History on Bump Stocks & More on The New ATF Ban


New York – -(AmmoLand.com)- The New ATF Rule: A Categorical Ban on Bump Stock Devices

In the Federal Register, 83 FR 13442, the DOJ, through the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), has proposed a rule change to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), specifically, 27 CFR Parts 447, 478, and 479.

The proposed Rule, reads: “The Department of Justice (Department) proposes to amend the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulations to clarify that ‘bump fire’ stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics (bump-stock-type devices) are “machine guns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machine gun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger. With limited exceptions, primarily as to government agencies, the GCA makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machine gun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute. The bump-stock-type devices covered by this proposed rule were not in existence prior to the GCA's effective date, and therefore would fall within the prohibition on machine guns if this Notice of Proposed Rule making (NPRM) is implemented. Consequently, current possessors of these devices would be required to surrender them, destroy them, or otherwise render them permanently inoperable upon the effective date of the final rule.”

The ATF has now finalized the proposed rule, amending the first sentence to read:

“The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). . . .”

As a final Agency Rule, it is ripe for judicial review, if challenged; and it is rightfully being challenged.

The ATF’s Assertion that Bump Stocks Convert Semiautomatic Rifles into Machine Guns is Both Logically and Legally Flawed.

The critical problem with the ATF Rule is this: bump stocks are not machine guns; nor are they accessories for machine guns; and saying they are machine guns, as the ATF categorically and brazenly does say, doesn’t make them so. The rule seemingly complies with federal Statute by iterating the critical point that “. . . such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger.” But, the assertion is false, and the Rule must be struck down on that ground alone. The Rule is also a noxious affront to the natural, fundamental, and unalienable right etched in stone in the Second Amendment, and it cannot be allowed to stand without doing a serious disservice to the purport of our Nation’s Bill of Rights.

Without amnesty for those who lawfully possessed bump stock devices, prior to implementation of the new DOJ-ATF Rule, 83 FR 13442, a wholesale ban on bump stocks place those of us who possess the devices in clear legal jeopardy. Keep in mind the last line of the Rule:Consequently, current possessors of these devices would be required to surrender them, destroy them, or otherwise render them permanently inoperable upon the effective date of the final rule.” This retrospective application to existing lawful owners of bump stock devices is outrageous, and, apart from other serious Constitutional issues, 83 FR 13442 may also amount to a violation of Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which says clearly and succinctly: “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.” The Arbalest Quarrelwill look into a possible violation of Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 in a future article.

A Little History on Bump Stocks

Let’s take a moment to reassess.

What is a ‘bump stock,’ really? Who invented it? How long has it been on the market? Why the uproar over it? Is it really the awful object that antigun zealots and the President, too, claim it is? And does a ban on bump stocks place those of us—millions of law-abiding American citizens. And, most importantly, does a ban on bump stocks place those of us who possess semiautomatic weapons, in legal jeopardy?

Who Invented the “Bump Stock?”

Four days, after the Las Vegas concert tragedy, The New York Times looked into this mechanical device called a “bump stock,” reporting, with typical tabloid flourish:

“Gun enthusiasts looking for an extra thrill have long found makeshift ways to replicate the exhilaration of using an automatic weapon — the thrill of the noise and the jolt of rapid-fire rounds — while bypassing the legal hassle and expense of getting one.

They contrived devices using pieces of wood, belt loops and sometimes even rubber bands, to mimic the speed of a fully automatic weapon — even if it meant sacrificing accuracy.

Then came Jeremiah Cottle with an answer. A Texas farm boy turned Air Force veteran, he figured he could do better. He sank $120,000 of his savings into the development of a high-end bump stock, a device that harnessed a rifle’s recoil to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

He began selling bump stocks in 2010 with the help of his wife and grandparents in Moran, Tex., his small hometown of fewer than 300 residents. His company, Slide Fire Solutions, won approval from federal firearms regulators, and the business moved from a portable building that had once been a dog kennel into a much larger space on the Cottle family farm. Sales exceeded $10 million and 35,000 units in the first year.”

How Does a Bump Stock Operate?  See the Video Above…

Antigun groups, along with the Press, provide their impressions of “bump stocks”—offering descriptions from the deceptive and simplistic to the florid and patently absurd.

Following up on the October 2017 story, the NY Times, on February 18, 2018 said this says about the device’s operation:

“A ‘bump stock’ replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is the part held against the shoulder. It frees the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback shooters feel when the weapon fires. The stock “bumps” back and forth between the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger, causing the rifle to rapidly fire again and again. The shooter holds his or her trigger finger in place, while maintaining forward pressure on the barrel and backward pressure on the pistol grip while firing.”

The NY Times' animation aptly illustrates that one shot, and one shot only, is fired through a single pull of the trigger. A successive pull of the trigger is required each time in order to initiate an additional shot.

The Progressive weblog Trace,” says, “A bump stock is a foot-long piece of plastic capable of transforming a semiautomatic rifle into a weapon functionally indistinguishable from a machine gun. That means a gun fitted with a bump stock can fire up to 800 rounds per minute.” 

