Gun Control

Sessions Distorts the Law to Give Trump the Bump Stock Ban He Demanded

The attorney general pretends to discover that the controversial rifle accessories are already illegal.

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Slide Fire Solutions

In 2010, 2012, and 2013, the Obama administration said bump stocks were legal. Last week the Trump administration said bump stocks are illegal. The law has not changed in the interim, but the political considerations have.

Bump stocks, accessories that help people fire semi-automatic rifles faster, would still be legal if Stephen Paddock had not used them in the attack that killed 58 people in Las Vegas last October. Bump stocks would still be legal if Donald Trump had not felt a need to "do something" about gun violence without alienating the National Rifle Association (which supports an administrative ban). Bump stocks would still be legal if Trump had not instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ban them. None of those factors, of course, has anything to do with what the National Firearms Act (NFA) says about bump stocks, which would be the decisive consideration in an administration that cared about the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Once Trump announced his intention to ban bump stocks, there was no way that Sessions was going to study the matter and tell the president, "You know what? The Obama administration was right. These things are legal." Having received his marching orders, Sessions had to rationalize the pre-ordained conclusion, and the result is the proposed regulation he issued on Friday, which strives mightily to make words mean something other than what they seem to mean.

Sessions needed to conclude that a bump stock—which harnesses recoil energy to make a rifle slide back and forth, repeatedly releasing the trigger after it is bumped against the shooter's finger—converts semi-automatic firearms into machine guns, which would make them illegal. His problem was that the NFA defines a machine gun as "any 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."

A rifle equipped with a bump stock does not fit that definition, because it fires just one shot for each function of the trigger. Sessions tries to get around that obstacle by defining "a single function of the trigger" as "a single pull of the trigger" and defining pull to exclude what happens during bump fire. According to this account, when the trigger is activated by bumping against the trigger finger, that is not, contrary to logic and appearances, a "function of the trigger."

Another problem for Sessions is that a rifle equipped with a bump stock does not operate "automatically," since the shooter has to maintain "constant forward pressure with the non-trigger hand on the barrel-shroud or fore-grip of the rifle, and constant rearward pressure on the device's extension ledge with the shooter's trigger finger," as the proposed ban describes the technique. Sessions resolves that difficulty by treating the shooter as part of the rifle mechanism.

According to the regulation, "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." That gloss is accurate only if you ignore the role of the human who pushes the rifle forward to engage the trigger and if you insist that activating the trigger in that manner does not count as "physical manipulation of the trigger." Sessions claims this counterintuitive perspective reflects "the best interpretation of the term 'machinegun,'" by which he means the interpretation that facilitates the result demanded by his boss.

The question is not whether banning bump stocks is a good idea or whether it would save lives (although I am skeptical on both counts). The question is whether bump stocks are already banned. Although the Obama administration was much more supportive of gun control than the Trump administration, it repeatedly declared that bump stocks were legal, meaning that banning them would require a new act of Congress. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a dogged gun controller, agrees. This is one of the few gun-related questions on which Feinstein sees eye to eye with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), leader of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus. When you look at the law, you can see why: Only by stretching and distorting it can you achieve the end favored by the NRA, ordered by Trump, and finagled by Sessions

The Justice Department will accept comments on its proposed regulation until 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register, which does not seem to have happened yet. Assuming the ban is finalized, it will require all current owners of bump stocks to surrender or destroy them. Otherwise they will be guilty of possessing illegal machine guns, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Manufacturers and retailers, who relied on the Obama administration's assurances that bump stocks were legal, also will have to destroy the products now that a different administration has decided to ban them by executive fiat.

Sessions presents himself as a law-and-order conservative, keen to enforce federal statutes and defend the Constitution, which includes respecting the separation of powers. It is hard to take that pose seriously after this shameful capitulation to presidential whims.

Update: The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register on March 29. Comments will be accepted through June 27.

NEXT: A One-Page Provision About Minor League Baseball Shows How Broken Congress' Legislative Process Is

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  1. Someone has to get arrested for this before a suit happens, is that right?

    1. Loss of sales provides standing, as I understand these things.

      1. Or an order to destroy your bump stock?

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  2. Settle down! It’s just 8D tiddly winks. Trump’s logic will all become clear to us sheep at some unspecified point in the future…or not.

  3. The NRA damned well better fight this in the courts. My monthly donations are going to shift mightily in the next few months, I bet.

    1. The NRA is pushing for this. It would be interesting, though, if they were actually playing a new dimension of chess (unbeknownst to Trump and Sessions) and immediately sued the government for implementing something that they pushed.

      1. More likely they thought that Sessions would “study” the matter, arrive at the legally correct conclusion that bump stocks couldn’t actually be banned without further legislation, and that would run out the clock enough to get past the moral panic. I suspect it didn’t occur to them that Sessions would be actually go ahead and issue the regulation, since it’s illegal on it’s face.

        1. This is all nonsense. Sessions must spend every waking moment going after the progressives. In fact, I envision an Aldo Raine moment, where Sessions gathers his deputies and declares “gentlemen, we are going to be doing one thing, and thing only. Prosecuting democrats.”

          Anything else and he’s doing it wrong.

      2. They are pushing for this because it satisfies the liberal urge to “do something” without actually accomplishing anything. Bump stocks are so much not the problem it is not even worthy of discussion. Unfortunately, by this capitulation the NRA opened a door you could drive Trump’s mouth through.

