Although the rule has not yet been published in the federal register, making it law, the Department of Justice is considering regulating bump stocks as machine guns.
The Department of Justice is considering a change to the law, “that would interpret the statutory definition of machine gun in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify whether certain devices, commonly known as bump-fire stocks, fall within that definition.”
There is every likelihood that this will, in fact, be their final determination, which has many people scratching their heads in disbelief. Basically, it would make bump stocks regulated the same as machine guns.
The abstract to the Justice Department’s public rule follows their re-examination of the classification of bump fire stocks.
This was performed after last year’s Las Vegas Mandalay Bay shooting, which was the only crime in which a bump fire stock had ever been used, according to reports.
The ATF had previously issued an approval letter to SlideFire for their bump fire stock in 2010 that read, in part:
“The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. … Accordingly, we find that the ‘bump-stock’ is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.”
In February, President Trump directed Justice to take another look at them, and he was supported by the NRA.
They looked, and now that the midterms are over, the DOJ plans to classify bump fire stocks as NFA-regulated items, which would make them the legal equivalent of a machine gun.
“This rule is intended to clarify that the statutory definition of machinegun includes certain devices (i.e., bump-stock-type devices) that, when affixed to a firearm, allow that firearm to fire automatically with a single function of the trigger, such that they are subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act (NFA) and the Gun Control Act (GCA).
“The rule will amend 27 CFR 447.11, 478.11, and 479.11 to clarify that bump-stock-type devices are machineguns as defined by the NFA and 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 machinegun 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.”
However, some of the assertion is being argued as false.
Because a bump fire stock slides back and forth, it allows the user to pull the trigger faster. However, the rifle still fires only one round per trigger pull, making it still a semi-automatic.
That was the basis for the ATF’s original approval eight years ago, but that’s all changed now.
The rule’s costs and benefits section states:
“This rule provides significant non-quantifiable benefits to public safety. Among other things, it clarifies that a bump-stock-type device is a machine gun and limits access to them; prevents usage of bump-stock-type devices for criminal purposes; reduces casualties in mass shootings, such as the Las Vegas shooting; and helps protect first responders by preventing shooters from using a device that allows them to shoot a semiautomatic firearm automatically.”
Just how the Department plans to deal with the millions of unregistered bump fire stocks that are already owned by the public isn’t clear.
The move has many people angered and bewildered, and asking, ‘what’s next?’