I’ve been pretty damned active in my opposition to the federal bump-fire stock (bump-stock-type devices, BSTD, as the ATF would have it) ban. Annoyingly so, to some allegedly pro-RKBA people.
I’ve been pointing out issues with bump-fire bans since before the ATF proposed their rule. I drafted The Zelman Partisans’ October 5, 2017 Statement on Proposed Legislation to Ban “Bump-Fire Stocks” and other accessories. Since then, I’ve written extensively about the problems with legislation and rule-making.
I’ve repeatedly noted that the BSTD ban rule 1) exceeds ATF authority, 2) conflicts with Congress’ statutory definition of a machinegun, 3) falsely describes how BSTDs work, 4) conflicts with basic physics, 5) opens the door to a complete ban on semiautomatic firearms, 6) yes, and is unconstitutional.
My concerns have been dismissed with “It won’t be implemented,” “It’s only bump stocks; who cares?” “It’s just Trump’s art of the deal,” “It’ll be grandfathered,” and more.
But suddenly, now that the rule is in place, and an estimated 520,000 pieces of inert plastic are about to become illegal machineguns, people notice.
“Holy Toledo! That means any firearm that can take a bump stock is now capable of being ‘readily’ converted to machinegun, just like an open-bolt gun; that means they can be banned, too”
“But… but… That isn’t how bump stocks work.”
“They redefined statutory law on machinegun trigger operation!”
“They don’t have that authority!”
No shit. I’m glad you finally noticed. But it’s too little, too late.
I’m going to pick on one guy here, because he’s such a fine example of the head-in-the-sand types. But he isn’t the only such by any means.
Meet Roger Katz, who recently discovered the coming ban.
“…his Memorandum to the DOJ, requesting a Rule banning bump stocks, was issued in error with little foresight; that the Memorandum he issued is administratively ill-advised, logically flawed, and legally unsupportable…”
That column appears to have first been published at Katz’ own website on December 31, 2018, after publication of the final rule. A search of his site blog revealed zero posts on the subject of a bump-fire stock ban before that; if they’re there, I couldn’t find them.
Where the hell was he before New Year’s Eve?
Maybe if more people had joined the fight a bit earlier, this rule could have been stopped before it happened. Did Katz even comment on the rule? Not that I can tell from a search of comments. Did he do anything before 12/31/2018?
The best I can say of Katz and his ilk that that they were negligent in defense of their human/civil rights. Which — barely — puts them ahead of the NRA which called for the ATF to regulate bump-fire stocks as NFA devices which allow semiautos to work like machineguns. (And while the NRA now pretends they didn’t, please note that they have not filed a lawsuit against the rule, as of this writing.)
If Katz et al want to redeem themselves, what can they do at this point? There various options.
- They could file their own lawsuits, as David Codrea did.
- They could donate money to groups that have filed lawsuits, like FPC/FPF, Gun Owners of America, and others.
- If they own bump-fire stocks, they could offer to join an existing suit as a plaintiff.
- Lawyers could offer pro bono assistance for suits.
- And anyone can do legwork in support. I’ve provided some interesting documentation to one party regarding the NPRM commenting process.
- Signing a petition might help, but isn’t enough anymore, because it probably won’t help.
You won’t get rich doing any of that (I don’t get enough tip jar hits to keep up with my monthly ISP bill), but you might slow the erosion of your Second Amendment allegedly-protected rights.
And you’ll regain some RKBA cred in my mind. For whatever that’s worth.
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