    2. The NRA constituency doesn’t care about bump stocks.

      This is a SAF issue.

      1. I think this is probably the truth. The NRA (or maybe someone associated with them, I can’t remember) made the claim that bump stocks isn’t the hill to die on. The problem is that the capitulation on these relatively minor things like bump stocks is never enough.

        If history is our guide, there will be another mass shooting and the gun grabbers will be back for more capitulations. Next time it might not be a gimmicky item like bump stocks, and might actually be something more meaningful that they ban.

        I can assume that we’re bound to repeat history

        1. Bingo. Gun control doesn’t prevent gun violence. The top-tier gun grabbers are well aware of this, and the vast majority of average folks are not. Ergo, they can just whittle away the right with each subsequent tragedy.

        2. The thing about “this isn’t the hill to die on”, is that we’re not dying yet. And I’d rather leave some room behind us to retreat before it reaches that.

          Don’t wait until the advancing forces reach your last refuge before fighting them. Fight on territory you can afford to lose.

          1. There’s also the reality that even if a ban on bump stocks is, in the abstract, reasonable, the people demanding it are not. We know from bitter experience exactly how they operate: they’ll pocket any concessions we make and then use them as a wedge for their next round of demands, because what they actually want is a categorical prohibition on civilian gun ownership.

            Just listen to them; they’ll tell you.

          2. We need to top being on the defense all the time. That’s how traitorkind (progressive democrats’ whittle away your rights. Instead we must be out there destroying any progressive that dares to start shit in public.

            Joe !cCarthy knew how to handle the progs. Prosecution, and blacklists.

      2. Then the NRA won’t be getting my money.

        1. The Second Amendment Foundation is the place to donate.

          1. I did several years ago, and now I get begging snail mail, fat expensive begging snail mail, almost every week. They’ve long since lost any money they got from me. I will not donate to any organization which wastes so much money. I’ve called several times and their response is always “We’ve found that direct mail advertising is our best revenue generator.” Not from me it isn’t, you doofuses who can’t even count.

  4. Sessions needs to be concentrating on prosecuting all of the justice dept and FBI personnel who conspired to let Hillary of the hook for her criminal mishandling of classified e-mails and her subsequent lies, cover ups and obstruction about it instead of engaging in silly gun control theater.

    1. Slow day on the Fox comment boards?

      1. I don’t know about that, but since you’re here, Media Matters, HuffPo and Vox must be.

  5. So would my jean belt loops be prohibited?

    1. This is some sort of sick euphemism that I don’t understand, isn’t it.

      1. A semi-automatic rifle can be bump fired from the hip using a belt loop as the bump mechanism. It increases rate of fire but costs a lot in accuracy to fire from the hip. The bump stock has the advantage of being shoulder mounted.

      2. If you know what you are doing, you can bump fire a semi-automatic rifle using a belt loop. At one time you could find youtube videos to illustrate this.

  6. It’s time to repeal he National Firearms Act.

    1. Or accept the second amendment – – – – – –

      1. If the courts were honest, it would be the same thing.

  7. Wait, so Obama is to blame for the Vegas shooting? Is that what this article is trying to say?

    1. Some of our regulars have been saying that for months.

      1. Most evil things tend to be Obama’s fault. The Florida school shooting certainly is.

    2. Yes and by allowing he is guilty of instigating it by extension as well.

      1. Really, why even limit it to that: clearly Barack Obama was the second shooter in Vegas!

        1. Need to take a closer look at the Zapruder film. One of those guys on the grassy knoll was pretty swarthy.

  8. Although the Obama administration was much more supportive of gun control than the Trump administration

    CITATION. MOTHER. FUCKING. NEEDED.

    Which guy did nothing about guns, and which one said take the guns and go thru due process later? As he’s in the middle of more gun restrictions?

    1. Trump saying things and actually doing them might be different though sometimes he did follow thru.

    2. Your point is well taken. Trump is making Obama look like a “card-carrying NRA member”.

      1. What an ignorant statement. How about the time Obama tried to have the EPA ban lead ammunition in a bid to drive up ammo prices? Or Fast and Furious?

        1. Operation Choke Point, too. Let’s not forget that one.

  9. So this Omar Mateen thing is getting a little crazy. I would imagine we would have known all this stuff if the shooting happened under Trump, since the press would have actually done their job and, you know, investigated shit, unlike trusting the Obama administration and spewing their talking points out for 8 years.

  10. More Trump administration capitulation to the Deep State.

  11. A head fake ahead of the midterms might be the best we can reasonably hope for at this point.

    It’s certainly better than another law.

  12. Wait, so if you own a bump stock but no AR platform to use it with, are you still in possession of a machine gun?

    1. Your are trying to make sense out of common sense gun control

      1. I feel stupider for trying.

    2. I’d say “no”.

    3. You are not, any more than if you own a full-auto fire control group (* generally; IIRC it varies by specific item/gun) without the gun it goes into.

      (*If you have the gun and the “item” at the same time, that’s constructive possession, because “easily converted”, which is honestly a fair enough cop.

      And there are some guns for which the auto sear or FCG is “the machinegun” or “the gun” under current law, as I understand it.

