This is a bit longish, but I hope you’ll read it. It’s pretty damned important; especially for naive types who haven’t kept up with Trump’s proposed bump-fire stock ban.
It’s more, far more.
My opinion counts for very little, and that’s because I’m a “FUDD” when it comes to Bumpstocks.
Oh, what’s a Fudd? That’s a pejorative term aimed at shooters who only care about hunting. Deer, Elk, Quail, Lions … or Skeet, Trap, etc. it doesn’t matter; as long as the Feds don’t mess with their gun sport, they could care less about any other 2nd Amendment issues. (It’s actually defined in the Urban Dictionary.)
It surprised me to learn that I was a FUDD, but actually I have no use for a Bump Stock (spelling varies). While I’ve written about the issue before, I find I can’t get all that worked up about it. I mean, who needs a Bump Stock?
At that point, I hoped I was reading satire.
On the other hand, who needs an M15? (semi-automatic version of the M16 Assault Rifle … which unlike the M16 is NOT capable of “Selective fire”). I don’t own an M15, because I have no use for it.
The point is, most people think there is no difference between the M15 (semi-auto only) and the M15 (capable of full auto fire), and so the CIVILIAN M15 is denigrated almost as vigorously as the M15.
M-15? The more common term for the civilian semiautomatic variants of the Colt AR-15 is… AR-15. Or — as I tend to use AR-pattern. Calling the class “M15” tends to confuse it with the military assault rifle “M-16” (which JtG proceeds to do by managing to call both “M15”.
There are various bloggers describing the future consequences of banning “attachments” and “modifications”. One of the most popular is:
Suppose you lighten the trigger pull on your firearm. Is that to become an illegal alteration?
Mr. Geek needs to read the NPRM. It specific cites “increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms” as the reason for considering bump-fire stocks to be machineguns.
And he should be paying attention to federal and state legislation (some passed) that ban not only bump-fire device, but also cranks and anything that else that “increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms”. That is, anything that helps you work the trigger quickly (cranks, practice) or improves the action to allow it to operate quicker. One judge, in considering one of the newly passed state laws, noted that it would appear to include gun oil.
When the ATF becomes involved in nuances of equipment to otherwise legal firearms, it may be that they are over-reaching their mandate.
Or I may be wrong; perhaps that is precisely their “mandate”.
By executive order, the President directed DOJ to take action against bump-fire stocks. AG Sessions then issued a memorandum to the ATF to begin the regulatory process to make bump-fire stocks “machineguns.”
Yes, it’s their mandate. Where the hell have you been since October 2017?
They are exceeding — by Presidential direction — the law, which already defines “machinegun,” to the exclusion of bump-fire stocks. A machinegun must discharge more than one cartridge with a single manual operation of the trigger.
Bump-fire stocks channel recoil energy to help people operate the trigger — one round per trigger op — a little quicker and easily, without bothering with Miculek-level practice.
And that is precisely why the NPRM starts with a lie about how bump-fire stocks operate.
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.
Pay attention, Jerry T. Fudd.
That’s not the only lie in the NPRM, Jerry. Remember “rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms from a single trigger pull”? That, Fudd, is bullshit.
In an actual machinegun, “rate of fire” (or cyclic rate of fire) is how fast it discharges rounds while the trigger is held back. Pull trigger, hold trigger down, round discharges, action is cycled (whether by recoil, gas-diversion, or an electric motor), and another round fires. “Rate of fire” is usually expressed in rounds per minute (RPM), and is determined by the physical design of the firearm. In recoil or gas cycled machineguns, it’s determined by the physics of the design: mass/inertia of bolt and springs, amount of energy applied.
In a semiautomatic firearm, there is no actual rate of fire. Pull trigger, discharge round, action cycles next round into place, and … nothing. How fast that happens, as in machineguns, is determined by the physics of the gun. The shooter — the person operating the firearm — must manually allow the trigger to reset, and then manually operate the trigger again.
The only way to get the “rate of fire” of a semiauto is to factor in the how fast the shooter can operate the trigger in succession. This NPRM is about devices. It’s about how fast you can pull the trigger.
As I, and a great many other people, have noted, this rule would make Jerry Miculek an NFA firearm.
But, Fudd, I’ll tell you another secret: Bump-fire stocks don’t increase the rate at which the rifle can be fired.
“But, but… everyone knows they fire fast like machineguns! They must speed it up,” idiots — like the ATF — exclaim.
WRONG. Let me repeat: In a semiautomatic firearm, there is no actual rate of fire. Pull, trigger, discharge round, action cycles next round into place, and … nothing. How fast that happens, as in machineguns, is determined by the pahysics of the gun. The shooter — the person operating the firearm — must manually allow the trigger to reset, and then manually operate the trigger again.
How fast the rifle can potentially be manually fired is inherent in the design physics mass, inertia, energy.
What bump-fire stocks do is free-float so that bled-off recoil energy moves the rifle away from the trigger finger, allowing the trigger to be reset, and allows the shooter to manually (this is why the Akins Accelerator, with a return spring, wasn’t allowed) move the rifle forward again so the finger can again engage the trigger.
Shooting Speed: mass, inertia, energy.
Bump-fire bleeds off energy. That slows it down.
Someone who could pull the trigger fast enough to max out the cycle of a rifle without a bump-fire stock would achieve the theoretical “potential rate of fire.” The same gun, with bump-fire stock installed, loses energy, and thus has a lower theoretical “potential rate of fire.”
So Fudd, bump-fire doesn’t work the way the feds claim, it can’t accomplish what they claim. They lied. Repeatedly.* Why do you think they wrote that NPRM?
What it does is get the idea on the books that, “Fast is bad; we can regulate anything based on how arbitrarily fast it is. Too “fast,” it’s a machinegun. Made after May 1986. Turn it in or go to prison.”
Tell me, Jerry. Do you ever hunt or target shoot with a semiautomatic firearm? Is it possible for it to fire “too fast”?
How fast is “too fast,” you — and I — might wonder.
It’s undefined. Arbitrary. Like so much from the ATF Technical Branch, it’s…
Whatever the fuck they want it to be, and subject to subjective change. The better to fuck you over. Please recall that even the Akins Accelerator was approved before it was unapproved. Twice.
And if you don’t understand that it’s deliberate, you’re a fool.
When the commenting period on the NPRM opened in March, comments made on the published document vanished. “Comments not accepted“. Hundreds of comments disappeared.
Only after a series of complaints to the OIG, did the ATF open a new NPRM document which would accept comments. But they left the original document up, with no redirect to the working document, and no simple way to learn there even was a new document.
Only after more OIG complaints did the comments from the “dead” document appear on the new document. At which point they could be seen; there were actually thousands of comments, almost exclusively negative.
They lied, and they tried to game the system to prevent negative comments.
* Lie, or wild-ass guess? Also from the NPRM:
On October 1, 2017, a shooter attacked a large crowd attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. By using several AR-type rifles with attached bump-stock-type devices, the shooter was able to fire several hundred rounds of ammunition in a short period of time, killing 58 people and injuring over 800.
In fact, it has never been stated by anyone — local or federal — with the investigation that bump-fire stocks were used. Only that they were present. No ballistics data has been released which would tie a bump-fire stocked weapon to any casualty. The only firearm the investigation has publicly said — officially or unofficially — was actually used was the revolver with which the murderer suicided.
Very early on, someone in the investigation did tell reporters that at least one rifle converted to be fully automatic had been found, in addition to bump-fire stocked rifles.
It’s also worth noting that FOIA data dumps produced documentation showing the the ATF was NOT ALLOWED to examine any of the firearms from the Mandalay Bay shooting.