Application Of The Definition Of Machinegun To “Bumpfire” Stocks And Other Similar Devices: Comments On Docket ID ATF-2018-0001

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 1 month ago

Addressed to ATF.  Please respond to the following comments, questions and observations concerning the application of the definition of machinegun to “bump” fire stocks and other similar devices.

(1) Regulatory analytical requirements (e.g., cost-benefit and cost-effectiveness analysis) have been established incrementally during the last 40 to 50 years through a series of presidential and congressional initiatives. The current set of requirements includes Executive Order 12866 and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-4, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), and the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA).  Please demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that the cost-benefit analysis shows that the proposed regulation is in the interests of gun owners in America, business owners in America, and the U.S. government in general.  You are required to supply this cost-benefit analysis for all proposed regulations.

(2) Various firearms experts in America, including commenters at my own web site,, believe that had a shooter used their firearms by aiming and placing directed fire with good optics, their effectiveness would have been increased (e.g., Charles Whitman and others).  Please demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that the proposed regulation in any way effects your alleged desired outcome given the apparent disagreement within the firearms community on the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of the alleged use of bump fire stocks in the Las Vegas shooting.

(3) The legal definition of a machinegun is established law as follows: ” … any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”  Given that bump stocks do not alter function of the trigger to discharge a single round per operation of the trigger, please demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that the ATF isn’t fabricating law out of whole cloth, thus usurping the authority of the Legislative Branch of the government, by this proposed regulation.

(4) To date, no empirical evidence has been brought forth showing that a bump stock equipped firearm was actually used in the shooting. The public has only seen pictures of bump stock equipped firearms from the crime scene. No one has claimed that those specific weapons were used in the crime, including and most importantly the LVPD.  Please demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that this proposed regulation has any bearing on the mechanics, structures, systems or components, equipment, or devices in use in Las Vegas, which is the alleged basis for this regulation.

(5) To date, the only parties from which we have heard concerning the weapons, devices, fixtures or components allegedly used in the Las Vegas shooting are [obliquely] the LVPD until they were silenced by the FBI, and the FBI themselves.  Given the revelations of untrustworthiness and corruption in the DoJ and FBI over the last few months, demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that this is a wise basis for proposed regulation.  Said another way, demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that it wouldn’t be a wise idea to formulate a fully independent review and analysis team comprised of members of the public and firearms experts (not including law enforcement) to inform the public concerning those devices used at Las Vegas?  Such an action wouldn’t be without precedent.

(6) Demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that regulation of bump fire stocks, which are used for the purpose of bump firing weapons, wouldn’t also have the ludicrous, laughable and preposterous effect of regulating rubber bands and human hips (both of which can also be used to bump fire weapons).  Failure to demonstrate this causes the proposed regulations to fail due to reductio ad absurdum.

(7) Demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that given the above point(s), regulation of bump stocks wouldn’t cause a complete failure of confidence in the federal regulatory schema and cause the ATF to become a national laughingstock and disgrace.

(8) Demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that the proposed regulation functions for its alleged purpose given that some firearms competitors (e.g., 3-gun competitors) can discharge firearms with a single pull of the trigger virtually as fast as many machine guns.

(9) Demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that the proposed regulation won’t become precedent-setting (i.e., the rather than pass laws per the constitutional process, the legislative branch requests reviews by the executive who then takes it upon itself to pass laws via the Federal Register rather than the constitutional process).

(10) Demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that working on the proposed regulation is a wise use of ATF time and resources compared to its other duties, or in other words, that working on this regulation is a good use of our tax monies and provides tangible and meaningful public benefits.  Please provide the cost-benefit analysis for this judgment for our review.

(11) Demonstrate and provide compelling reason to believe that this proposed regulation won’t effect any other components of firearms intended to improve their function (e.g., well-designed and engineered triggers, improved optics, grips, other types of attachments or devices to stabilize the weapon for the shooter, night vision equipment, slings and bipods, lighter barrel shrouds or other components like the charging handle, more reliable buffer springs, lighter or faster bolt carrier groups [BCG], etc., etc.).  Some professional and semi-professional competitors already shave weight off of the internal components of their guns to assist faster cycling.