      As long as you never own or possess a gun it fits on at the same time as the Raw Bump Stock Itself, you should be fine as far as the NFA is concerned – assuming they don’t try to play tricks with the categorization, per above.)

      1. I understand that owning just 4 M2 Carbine parts (the parts that turn an M1 Carbine into a FA M2 Carbine) constitute a FA weapon per the ATF even if you don’t own an M1 Carbine.

        1. Would that imply that it’s running afoul of ATF executive regulations rather than the NFA?

    4. Probably. The kit to turn an AR-15 semi-automatic is illegal to own, even if you don’t have an AR.

    5. Probably. The kit to turn an AR-15 semi-automatic is illegal to own, even if you don’t have an AR.

    6. Well, if an unmachined lump of metal can be a gun, why not a bump stock without a gun being a machine gun?

      1. And if you’ve looked at the schematics to build an automatic weapon, it’s the same as owning one.

        1. Too true.
          I once saw a war movie that showed a full auto machine gun. Do I need a permit?

  13. ” The law has not changed in the interim, ….

    Bump stocks, accessories that help people fire semi-automatic rifles faster, would still be legal if”

    I notice a contradiction here. The law hasn’t changed, so bump stocks are still legal. The government has merely announced that it intends to proceed to treat them as illegal anyway.

    Also, you say they’re accepting comments until June 21st, but your link says,

    Dates

    Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before January 25, 2018. Commenters should be aware that the electronic Federal Docket Management System will not accept comments after Midnight Eastern Standard Time on the last day of the comment period.

    1. It’s not entirely clear. They were legal because previous ATF had previously written memos saying they were legal. Now the Executive branch has changed its mind. This issue has never been litigated, to my knowledge.

      1. No, the BATF had previously written those memos, (I’ve got a copy.) saying they were legal, because they’re unambiguously legal under the existing statutory law. It’s not even close, or else they’d never have issued that memo.

        If you read the proposed regulation, it comes right out and lies about how these mechanisms work: “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…”

        Bzzt! No, bump stocks don’t do that. They simply, unambiguously do not cause the weapon to fire more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger. They just make it a lot easier for you to repeatedly pull the trigger, by bouncing the gun against your finger.

        1. Or, I can bounce my finger against the gun. You can get just as rapid a rate of fire by jerking your trigger finger really quickly. Sure, your finger gets tired, but the result is the same. Might even be a shade more accurate than the bump stock, which by design gives you less control over recoil (and makes you fight against it by pushing forward with your non-trigger hand).

          So all fingers shall be illegal! It’s just common sense!

          1. Sorry, giving the politicians the finger is a constitutionally protected action of free speech.
            Until they get finished with outlawing (hate) speech, you are OK with fingers. Except for grade school fingers pointed with a bang bang sound; those get you in the hoosegow.

            1. If I were a school kid now, I would be rapidly expelled for finger banging all the girls.

          2. They can take my fingers when they pry them from my hot, smoking gun.

        2. I agree with you completely. Just pointing out that the positions hasn’t ever been litigated, so there’s really no final legal say-so. The Attorney General takes legal positions that seem pretty absurd all the time. Such positions should be struck down by the judiciary, but that’s not always the case. This is one of the There’s a danger in relying on an Executive agencies interpretation of a law, as such interpretation can change readily in response to shifting political winds, a new party in power, etc.

          1. Sometimes things aren’t litigated because an unclear point just hasn’t come up yet. Other times it hasn’t been litigated because the point is painfully clear, and nobody is interested in embarrassing themselves by claiming otherwise.

            I would say that this was the latter sort of case, but it’s always a crap shoot with the judiciary on guns, so many judges are hostile to the 2nd amendment, and open to any excuse, no matter how BS, to rule against gun owners.

  14. Assuming the ban is finalized, it will require all current owners of bump stocks to surrender or destroy them.

    I’m sure there will be 100% compliance to this require…. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!1!11!!!!!!

    Sorry, I couldn’t even get that fully typed out without laughing my ass off.

    *pops popcorn, settles in to enjoy the show* This might get really entertaining.

    1. I think most americans will line up to turn in their guns when the government finally says so.

      The few who will resist will be made such a frightening example of that most sane people will capitulate. And they will do it praising their side of the isle for why it is right too.

      As long as Washington wins the “pick a side” war, the gun thing will go down pretty easily.

      I don’t think it is an if scenario anymore. Might take 20 more years for us to devolve, but just look around. We be devolving into a dysfunctional, leftist state basking in our former glory(just like great Britain). Entropy is the rule of the day.

      1. “”I think most americans will line up to turn in their guns when the government finally says so.”‘

        Hard to say. The NYSafe act only has about a 4% compliance.

      2. I think you’ll find a lot more people than you think quietly hiding things and never acknowledging they ever possessed them, at least in the free states where there’s no registration.

        1. I had to have some sort of check done on me when I bought a cheap shotgun at a gun show once. There is definitely a trail no matter what unless you purchased privately between parties without any internet trail.

          Even so in that scenario, if a crime is committed with a gun stolen from you(if you own it improperly purchased), you are in deep shit where I live.

          1. You’re indeed correct. This has been the point of the lightweight gun control legislation of the past 30 years. To create a paper trail to aid confiscation. Owning guns will become a major legal liability for most moderates, even if those guns don’t have a paper trail.

