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The NRA and bumpstocks

Jacob Sullum points out that the NRA is playing a dangerous game on this bumpstock business:

The NRA opposes a legislative ban on bump stocks but wants the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to reconsider the question of whether they are legal. The administrative approach favored by the NRA invites unelected bureaucrats to rewrite a statute for political purposes, undermining the rule of law and the separation of powers.


The NRA has tried to divert that response by urging the ATF to “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.” On Face the Nation last week, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre noted that “it’s illegal to convert a semiautomatic to a fully automatic,” adding, “We think ATF ought to do its job, look at this, and draw a bright line.”

As a wookie-suiter myself, I agree with his point. However, I think NRA’s motivation is more political. And brilliant. They throw the blame at the Obama administration. Take the popular view on bumpstocks. And get in a jab at ATF. And it panders to the Trump base.

The conspiratorial side of me can’t rule out they took this position because they don’t want to put it to a congressional that vote they’d later have to grade.

8 Responses to “The NRA and bumpstocks”

  1. Divemedic Says:

    That, and the NRA knows that the ATF doesn’t have the statutory authority to ban bump stocks because a machinegun is a weapon or device that allows a firearm to fire more than one shot per function of the trigger. Since this device simply allows a shooter to operate the trigger quickly, there is no authority to declare a bump stock as a machine gun, and any rule that did so would probably not survive a court challenge.

    Even if such a rule WERE successful, what would happen to the thousands of bump stocks already out there? They cannot be registered because of 922(o), so the ATF would have to buy them, or else run afoul of the takings clause of the Fifth Amendment.

    The ATF, being a bureaucratic swamp, would take months to come to this conclusion, and by that time the news cycle and Congress will have moved on to other things.

    They are counting on bureaucratic inertia. I think it’s a safe bet.

  2. Fred Says:

    “The bureau should revisit the issue and “immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law,” the N.R.A. said in a statement released Thursday. “The N.R.A. believes that devices designed to allow semiautomatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”

    They believe. Well hallelujah and praise progressivism.

    What’s the difference again between the NRA’s BELIEF and the leftists belief? I think they share much in common. fact-less, full of fear, feelings based regulation is not Rule of Law.

  3. Lyle Says:

    Entering into any such discussion presupposes that government has the authority, which it doesn’t, and it presupposes that making something illegal takes it out of the hands of law breakers, which it doesn’t.

    Ant such restrictions, if they have any effect at all, end up giving criminals a monopoly on the restricted product. I further submit that such is their intended purpose. They have the additional effect of granting a tacit, or de facto, authority to impose such restrictions, which they never had in the first place, which also part of the intended purpose.

    Once we get that much straight, then the rest is easy; don’t bandy words with the insane. Let them freak out and fuck off, and stop trying to undermine constitutionally protected rights.

    None of this has anything to do with bumpfire stocks or other technical details or products.

    The proper response then is; “Stop it. We’re not playing your game.”

    If NRA is being brilliant, they’re trying too hard and forgetting the basics in the process. Eventually it becomes all about process, and then truth and meaning (which get in the way of process) are left out entirely.

  4. Carl Says:

    How disgusting. How about the NRA stop pandering to the leftists and stop selling us out inch by inch. My membership pays for strong pro-gun representation, not pathetic weakness and bending over after a tragedy.

  5. Fairlane Says:

    Uncle can see the game for what it is.

  6. JTC Says:

    Playin’ ’em like the fiddle-farts they are.

  7. Lyle Says:

    Stop playing games altogether– Gaming is the way of the Dark Side.

  8. FiftycalTX Says:

    I could see expanding the section of NFA to “allow” ATF to “regulate” bumpfire stocks IF the same law had the whole SHARE Act AND nationwide concealed carry in it.