The problem is that the expression, ‘machine gun.' is defined in federal statute by manner of operationand not, as the weblog Trace, argues, by rate of fire. Antigun proponents do not, however, appear to concern themselves over, or allow themselves to be constrained by, niceties of law. They are only interested in political results. 

Not to be outdone by the NY Times or by the weblog, Trace, Gabby Gifford’s antigun group chimed,  

“In the absence of immediate action by Congress, I urge ATF to finalize its proposed rule clarifying that bump fire stocks, along with other “conversion devices” that enable semiautomatic weapons to mimic automatic fire, qualify as “machineguns” under the National Firearms Act. And then Congress must act as well—to ensure that manufacturers cannot continue to endanger public safety by designing devices that imitate machine guns and subvert the law. The continued presence of these dangerous devices puts all of our communities at risk, and both Congress and ATF must take action quickly to address this threat.”

These remarks by Gifford’s organization are purposely incendiary and patently ridiculous. Indeed, even the progressive website, “Vox,” citing an AP News report—albeit claiming that bump stocks offer a way around the law [pertaining to machine guns]”—felt compelled to admit, albeit reluctantly, that bump stock modifications to semiautomatic rifles do not convert those rifles into machine guns.

“The device basically replaces the gun’s shoulder rest, with a “support step” that covers the trigger opening. By holding the pistol grip with one hand and pushing forward on the barrel with the other, the shooter’s finger comes in contact with the trigger. The recoil causes the gun to buck back and forth, “bumping” the trigger.

Technically, that means the finger is pulling the trigger for each round fired, keeping the weapon a legal semi-automatic.”

So, a bump stock modification to a semiautomatic rifle does not convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machine gun, after all. And, there’s the rub!

Arbalest Quarrel

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  • 31 thoughts on “History on Bump Stocks & More on The New ATF Ban

    1. Frankly, why does one need or require a fully automatic weapon, whether that is a bump stock, or a machine gun? Once in a while, laws must be amended to affect the changes in technology. When the bill of rights was written, all weapons were single shot whereas they had to be reloaded for each firing. The development of revolvers, repeating rifles, etc. did not seem to need the creating of a law. Along came the Gatling Gun and later early models of other machine guns which were large and heavy such that a person could not “hand carry” them. However, the oncoming “Tommy Guns” presented a threat to society which needed to be addressed, and it was done so. All was well until the bump stock was developed, and it, like the Tommy Guns, needed to be addressed. Gun laws have always been updated, but the right to own one legally has never changed. For example, one can own an M1Carbine, but not an M2. Take off the blinders, guys.

      1. Pogo, The public can own fully automatic fire arms. You don’t know the statute. I say statute because the NFA is unconstitutional and therefore not law. Rights do not come from government and therefore rights can not be diminished by government. Finally, It is not up to you or government to question what I decide that I need.

    2. Some of you evidently know very little about the actual working mechanism of any semi-automatic weapon. It doesn’t matter whether it is a bump stock, a rotary firing device or your frigging belt loop! If a weapon fires a single round with each single pull of the trigger, it’s a “SEMI-AUTOMATIC”. When I used the Browning M2, I could empty an entire belt with a “SINGLE” pull of the trigger. That is a “MACHINE GUN”. Semper Fi.

    3. Next they will have to ban pants with belt loops for those crazy gun fanatics that like to shoot their AR’s and AK’s with their thumb hooked in their belt loops! Lions and Tigers and Guns!, Oh My!

    4. Seriously did anyone here think that Trump would be the one pushing to take away our bumbstocks? WTF. Talk about a slap in the face. I have an appointment to turn in my bumpstock to the ATF next week. Is anyone else turning theirs in or are ya’ll favoring destroying them?

      1. @Frank, I send him a email every day saying, ” No Second Amendment. No second term.” Zazzle has a post card that reads, “Politicians prefer unarmed peasants! They are inexpensive and inexpensive to send. And annoying your governmental employees is a great hobby!

        1. I here ya. But I’m still stuck in the position of having to either destroy or turn in my bumpstock. He already made his decision. I have a meeting set up with the ATF to turn it in next week (the agent is supposed to call me to tell me when and where- I would suppose at their satellite office).

    5. Listen, I have a number of AR’s, and while I don’t have a bump stock, I do have concerns about limitations of bump stocks becoming the slippery slope to ban semi-automatics.

      That said, the author is wrong one key point. Bump firing is done with just 1 pull of the trigger, after that, the finger is held firm and unmoving as the recoil of weapon causes subsequent discharges. While that can be stopped at any time via a physical act, the trigger is only actually pulled once. While bump firing can be achieved without such stocks, it’s a facilitating device whose obvious purpose is to simulate automatic fire and the law is intended to regulate automatic fire differently.

      Again, while I have no beef with bumpstocks, and am very leery of how it’s written to avoid precedent, I think the ATF’s reading will be fairly easy for it to defend given the physical acts involved.