          2. M osition would be that my guns all broke so I melted them down recycled them years ago.

      3. They will line up to turn in the one gun they registered for the sole purpose of having a gun to turn in when the second amendment is finally repealed. Not going to make any guesses about all the others – – – – – –
        Most “gun nuts” have a registered .22 rifle ready to sacrifice for the cause.

        1. 10/22 was genuinely the only gun I ever owned. Nothing weird at all about millions of us turning only those in.

        2. If 2A gets repealed there will need to be a second revolution. If there are no gun grabbers left then problem solved, right?

          Seriously, don’t any of you have a limit to how much totalitarian shit you will sit back and tolerate? Most people here appear awfully passive for a bunch of libertarians.

          1. It only takes 13 states to defeat an amendment. The 2nd won’t be repealed.

            1. No, but there’s only 9 Justices, and it only takes 5 of them to just lie about the 2nd amendment’s meaning. The gun control movement doesn’t plan to repeal the 2nd amendment, except maybe as mopping up after its ultimate victory. It just plans to suborn 5 Justices.

              And they’ve got at least 4 of them already.

  15. It’s part of his fifteen dimension (he’s better than Obama so we need to add a few dimensions) chess — by doing it this way, he looks like he is doing something but it makes it easier to clog the thing in the courts. If he like Obama’s people simply noted the law required “x” as unfortunate as that might be, there would be more pressure to have Congress pass the law. And, it very well (this might be optimistic) do so since it would be a mild way to appease critics.

    1. So putting it in the hands of federal judges is the brilliant plan? Because judges have never been known to provide tortured legal reasoning that defers to the Executive branch?

  16. Those stupid librulz. Always demanding gun control even when they don’t have the foggiest clue how guns actually work. Thank heavens for Sullum and his gunsplaining to gun-grabbers like Sessions and Trump what a bump stock actually does.

  17. I guess the much bigger story here is that Trump isn’t as trustworthy on gun control or not banning “assault weapons” as some other Republicans might be. He might trade an assault weapon ban for a wall on the border or something like that. So what’s an enterprising libertarian who never even knew he wanted an AR-15 before the government started threatening to ban them to do?

    Stand up and be counted, sure, but you can also buy yourself a receiver.

    My understanding, from people who owned AR-15s during the first ban, is that you could still buy all the parts for an AR-15 when they were banned–except for the receiver. The receiver is the part that’s considered the gun. So, if you want an AR-15 but can’t afford a whole AR-15, if you just buy a receiver for the time being, chances are you’ll be able to build yourself what you want after a ban.

    I’m seeing stripped lower receivers at a well known gunsmith site online for $90. The 80% versions are even less.

    Oh, and you may want to buy yourself 30 round magazines, too. You couldn’t buy those during the ban.

    1. The ban will certainly not accomplish anything. I think everyone knows that.
      What is will do is cause many normal urban residents to forgo a gun purchase and make their lives that much more dangerous.

      I think the first “assault weapon” ban will simply include any semi-automatic gun with some silly qualifier that says thy cannot take your other semi-autos(pistols and shot guns) for a short time. Then that unconstitutionality will simply be removed or legislated around after a few more mass shootings. Then buying new guns will simply become too damn hard.
      Then the black market will thrive and if you dare protect yourself, you will be financially ruined.

      1. They were already banned once. It was from 1994 through 2004.

        I suspect they’ll use the same criteria or something very much like it.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F…..ult_weapon

        Whatever criteria they use, they won’t get enough support to make millions of otherwise law abiding AR-15 owners criminals retroactively, so guns sold before the ban takes effect are likely to be safe.

        However, whatever shape the ban takes, if it doesn’t make selling AR-15s illegal, then passing it will have all the political consideration downsides of gun control–but none of the upside for preventing mass shootings. In other words, if they pass anything, it’ll target AR-15s and 30 round magazines.

      2. I don’t see why simple blue-state style “gee, maybe we’ll let you have a gun if we feel like it” legislation wouldn’t basically accomplish 99% of what the gun-grabbers want. It is a de facto prohibition without being “technically” unconstitutional.

        1. “Technically” any gun control law is unconstitutional.
          Shall not be infringed is pretty damned explicit.
          The second amendment is explicitly about individual citizens keeping and bearing arms suitable for forming a militia unit IF THEY CHOOSE. That means military grade weapons.
          See the governor can call out the militia, but the militia members get to decide if they will respond or not.

    2. During the first ban you could just straight-up buy an “AR-15”.

      It just didn’t have the magic banned name “AR-15”, and it didn’t have a scary bayonet lug or threaded barrel, etc.

      But in every important and practical sense it was a functional AR-15.

      (This is why people don’t take their bans seriously as “attempts to get dangerous weapons off the street”, because they’re cosmetic magical thinking.)

    3. “I guess the much bigger story here is that Trump isn’t as trustworthy on gun control or not banning “assault weapons” as some other Republicans might be. ”

      No, you don’t typically expect Republicans to be more trustworthy on gun control than the NRA itself. (That was actually a big selling point of the Libertarian party back when I was active in it in Michigan: More principled on guns than the NRA!) They’re just more reluctant than Democrats to cross gun owners. But let the NRA promise that a gun control measure won’t be “scored”, and Republicans can be almost as enthusiastic about gun control as Democrats.

      The big story is that the NRA went south on bump stocks.