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  1. On January 14, 2018 at 10:38 pm, Jonathan Barber said:

    May I use some portions of this, partially rewritten, in my comment?

  2. On January 14, 2018 at 10:39 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Of course.

  3. On January 15, 2018 at 7:54 am, MSG Grumpy said:

    If the ATF/Government wishes to make the “bumpfire” stocks illegal because it make a semi automatic firearm appear to function almost like a automatic or “machine gun” type of firearm.

    Then to be logically consistent they will also have to outlaw rubber bands.

    This video from 11 years ago demonstrates how a simple rubber band can be made to simulate the same effect that the “bump fire” stock produces. So will those who refuse to listen to reason become the people who banned rubber bands?

    The second amendment is quite clear in what it says, and the law about select fire (automatic weapons is also quite clear in what it says. There is nothing in either place that addresses the silly “bump fire stocks” or is silly enough to even try to address the evil rubber band.

    MSG Grumpy

  4. On January 15, 2018 at 9:39 am, Fred said:

    Demonstrate and provide compelling reason why the American people shouldn’t burn DC to the ground and hang them all from the neck until dead.

  5. On January 15, 2018 at 11:29 am, Randolph Scott said:

    “Demonstrate and provide compelling reason why the American people shouldn’t burn DC to the ground and hang them all from the neck until dead.”

    I second this motion.

    All in favor say Aye,

  6. On January 15, 2018 at 1:05 pm, moe mensale said:

    There’s nearly 10,000 responses right now. Still about a week and a half to go. Start writing!

    Yes, I submitted mine a while back.

  7. On January 15, 2018 at 8:27 pm, Pat Hines said:

    Well written, Hershel. I’ll use some of your essay as fodder for mine.

    I dare say it won’t do any good, typically “they’ve” decided ahead of time and if no one has large, well funded suits in the offing, we won’t prevail.

  8. On January 15, 2018 at 11:46 pm, 2ABill said:

    Point seven is moot. The ATF is already a laughingstock and disgrace, and has been since its inception.

  9. On January 16, 2018 at 12:21 am, J said:

    I Third that motion

  10. On January 17, 2018 at 5:47 pm, ExpatNJ said:

    Nazi Jerzey enjoys passing unconstitutional ex-post-facto laws:

    New Jersey bans “bump stock” after Governor Chris Christie signs bill [abridged]
    by Brent Johnson, – 01/15/18

    It’s now illegal in NJ to sell OR POSSESS a “bump stock”. Christie, a Republican who leaves office 01/16/18, signed a Dem-sponsored bill outlawing the devices. Christie made no statement on legislation (S3477/A5200), which takes effect immediately

    Anyone who owns a bump stock or “trigger crank” now has 90 days – until 04/15/18 – to surrender the accessories to law enforcement. Retailers who sell them have 30days. Sale/possession is now a 3rd-degree crime that carries sentence 3-5yrs prison, $15k fine, or both. Technically, bump stocks were already restricted by state law in NJ. You could own a bump stock but were not allowed to affix it to a weapon or be in vicinity of a weapon. This law, however, institutes outright ban.

    “These are simple, easy-to-use devices that increase firepower/killing power of firearms,” said former state Sen Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, who sponsored bill before he retired. “There is no legitimate need for these devices.” Democratic-controlled state NJ Senate voted 28-0, with 12 abstentions, to pass the bill. The Democratic-controlled NJ Assembly voted 60-0 to pass it.

  11. On January 19, 2018 at 7:33 pm, Peteypete said:

    Many thanks for this post, your expertise and detail. I submitted my comment to BATFE this evening. I share your concerns and questions (to say the least).

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You are currently reading "Application Of The Definition Of Machinegun To “Bumpfire” Stocks And Other Similar Devices: Comments On Docket ID ATF-2018-0001", entry #18441 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) BATFE and was published January 14th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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