Attorney General Jeff Sessions is either a liar or mentally incompetent. If not for President Trump’s pro-gun control history, I would question his judgment in appointing Sessions to head the Department of Justice. If Ted Kennedy were alive, Trump would probably have nominated him for National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator.
As noted on Friday, President Trump and AG Sessions announced a coming ban of bump-fire stocks (“bump-stock-type devices,” as the rule notice so eloquently puts it); no grandfathering, get rid of it or go to prison for possession of an unregistered NFA item.
Not to mention PANTS.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) uses the same docket number as the December ATF proposal, so it isn’t clear whether we’ll get another formal chance to submit comments. The press release says there will be a 90 day commenting period, but that docket number makes me wonder.
I did send a comment to the Attorney General via web form (2,000 character limit). The White House is next on my list.
But let’s look at this. From the AG’s announcement:
Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is proposing to amend the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, clarifying that bump stocks fall within the definition of “machinegun” under federal law, as such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. (emphasis added-cb)
Sessions opens with an outright lie. And he didn’t simply misspeak.
The NPRM makes the same blatantly false claim:
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. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger.
No, they do not. Firing still requires the trigger finger to engage and operate the trigger individually for each shot fired. After the firearm is MANUALLY pulled forward again with the shooter’s off hand.
In general, bump-stock-type devices — including those currently on the market with the characteristics described above — are designed to channel recoil energy to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms from a single trigger pull.
No, they do not. The “rate of fire” from a “single trigger pull” is still… 1. Each round discharged still requires an individual manual operation of the trigger IN THIS UNIVERSE. The firearm’s cyclic rate of fire is determined by the physics of the firearm’s internal parts: Mass, resistance, inertia, mechanical engagement, force of discharging cartridge. If anything, a bump-stock-type device would bleed recoil energy and cause a reduction in the theoretical maximum.
Shooters use bump-stock-type devices with semiautomatic firearms to accelerate the firearm’s cyclic firing rate to mimic automatic fire.
NOT IN THIS UNIVERSE, where the cyclic firing rate is determined by the internal physics of the firearm. Bump-stock-type devices merely assist the shooter in returning the firearm to the ready-to-fire position, and maintains the trigger finger in an optimum position, at which time the shooter manually operates the trigger for the next shot.
A bump-stock-type device merely aids the untrained shooter in achieving something closer to the firearm’s inherent theoretical rate of fire. (Again, since some recoil energy is bled off to assist in manual trigger operation, it probably prevents the shooter ever reaching the actual theoretical maximum.) Bump-fire stocks are training wheels.
The ATF previously ruled that the Akins Accelerator differed from modern bump-stock-type devices in that the spring in the stock acted as an active component to force the firearm into the ready-to-fire position trigger against the shooter’s finger, without additional action by the shooter. With a modern bump-stock-type device, the shooter must MANUALLY return the firearm to the ready-to-fire position, at which time the shooter MANUALLY operates the trigger again.
This is very easy to test, three ways, each using a bump-stock-type device:
1. Pull the trigger a single time and immediately move your finger forward off of the “ledge” (or “finger rest”). If the firearm continues to fire without further operation of the trigger, it is a machinegun. If it does not continue to fire, it is not a machinegun.
2. Should this not be clear enough, fire again; this time keeping your trigger finger off of the “ledge” so that your finger holds the trigger down, preventing it from resetting. If the firearm continues to fire without further operation of the trigger, it is a machinegun. If it does not continue to fire, it is not a machinegun.
3. If you are still unclear on the concept, pull the trigger, but keep the rifle pressed back in a conventional non-bump-fire mode (i.e.- don’t pull the rifle forward). If the firearm continues to fire without further operation of the trigger, it is a machinegun. If it does not continue to fire, it is not a machinegun.
If one cannot understand this, then that person is mentally incompetent and should be adjudicated as such under 18 U.S. Code § 922(d)(4), and should removed from office.
If one will not understand this, then that person is guilty of malfeasance and should be removed.
Carl is an unpaid TZP volunteer. If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in his tip jar. He could seriously use the money, what with truck repairs and bills.