      Not the first time they’ve done something like that, of course. The ’84 FOPA banned purchase of new machine guns with the blessing of the NRA. That caused some serious internal dissention within the NRA, and I’m guessing taking the wrong side on bump stocks will, too. Maybe not as much, because the machine gun ban struck a lot closer to the heart of the 2nd amendment than this does.

    4. No, during the “ban” you could buy EVERYTHING, you just couldn’t assemble an AR15 with a bayonette lug and non–integral flash hider.

      The only real effect of the 1994 AWB was to prevent the sale of high-cap magazines.

      Essentially all the “banned” weapons were still sold, just with cosmetic changes.

      1. It even grandfathered in the ones that were manufactured before the date of the ban, and Clinton sat on the bill a long while before signing it, while the factories ran flat out.

        That ban wasn’t actually meant to get any guns “off the street”, it was just an opening move to establish the precedent that they could ban guns. Because it was, literally, the very first time the federal government had ever banned any sort of gun.

        The previous machine gun “ban” was indirect. First the NFA levied a huge finetax on machine guns, and then with the ’84 FOPA they refused to accept payment of the tax. Which by existing precedent, rendered the ‘tax’ unconstitutional, but the Supreme court wasn’t interested in taking the case.

        Because they were just trying to establish a legal precedent that guns could be banned, and based on utterly arbitrary criteria, they didn’t try to make it comprehensive, or go all out for enforcement. They didn’t, after all, want a successful legal challenge. They just wanted to establish that they could federally ban guns, so later on they would already have that hurdle passed.

        1. ^ This. Once you ban one semi, all the other guns that work just the same should logically be banned as well. It’s always been clear to me that this is the plan. And then, when the semis are banned, they will look at the purpose of the mechanism. “Oh, it’s just to T-up the next round? Well revolvers do that too. Gotta ban those revolvers…”

          1. And those horrible high rate of fire bolt action rifles, don’t forget them.
            I mean 20 to 30 aimed rounds a minute? Who needs that?

    5. You have that backwards. $50 or less for a receiver. Plus shipping and FFL fee which is typically $25.

      The 80% lowers are often more expensive because they are sold in lower volume and they are probably counting on you to do the FFL math.

      The easiest way to complete it is with a $200 jig (sold out because of upcoming California ban) and $40 in bits and a $80 hand router. The jig lasts indefinitely. The bits last for about 3 receivers.

      You’ll have to check pornhub for the instructions when youtube takes them down.

      1. A polymer lower comes with the jig and bits.

        1. Yeah, but then you need a drill press.

      2. I’m just going by what I saw at with a quick glance at Brownells. Regardless, the point is that if you want to make sure you can build yourself an AR-15–even after a potential ban–there’s a way to do that and it doesn’t cost much money.

        I hate, hate, hate the idea that we need to depend on politicians for our freedom. Taking responsibility for our own choices is the beginning of all libertarian wisdom. We don’t need to sit around hoping that the politicians will let us do what we want–so long as we can use our heads and make our own choices.

        Blaming politicians is often a cop out for people to deflect responsibility for their lives away from themselves–and beating that kind of thinking down is the libertarian mission. When enough people take responsibility for their own lives and their own choices and insist on being free t make their own choices because of that–we will be 90% of the way to Libertopia.

        That was my point. If and when they ban them, they’ll ban the receivers and the “high capacity” magazines. If you want to avoid getting caught by that, you can–for not much money. That’s all I was trying to say. People should know that there are options out there. If you don’t want to have to ask for Nancy Pelosi’s permission, then use your freedom of choice.

        1. The problem got worse when we started treating marxists like they have a right to be Marxist. They don’t. That’s like saying the guy who talks about wanting to beat and kill you and rape and enslave your family has a right to talk out and do that. He doesn’t either, because it’s essentially the same thing. Marxists are all intrinsically working to subvert the constitution, and overthrow our constitutional republic in favor of a totalitarian government. Therefore every one of them is a traitor and seditionist by default.

          We must go back to treating them that way.

      3. The point of an 80% lower is to avoid the FFL math altogether. A completed lower receiver is considered a firearm and generally needs to have a serial number and be purchased through an FFL (if you’re buying from a manufacturer). A somewhat less than completed lower is not a firearm and doesn’t need to have a serial number or go through an FFL. The current standard as to what counts as less than completed is roughly that the fire control pocket is not yet milled out – that 80% lower is just a hunk of metal to the ATF until such machining operations are performed. You are legally allowed to manufacture your own firearm without ever having to do a background check or go through the other steps you’d usually have. Since the ATF says 80% lowers are not firearms, finishing an 80% lower is legally equivalent to manufacturing the entire lower from a block of aluminum. Thus, you don’t need to add a serial number, go through an FFL, etc. You just buy the 80%, finish machining operations, and now have a legal firearm with no serial number, no FFL trail, etc.

  18. If the Democrats takes the House and/or (god forbid) the senate and there is another big mass shooting between January 2019 and November 2020, Trump might sign anti-assault weapon legislation if he thought that’s what he needed to do to get himself reelected.

    I don’t own an AR-15 and I don’t really want an AR-15, but I’d hate for my fellow libertarians to think that the freedom to exercise their rights depends entirely on what politicians do. If you want an AR-15, you can have one, but you may need to plan ahead–rather than wait for politicians to ban them and then bitch and moan because you didn’t take responsibility for your own freedom when you had the choice.

