Second Amendment Advocates Should Reject DOJ ‘Bump Stock’ Infringement

Jeff Sessions enjoys a warm reception as he tells everyone at the NRA-ILA Leadership forum what a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment he is. (YouTube screen capture)

USA – -( “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 ‘machineguns’ 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,” a rulemaking proposal posted to the Federal Register Thursday declares.

We’ve been down this path before, and recently, submitting comments on an earlier “advance” proposal. It’s clear that opposition from gun owners did not faze those pushing for more citizen disarmament edicts. That’s because the proposed ban has the blessings of the National Rifle Association, the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute, and thanks to their green lights, no shortage of “Republicans,” including President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

The urge to preemptively surrender among the establishment types is strong.  They seem to be operating under the illusion that throwing a sop to those who have made no secret of wanting it all is somehow the smart play.  Their apologists tell us it’s three dimensional chess, but with “concessions” on “Fix NICS,” ERPOs, mental health blanket dragnets and “bump stocks,” it might be fair to start wondering who they’re playing against.

That said, and since it looks like the fix is in, it may also be fair to wonder what good it will do to comment on this latest iteration of the proposed rule on “rate-enhancing devices.” There are several reasons to go ahead and submit a comment in spite of such misgivings, not the least of which is it’s the right thing to do.

The first step is to know what is being proposed, something you’d think all gun owners interested in protecting their rights would demand to know anyway.

It’s interesting to see the government admits “most” comments (how many?) from the initial review “contend the Department lacks such authority, either because only Congress has the authority to regulate bump-stock-type devices, or because the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution precludes any federal regulation of such devices.”

It’s the latter, of course, which any honest reading of founding intent would confirm. I’ll presume to be in the minority on that, including my opinion that NFA ’34. GCA ’68, the Brady Act, the Hughes Amendment, and all the other citizen disarmament edicts are Intolerable Acts that must be destroyed if Americans ever decide to get serious about freedom.

I’ll stipulate that such a view is unlikely to be persuasive to those who aren’t compelled to back off with consequences if they don’t. So even though ATF has anticipated (and rejected) the argument about Congressional authority, it appears to be the likely legal strategy after the rule is adopted.

There’s one other argument to make that’s more basic, and extends beyond guns and accessories, and goes to the heart of what it means to be an American. That’s in response to:

“The Department has determined…there is no way by which the possessor may register a firearm retroactively, including a firearm that has been reclassified … Further, U.S.C. 922(o) prohibits the possession of machineguns that were not lawfully possessed before the effective date of the statute. Accordingly, if the final rule is consistent with this [notice], current possessors of bump-stock-type devices will be obligated to dispose of these devices. A final rule will provide specific information about acceptable methods of disposal, as well as the timeframe under which disposal must be accomplished to avoid violating 18 U.S.C 922(o).”

These are non-negotiable terms of surrender, dictated by a “pro-gun” president, a “pro-gun” attorney general, and enabled by our “gun rights leaders.”

Obey or be destroyed. Or as men standing on a green were reportedly ordered:

“Throw down your arms, ye villains, ye Rebels, Disperse!”

Nobody really thought this was just about “bump stocks,” did they?

If Trump and Sessions can get away with this naked, weasel-worded usurpation, guess what the Democrats will be able to pull, especially if enough feckless Republicans take the fire out of their core supporter’s bellies and majorities flip.

The comment period ends after 90 days on June 27.

You can submit yours here.

UPDATE: Some have reported getting a “comments closed” message as shown here.  I have messaged the Federal Register and will advise if I hear more.

UPDATE: Seriously? Americans are being denied their legally-mandated right to comment on a matter of vital imnportance involving their rights, and the best the bureaucrats at the Federal Register can offer is it’s not their job?

I wonder how Donald Trump would react to one of his hotel guests asking staff for extra towels and being told to go find a maid…?

UPDATE– I have changed the url on theabove comment submission link. Per colleague Carl “Bear” Bussjaeger:

The proposed rule can now be found here:

That’s nice. Except…

Scroll down. New docket number. Comment count is zero (as of this writing).

Related Dockets: None
Related RINs: None
Related Documents: None

That means this is not tied to the previous notice with existing
comments, and those hundreds of comments that were made before are GONE.

Inquiries to the ATF, DOJ, Federal Register, and various
congresscritters have gone unanswered. An automated response from the
ATF reads, “It is the goal of FIPB to respond to requests from firearms
industry members and the general public within 120 days of receipt.”

Nice trick. If comments aren’t going your way, kill the proposal,
reissue it without telling anyone, and do over until you get the results
you want to justify violating human/civil rights.

I have two comment receipts now, so I can check if the first is
permanently evaporated, or if they’ll… restore it.

That’s unacceptable.  It’s also a cinch we won’t get anything resolved on a Friday evening.  If needed, I’ll follow up on Monday and see if we can get an accounting of comments submitted prior to the snafu.

4/2 UPDATE: Here’s a summary of what appears to have happened. Please join me in pressing House Oversight to make sure this is looked into and that all comments are accounted for.

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.