thinking.

    Wild Bill
    Guest
    Wild Bill

    @DB, Every thing that you have written is based upon the presumptions that you know best for the rest of us; the government knows best for the American people; and that our Firearms Civil Rights are only government privileges. You are not “WE”. There is no “allowed” to it. It is illegal to require one to pay a price to exercise a Civil Right.

    GomeznSA
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    GomeznSA

    Couple of points – 1) IF bump stocks – or bump firing – had actually been used in ANY shooting, you can bet that the antis would be shouting such from the rooftops. 2) What has changed? – the political climate – as pushed by the antis, has seen a window of opportunity to further push their civilian disarmament agenda; 2a) NOTHING regarding the mechanics involved has changed – which leads us to the favorite tactic of the left (regardless of what they choose to call themselves today) defining terminology to suit their ends. That is why we need to… Read more »

    Freebird
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    Freebird

    We should also be looking at HOW the outlaw B.A.T.F. was created …. unlawfully some say , after Prohibition and F.A.A. – Federal Alcohol Admin. were declared unconstitutional. Treasury Secretary claimed authority reserved to CONGRESS ALONE , when it ‘ Reorganized ‘ the prior agencies that became the A.T.F. —- The terms ‘ color of law ‘ and ‘ constructive FRAUD ‘ fit well here and everyone should at least read and consider this historical research. — We have all been LIED to ! ———– BATF / IRS Criminal Fraud , by Dan Meador. — Who or what is the… Read more »

    Paul Fitch
    Guest
    Paul Fitch

    I keep asking myself, even though I’m not a crazed killer, why would I bring 23 or 28, still haven’t even gotten that straight, guns to my room to shoot up a concert. Wouldn’t I bring maybe 3 guns that I trusted and 28 cases of ammunition?

    It is obvious that the government DOESN’T WANT US TO KNOW WHAT REALLY HAPPENED! Which leads, of course, to WHY NOT?

    Tionico
    Guest
    Tionico

    of COURSE they won’t tell us what happened in LV. They KNOW there would be a revolution if WE knew. Reports, from many credible sources, of multiple shooters (“ve seen/heard some amateur vido with multiple streams of what sounds ike full auto fire, simultaneously), that hotel staff membe that was supposedly shot, then disappeared for two weeks, then reappeared with some crasy stories, confiscation large numbers of portable recording devices, ALL of which were returned.. erased and wiped clean…… NO analisis of any recovered rounds or shell casings, including some casings alledgely recovered out on the concert venue floor (flung… Read more »

    tomcat
    Guest
    tomcat

    Remember, what happens in Las vegas stays in Las vegas. Even the lawyers for the injured are perplexed by the secret investigation that has taken place. No one will tell them anything. I smell cover up and we are losing a 2A right over this cloak and dagger operation. Good story and good research, David.

    Len Savage
    Guest
    Len Savage

    David,

    Well written and concise.

    I would like to see the “Report of Technical Examination” on all of the firearms from the Vegas incident. If the firearms in question were altered internally to fire full auto, an attached bump stock is not part of the functional equation. It would have nothing to do with the host firearm being a machinegun….

    Will the reports will be released just like the FISA abuse was released (AFTER the fact and too late to act on)?

    We are being played…MacGuffin indeed!

    Herb T
    Guest
    Herb T

    It would seem that the government knows better than those governed. So shut up and do what you are told…comrade.

    rich
    Guest
    rich

    Was a bump stock really used in that in that mass shooting. Too many unanswered questions about this shooting. Oh yes, notice how it has dropped off the front page No buddy ,down there, is saying much.

    Jerry
    Guest
    Jerry

    I don’t think I have heard of any bump stock shootings. Lets face it they are trying to take anything they can away from us more things will follow !