    If you didn’t want an AR-15 until after they were banned, blame the politicians if you can’t get one. If you want one now but didn’t buy one, then the primary person to blame for that isn’t Trump or Pelosi. Guess who’s to blame for the choices you make?

    1. You are completely wrong.

      You do want an AR-15. You just don’t know it yet.

      1. There are a lot of people out there who don’t want a gun but want the choice.

        I blame a lot of the popularity of AR-15s on the 1994-2004 ban. If they hadn’t tried to take away people’s choice, a lot of people would never have known they wanted an AR-15.

        Captain Cook associated vegetables with preventing scurvy, but he couldn’t get his crew to eat the only vegetable stores you could carry back then–which was sauerkraut. So he made an announcement that only the officers were allowed to eat it. The crew started grumbling about not getting any sauerkraut so much that he finally “relented”.

        If they’d tried to ban .357 magnums, sales of them would go through the roof, and they would suddenly become a lot of guy’s favorite gun–useful for everything. Everybody from preachers to strippers knows about the allure of forbidden fruit.

        1. Couldn’t it also be that the AR-15 has some great features? It’s extraordinarily reliable, shoots very common ammunition, highly modular and customizable, has a large accessories market, etc.

          1. I’ve had this argument before over at the V conspiracy site, and I couldn’t get across to people that what I was saying wasn’t because I want to ban guns. They could not understand what I’m about to say in anything other than gun grabber terms. I had to explain to them over and over that something doesn’t have to make sense to me in order for me to support our rights. Because I believe in First Amendment freedom of religion doesn’t mean I have to pretend Scientology is good for society. Believing that Scientology isn’t especially useful to society doesn’t mean I have to oppose the First Amendment either.

            I think AR-15s are useful for recreation, WRoL situations, and righteous uprisings against a tyrannical government.

            I don’t believe they’re better than purpose built guns for the purpose those guns are built.

            I know you can defend your home with an AR-15. Handguns and shotguns work better in that situation and cost less.

            Yeah, you CAN hunt deer with an AR-15. The rifle you inherited from grandpa costs nothing and works better for that purpose.

            1. Thats kinda one of their selling points, Ken. They can be a kind of “jack-of-all trades” firearm. You can hunt with them. You can target shoot with them. You can use them for home defense. You can use it as a “truck” or “backpack” gun. Not as well as any purpose-built firearm, but well enough, while only owning one firearm.

              1. A .38/.357 Winchester ’94 carbine will do all of those things, too.

                I question how good an idea it is to fire a rifle inside an area that’s any more dense than typical suburban tract home development. For home defense, I’d pass by the AR-15 and pick up a shotgun or a full sized pistol.

            2. ARs come in almost all the calibers. The libtards don’t have a clue what a .458 Socom is. They’d shit their pants.

          2. No doubt, AR-15s are fun to shoot. And they make a great choice in a Katrina aftermath or Wolverines situation. Most urban AR-15 owners don’t live anywhere near and outdoor range where they can shoot it recreationally. It’s like owning a Harley. I ride sport bikes because they’re faster, cost less, corner better, etc., etc. The reason MOST people buy Harleys isn’t because of the way they perform compared to Japanese or European motorcycles. It’s for other reasons. I think AR-15s are like that to an awful lot of people. AR-15s seem badass to an awful lot of guys–and one of the primary reasons is because they were banned and the pussies running the Democratic party are always trying to ban them. If it weren’t for Democrats trying to ban AR-15s all the time, I suspect a lot of people would have never known that they wanted one.

            They’d be buying shotguns or something else instead.

            P.S. Like I said, its usefulness doesn’t need to be justified in order for me to support our Second Amendment right to own one. If you want one and the Constitution says you can have one, that’s more than enough for me.

            1. I’ve been saying this for years. Before the first ban, hardly anyone talked about them. As soon as they banned it, they became a bit thing. I remember that change, like almost overnight.

            2. Meh. I think you’re wrong about this, Ken. I think the AR platform checks an awful lot of boxes for an awful lot of people:

              * It’s lightweight; carbine-sized ARs are about 6 pounds.
              * Between adjustable stocks and pistol grips, it has relatively great ergonomics.
              * It has pretty manageable recoil compared to other long guns.
              * It’s reasonably accurate out to 300 or so yards.
              * It’s endlessly customizable; you can tweak it until it’s ideal for your particular use.

              There are more specialized rifles that perform better than ARs at certain things — if you want the ideal rifle for driving tacks from a mile away, you’re better off with something other than an AR. But ARs are versatile — they’re good enough at most things you’d want a rifle for, and once the market caught on to that, they grew in popularity.

            3. Around here you haven’t been able to find .223 since Sandy Hook. I don’t go to gun stores very often, but AR prices have been inflated since 2013, too. The ‘forbidden fruit’ definitely played a part, but mostly it was just people who wanted to avoid getting caught in the ban. Like you said, the added attention on them and other “tacti-cool” stuff helped propel sales.

              My mom wanted one because they’re lighter than wooden weapons and she had trouble handling them for any length of time. A Ruger Mini-14 with a synthetic stock or something equivalent would also work. It was wayyy down the list of “nice to haves,” but she put her ear to the ground for an inexpensive one after Sandy Hook.