      1. The trigger is not pulled only once, as you state. With each recoil cycle the trigger is reset and, by definition, needs an additional pull for any subsequent firing of the firearm. This is not consistent with the definition or actual operation of a machine gun. Whereby, the trigger stays in the pulled position and only returns once firing has ceased. These actions are neither identical nor mimic one another.

        The bottom line is that the definition of a machine gun was never met. Bleeding hearts were triggered and the ATF was pressured into making a decision. This is another example of government overreach and will do nothing to prevent crime or death.

      2. You should probably take some physics lessons AND learn how a semi-automatic actually works over a fully-automatic. Regardless of the position of the finger the trigger is “pulled” or more correctly “pushed” each time the firearm cycles.

    6. and this piece does not even touch on the background for the panicky ban on these devices.
      it is ALLEDGED (but never been proven) that bump stock device(s) MAY have been used ONE TIME in an incident that harmed others.. the Las Vegas concert shooting.

      Mulitpe experts knowledgeable in these things have analised witness reports and onsite video that managed to escape confiscation and destruction by the coppers afterward, aver that there were multiple shooters, firing from multiple locations; that the high rate of fire observed was from certain military grade full auto weapons, NOT bump stocks.

      In the video stream from the original breaching of the alledged gun nest on the 32nd floor show ONE rifle lying on the floor with a bump stick fitted. There was NOT seen the huge pile of spent brass one would expect had hundred/thousands of rounds been fired from THAT weapon.

      In the carefully staged “evidence” photographs recently released, there were a number of rifles shown that were fitted with bump stocks. Most ofthem had NO sighting devices of any sort.
      No analisis of the barrel prints of any of the projectiles recovered from the concert floor area has ever been released, linking any of them with ANY weapon fitted with a bump stock.Nor linking any of them with any of the weapons shown in the “evidence” set of images that do show some rifles with bump stocks.
      In other words, AT MOST there MAY HAVE BEEN ONE criminal use of bump stocks. And likkely none. It would seem to me that were ATF serious about this nonsense, and ANY evidence PROIVING that one or more bump stocks were used in that incident, it would have been all over the press, department reports, papers, etc. The silence on evidence that would, if present, convincingly support this unconstitutional prohibition (so, on many levels.. an executve branch agency of unelected unaccountable officials can NOT make “law” and either this is “law” or it cannot put anyone in legal jeoparty in ay way at any time, thus being a big joke.

      1. Hang onto your stuff no matter what kind of bullshit on our constitutional law they try to pass- Feinstein’s already up to her usual gaggle of communist insinuated Second Amendment differentiations EX-POST FACTO -1776. On steroids

    7. By the very definition of a “machine gun”, a bump stock converts a semi-automatic weapon what fits the “machine gun” definition. It does allow the weapon to fire more than one round with a single pull of the trigger. End of story.

      1. A bump stock, through operation and manipulation of the trigger, requires one (1) pull for every fired round. That does NOT meet the definition of machine gun. Plain and simple. Keep your bleeding heart of my 2nd Amendment rights.

      2. You sir do not know what you are talking about. Bump stock / bump fire is just that , bumping the trigger 1 bump =1 shot. 1 pull of the trigger for each round fired. There is no burst fire by holding the trigger down. Don’t waste our time with your anti 2A views !! You have obviously never used a bump stock.

        1. he can grab it between his knees and hold a stick inside the trigger guard with his teetn and still fire a full auto weapon, but ie could never fire a bump stock equipped rifle in bump mode.

          I suppose that since a car cannot be driven by a man with no arms, we should then define todays cars as not cars?

          Back to your padded room in the asylum. And since a man with no arms cannot operate a computer keyboard, you may not either.

    8. People need to open their eyes and see our constitution rights are being attached. I really care less if the bump fire stock is here or not but I DO VALUE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. The stock does not turn your firearm into a machine gun. It’s just a stepping stone for anti gun politicians to go after guns in general. If they let things like this be banned where does it stop. Next will be basically all rifles because how they have misused the term assault weapons, then all pistols because they use a magazine. It’s happening right in front of our eyes. Even if you have guns and say you are fine with all guns being banned “are you fine with your constitution rights being stripped away?” If the answer is no you should be against any of these bans or regulations. Like I said where does it stop? People ease speak up and tell Congress to stop!

      1. The “Law” has never matter to those who wish to enslave others.
        If it can be twisted to suit their desires, those who would disarm law-abiding citizens will move heaven and earth to attain their goal – a defenseless population crushed under the Globalist-controlling Elites.

    9. Does my finger become a bump stock and be required to be turned in or destroyed when I use it to bump fire a firearm? This ruling is ridiculous. One does not even need a device to bump fire a firearm – numerous Internet videos show bump firing rifles and pistols just using one’s own hands.

      I suspect the compliance rate will be similar as to other recent unconstitutional and stupid laws.

      1. QOUTE: Does my finger become a bump stock and be required to be turned in or destroyed when I use it to bump fire a firearm? :QOUTE

        Maybe when the islamists are well imbeeded in our Gov.? They seem to be getting voted into many local and state, as well as federal positions…

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