DOJ Moves to Classify Bump Stocks as Machine Guns

Ruling would make tens of thousands of overnight felons, despite previous ruling that there is no legal means of regulating the firearm accessories.

Yesterday, AG Jeff Sessions issued the first step toward a new round of gun control through a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would classify bumpstock-equipped firearms as NFA-regulated machine guns.

Although it has not yet been published in the Federal Register for the required public comment period (which will, inevitably, be disregarded by the administration), the text of the NPRM is available online.  Those interested can discuss the existing and proposed bumpstock legislation on the GunLink forums.

Sessions said, “today the Department of Justice is publishing for public comment a proposed rulemaking that would define ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock-type devices under federal law—effectively banning them. After the senseless attack in Las Vegas, this proposed rule is a critical step in our effort to reduce the threat of gun violence that is in keeping with the Constitution and the laws passed by Congress.”

The text of the relevant portions of the NPRM are shown below, from pages 53-55, along with images of those pages.

This NPRM shows a blatant disregard for Second Amendment protections, as well as a fundamental ignorance of how the devices work. Shortly after the NFA rules went into effect, attorneys for the United States argued before the Supreme Court that “The Second Amendment protects only the ownership of military-type weapons appropriate for use in an organized militia,” while (incorrectly) stating that a short-barreled shotgun does not meet that definition.

Further, the mechanism of how bumpstocks work DOES require one manipulation of the the trigger per shot fired. A user cannot simply pull the trigger and achieve continuous fire, as they would with a machine gun. Subsequent shots are achieved by manipulating the trigger with the support hand by pulling the trigger forward into the trigger finger instead of the traditional method of pulling the trigger rearward with the trigger finger.

Once this NPRM is published for public comment, it is important to file your comments to oppose this disturbing piece of legislation.

Relevant portions of the NPRM:   

PART 447–IMPORTATION OF ARMS, AMMUNITION AND IMPLEMENTS OF WAR

1. The authority citation for 27 CFR part 447 continues to read as follows: Authority: 22 U.S.c. 2778, E.O. 13637,78 FR 16129 (Mar. 8, 2013).
2. Amend the definition of “Machinegun” in 447.11 to read as follows:

447.11 Meaning of terms. 

Machinegun. A “machinegun”, “machine pistol”, “submachinegun”, or “automatic rifle” is a weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control ofa person. For purposes of this definition, the term “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as the result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger; and “single function of the trigger” means a single pull of the trigger. The term “machinegun” includes bumpstock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

PART 478–COMMERCE IN FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION

3. The authority citation for 27 CFR part 478 continues to read as follows: Authority: 5 U.S.c. 552(a); 18 U.S.c. 921-931.
4. Amend the definition of “Machine gun” in 478.11 by adding two sentences at the end of the current text, to read as follows:

478.11 Meaning of terms. 

Machine gun.
For purposes of this definition, the term “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as the result of a self-acting or self-regu lating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger; and “single function of the trigger” means a single pull of the trigger. The term “machine gun” includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

PART 479–MACHINE GUNS, DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES, AND CERTAIN OTHER FIREARMS

5. The authority citation for 27 CFR part 479 continues to read as follows: Authority: 26 U.S.c. 7805 .
6. Amend the definition of “Machine gun” in 479. 11 by adding two sentences at the end of the current text, to read as fo llows:

479.11 Meaning of terms

Machine gun.

For purposes of this definition, the term “automatically” as it modifies “shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot,” means functioning as the result of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger; and “single function of the trigger” means a single pull of the trigger. The term “machine gun” includes bump-stock-type devices, i. e., devices that allow a semiautomatic fi rearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.

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