          3. Banning the AR-15 for its realia ility and versatility makes about as much sense as banning the Honda Accord because if it’s reliability and versatility.

        2. The only way to be sure is to buy an AR-15.

          Do it.

          1. I got an M-4 instead.

  19. Bump stocks? Oh, no, those are definitely totally illegal. We thought you were asking us about bum socks. Ha, ha, no wonder there’s was such a confusion over here.” /BATF

  20. See, this is why we need to adopt my suggestion that lawyers should be considered as officers of the court and therefore part of the judicial branch and therefore ineligible to hold office in the legislative or executive branch. Lawyers are, by training or by temperament, capable of persuasively arguing that up is down, black is white, and that there’s some ambiguity in what the definition of “is” is. They’ve already looked at this thing twice and decided bump stocks are not machine guns and anybody with a lick of sense knows they’re not machine guns and yet you’ve got some lawyer to whom it’s child’s play to make the words mean whatever he wants them to mean.

    1. Politicians are lawyers. On the surface this seems reasonable, because legislating has become so genuinely complex that it requires a lifetime of work. It’s a problem with the whole process; it invites political dynasties, and it’s marching us straight toward a aristocratic society simply by necessity.

  21. The NRA badly miscalculated when they threw bump stocks away as a sacrificial offering (but perhaps they think the regs won’t stand up to a court challenge).

    I think they should have been straight up that “banning” them would require Congressional action to make them NFA items and then signal privately that they would only support that in Congress if coupled to Concealed Carry reciprocity and suppressors.

    So then nothing would have happened.

    As it is we got nothing, we’re going to get nothing, and we might lose bump stocks. Not that I really care about them.

    We at never getting FA back, and regardless NCCR is far more valuable besides being the only way to try to restore the 2A in places like CA and NJ.

    1. As a libertarian, I opposed a federal mandate of concealed carry reciprocity. But then I realized that California does not issue non-resident permits. That makes it an equal protection issue, in my mind.

      1. California doesn’t issue ANY permits. What we need is the SC to strike down all gun laws as unconstitutional per the 2nd.

        1. Depends on county. Some counties do issue. Others don’t.

          1. But, IIRC, those permits are only valid in that county.

            1. No, they are state permits. State permits require sign off by the County Sheriff or Chief of Police. That’s what prevents most people in CA from getting a permit. Live in a more permissive county, and you’re good to go.

              1. Yup. If you live in the Bay Area or LA/San Diego, it’s basically impossible to get one. Live outside of the urban counties and it’s usually pretty straightforward.

          2. If a gun permit is required it should be a matter of law that they must be ‘shall issue’ instead of ‘May issue’.

      2. Why is opposing a federal mandate the libertarian position? State governments can infringe rights just as badly as the feds.

        1. It’s *my* libertarian position. It needn’t be yours.

          1. Just curious as to why you think states violating rights is any less problematic than feds doing so?

      3. How about “as a libertarian I am opposed to requiring a permit to exercise ANY constitutional right”?
        I do NOT want concealed carry reciprocity; I want the second amendment recognized in all states.

  22. Let’s be honest. If this had to go to congress, they’d pass a ban and would probably ban a few other things as well.

    What I don’t understand is how this all died down after Vegas, but a totally unrelated event reinstates the effort. I am sure this is textbook psychology but I don’t understand it.

    1. Reasonably telegenic and easily manipulable kids were just what was needed to get the whole playbook reinstated and put into overdrive. The fact that they’re talking about bump stocks is irrelvant; it just happened to be the most recent subject of the concern trolling so that’s what was going to get the ban hammer.

      1. Yeah, they really rallied those garbage pail kids didn’t they? The scum of a generation. I hope to see every one of them on a blacklist someday.

    2. The people who died in Texas were mostly white country music lovers, so they were mostly Republicans who probably deserved to die. At least that’s what all the “Love, Not Hate” people seemed to be saying afterwards.

      As I said below about Scalise, it’s not that brave to witness or survive a mass shooting event and become an advocate for gun control, lauded and beloved by the media and Hollywood.

      It is far braver to survive a mass shooting and still stand by your defense of gun rights.

      There’s a reason why you don’t hear interviews from Vegas shooting survivors very often.

      There’s a reason why the hub bub over the Texas church shooting died down after like one day despite basically half a town being killed. An avowed atheist shot up a Church. It could have been for personal reason, or he could have just been in insane, but if a Christian shot up a Mosque, do you really think that would be the narrative before any facts were known.

      There’s a reason the Antioch church shooting was in the news for like 2 hours. A black nationalist and Sudanese immigration shot a bunch of white people at a church, but he was tacked by an usher while a congregant ran and got his gun from his truck to help subdue him.

      “Fake news” isn’t bullshit stories and lies. It is the deliberate focus on stories that fit certain narratives, while ignoring others. This distorted reality, nearly entirely progressive-leaning, is far more prevalent than the crazy Breitbart-Infowars alternate reality.

  23. I don’t own a bump stock. Will never own a bump stock. I think bump stocks are silly. But regardless, banning them is even sillier.

    This is a feel good measure by the purest definition of “feel good measure”. The only reason it’s an issue at all is become ONE shooter owned a bump stock. I’m not even sure he even used the bump stock in his crime. It’s the type of device that’s only effective in his one particular situation (shooting down onto a crowd). Despite speechifying and meme-ifying over the weekend, a bump stock ban would not have prevented or lessened the tragedy at Parkland High.

