Do they care?

A comment was left on the post Commenting Now Open: Application of the Definition of Machinegun to “Bump Fire” Stocks and Other Similar Devices.

Carl… do you actually think any rational explanation of anything will influence the bureaucrats? Do you think that any of them CARE in the least? If they were the least influenced by reality, none of this would be happening.

That could almost be a template for things I’ve been told over the years. Strike out “bureaucrats” and insert “HOA,” “mayor,” “councilman,” “congresscreep,” “senator,” “reporter,” or “pollster.” It’s always pointless trying to reach these folks because they don’t care what us peons think.

I disagree.

I think there’s some value to outreach. Occasionally you reach someone whose mind isn’t closed and is willing to learn. Not the politicians and bureaucrats, of course.

But there is one bit of “reality” that will influence them. Sheer numbers.

So the periodic reminder that there are millions of honest gun owners who won’t play their game gives them pause. Given the blatant animosity towards the Constitution from people like Pelosi, Feinstein, Schumer, Reid — and so many others — I think the only reason they haven’t attempted outright bans and confiscations is that there are too many us, too well armed. It’s too late to “bell the cat,” and they know it.

So they keep trying just a little bit at a time; testing the waters.

And we remind them that the waters still hold piranha. With lots of big teeth.

Do the bureaucrats of the ATF care about the facts in my rulemaking comment? Of course, not. But they do care that hundreds of gun owners per day let them know we’re still watching for those dipping toes.

That said, I strongly suspect we’ll initially lose the bump-fire battle because the ATF is notoriously stupid. They classified a shoestring as a machinegun. They thought no one would notice that they were overriding NICS to sell guns to felons and traffickers with the intent of arming Mexican cartels.

I think they’re looking at potential revenue, too. The request for comments asks manufacturers and retailers how many bump-fire stocks are out there. I’m sure they’re thinking, “Wow! Hunnerds of thousands of new NFA devices that people will have to fork out two hunnerd bucks a pop to keep, if we grandfather existing stocks. That’s millions in new revenue! Oak desks for everyone! Vegas ‘conferences’!

Initially. They think bump-fire stocks and trigger cranks are a small niche that we won’t fight for. They’re wrong, because the proposal is too broad. As my comment indicates, this redefines almost anything as a machinegun, including fingers.* They aren’t dipping a toe in the water this time; they’re sticking their foot in, and they’ll lose it. They’ll be forced to back off just as they did with the full-auto shoestring.

Because they do care. About our numbers, if not our words.


* If you don’t think the vaguely broad scope isn’t intentional, you haven’t been paying attention. If bump-fire stocks were all they were after, Feinstein’s bill could have read like this, or the ATF could have issued the same ruling:

1. It shall be unlawful to possess, transfer, or use an accessory

a. which attaches to a semiautomatic firearm to allow the firearm to be held securely which reciprocating forward and back with the purpose of using that motion to engage and disengage the trigger with no movement of the trigger finger.

b. which engages and operates the trigger of a firearm multiple times for each individual operation of the accessory; this includes, but is not limited to, trigger cranks or motorized gloves.

2. Accessories which do not result in multiple trigger operation per operation of the accessory are not prohibited. Non-prohibited accessories include, but are not limited to,

a. release triggers which allow a firearm to be fired when the trigger is released.

b. set triggers which allow the trigger to be partially pulled to reduce trigger weight for the final operation of the trigger

c. fire on pull and release triggers which operate with separate motions of the trigger finger.

d. replacement light weight triggers to improve accuracy of the firearm.

e. replacement recoil springs.

f. replacement mainsprings.

g. replacement light weight bolts or other reduced mass parts which lower the mass of the firearm.


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4 thoughts on “Do they care?”

  1. Perhaps, Carl. I’m wondering why the ATF would do such stupid things if they actually cared about our numbers.

    But wait! In a way, that is a very good definition of stupid. 🙂

    1. Only because they’re required to by law. And generally they try to get around that with “guidance letters” instead of formal rules. Scratch that; I thought I was replying to a comment on another post and had the wrong context.

      Yes, they’re stupid. And political. And they know their masters want the ban.

  2. Indeed, which is why I don’t think that our letters and phone calls to the political stupids makes much difference, no matter the numbers. They don’t seem to pay much attention to anything such as FACTS. They have been pragmatic in a few things, not pushing their luck, but I don’t think there is any rational “thinking” going on, just waiting and hoping for an easy opportunity.

    Now, it is quite possible that those numbers will be seriously relevant at some point, but not as letters to the president. As Mike Vanderboegh said (paraphrased here) at one point:

    …poor stupid bastards… you’ve got us surrounded…

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