The second of at least two gun rights groups submitted a letter Tuesday to the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in opposition to a proposed ban on bump stocks.
Gun Owners Foundation and Gun Owners of America filed petitions with the agency, making points toward the continued legality of the apparatus which allows a semi-automatic rifle to rapidly fire. The associations’ submissions are in response to the ATF’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking intending to redefine a machine gun to include bump-stock-type devices. The proposal permits an input period of 90 days.
Tim Macy, chairman of GOA, writes, “ATF has had an opportunity to evaluate bump stocks on numerous occasions — and yet, each time the agency has reviewed bump stocks, it has determined that — under the law — they are unregulated parts, completely outside the scope of the agency’s authority.”
Macy believes any ban on the attachment constitutes an infringement of constitutional liberty. “These regulations will infringe the Second Amendment rights of Americans — the very same Americans who elected the current President based on his promises that he would defend those rights. Respectfully, we want to emphasize there is no legal authority to ban so-called ‘bump stocks’ or ‘bump-fire stocks’ by decree,” he states.
Furthermore, says Macy, making bump stocks illegal may lead to more dangerous legislation. He insists, “If this administration outlaws bump stocks, without regard for the limitations on ATF authority under federal law, it will put into place a slippery slope for future, anti-gun presidents.”
By way of attorney William J. Olson, Gun Owners Foundation contends the designation of bump stocks as machine guns may allow for other firearm accessories to be similarly categorized.
GOF additionally asserts bump stocks cannot be used without considerable practice and skill, meaning they are not inherently automatic weapons. “The word ‘automatic’ means ‘a device…working by itself with little or no direct human control,'” its statement points out.
Macy laments the NPRM has no provision for grandfathering situations where an individual already owns a bump stock. “This mean every bump stock owner immediately becomes a felon,” he points out, “subject to a $250,000 fine and 10 years in prison.”
The commenting period for the ATF’s NPRM — which would alter the definition of a machine gun for to the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act, and the Arms Export Control Act — will end on June 27.
While the National Rifle Association has not addressed the proposal, NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre called on the ATF to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law” following last year’s Las Vegas shooting.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” LaPierre said.