    Given the choice of being under fire by a madman with an AR-15 versus being under fire by a madman with an AR-15 with a bump stock, I would definitely choose the latter. The accuracy is so diminished that I consider bump stocks to be toys for those who want to pretend they’re firing an automatic.

    While I would not ban them, I would be fine with a law mandating training for the use of them before purchase. At the state level of course, federalism and all that. Actually, I have very little problem with a law mandating training for the purchase of any gun, as accidental shootings account for far far more deaths than mass shooting do. By a couple orders of magnitude.

    1. I want a binary trigger. I am disappointed they will get banned in the process of killing bump stocks.

      1. Work does not let me get to any firearm site that explains what a binary trigger is, but from what I can tell they’re just a way around the legal restrictions. Just like bump stocks. They definitely have a sporting use, but I’m not going to shed a tear over them.

        1. They just fire one shot when you pull the trigger, and another when you release it. They’re kind of dangerous because after you fire that first shot, you’re kind of committed to the second, without undertaking some actions you could screw up. I’d personally just pull the trigger twice.

          I can do that a lot of times, with my perfectly legal 100 round magazine.

          1. Trigger reset is generally considered part of good marksmanship. Wouldn’t firing on the reset cause accuracy to suffer? I suppose if you’re just interested in fast fire, that’s maybe not a problem.

          2. No, if binary triggers forced you to take that second shot on the reset, they would violate the “one shot per function” rule. Binary triggers allow you to go back to non-binary or even safe while the trigger is still to the rear, before reset.

            1. As I said, ” without undertaking some actions you could screw up.” With a binary trigger, you are going to fire on releasing the trigger, unless you safe it. It’s like having a deadman switch on your gun, I don’t like it. But that’s personal taste, it’s not dangerous if you always immediately ease off on the trigger.

              There’s actually some merit in firing two shots, closely spaced but not in *exactly* the same place. But, like I said, I’d rather just pull the trigger twice.

        2. There shouldn’t be any legal restrictions, so why not shed a tear over them?

          There are competition triggers that are almost as fast, but they are really light triggers. What I like about the binary is that I can have a heavier trigger but double my rate of fire.

          If you pull the trigger and then decide you don’t want to fire on the release, you can engage the safety.

  24. Well, that’s how you keep your job in the Trump administration. You find a way to do what Trump wants.

  25. Now, what are you going to do, bitches? There’s NO WAY you can make a bump stock with a laser printer or mill or whatever other whoozbang gizmo you society haters use!

  26. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Banning anything relating to armaments is unconstitutional.

    1. You are correct.
      It is also immaterial that you are correct.

      Welcome to the revolution.

  27. This is one of the idiot hills to die on.

    Law and precedent makes a distinction between auto fire and semiauto fire because of firing rate possible through automated means. Also, I would suspect, some clearer minds were trying to keep positive voluntary choice involved with the firing of each bullet as well.

    To have your finger moved through automation is a cutesy way to try to get around that. It’s a loophole of the intent. They should close the loophole.

    In the scheme of tyranny, this is pretty far down the list.

    1. It may be a loophole, but it’s a loophole that’s explicitly written into the law, and I take a dim view of regulators closing loopholes that are actually written into statutory law.

      Who knows what they might up and decide was a “loophole” if they were empowered to do that?

      It’s pretty far down the list in the scheme of tyranny if done by the legislature. (The real problem here was outlawing machine guns.) Done by the executive? Moves up quite a ways, just because of what the tactic permits if you allow it.

    2. “Law and precedent makes a distinction between auto fire and semiauto fire because of firing rate possible through automated means. ”

      And using bump stocks doesn’t allow anyone to fire at anywhere near the rate of fire that actual full auto weapons do.

    3. @Brett: ‘Who knows what they might up and decide was a “loophole” if they were empowered to do that?’

      That’s the vital point. When authorities change the meaning of words in a law, we are no longer ruled by laws, but by the men interpreting them. Bump stocks are not important, but the rule of law is critical to a free nation.

      In the particular case of bump stocks, if enabling a shooter to pull the trigger faster makes it a “machine gun”, then many other things could be re-interpreted as “machine guns” – such as routine gunsmithing to smooth out and improve the working of a trigger – or if the authorities are willing to stretch far enough, everything that will fire the next shot faster than a Revolutionary War era Kentucky rifle, including semi-auto, bolt, and lever actions actions, revolvers, and finally even single-shot breech loaders and muzzle-loading Minie balls. These all fire the next shot faster than …

      By the way, that is why the more knowledgeable gun enthusiasts successfully opposed the “bump stock ban” when it was proposed in Congress: rather than banning one particular mechanism (which could be avoided by a redesign – or by practicing to bump fire using just a rubber band or shoe string), it included language against any means of increasing the rate of fire beyond the rate as manufactured. Under an anti-gun administration, that would include smoothing the trigger action. Or possibly even firing the gun enough to wear in the action so it runs smoother.

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  29. I’m not sure Sessions deserves to be cut any slack, but if the law allowed banning bump stocks before Trump arrived in Town… was Eric Holder just tending to providing the greatest number of tools for a sensational media murder event to occur or what? Either way, the toilet at DOJ still needs flushing.

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