A divide and conquer strategy, also known as “divide and rule strategy” is often applied in the arenas of politics and sociology. In this strategy, one power breaks another power into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then takes control of those pieces one by one. – Gregory Cheadle, JD, MPA
On March 23, 2018, President Trump made good on his word to get rid of bump stocks.
The President signed an executive order directing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to begin the process of banning bump stocks on February 20. The Department of Justice released a statement on March 23, 2018 that says the department is proposing to “a 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.”
Unlike legal, registered machine guns, owners of bump-fire stocks will have to “surrender them, destroy them, or otherwise render them permanently inoperable.”
After Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 1, 2017, killing 58 people, there was a push to regulate bump stocks, which reportedly were installed on 12 of the 24 guns found in Paddock’s hotel room.
A bump stock is a device that enables shooters to bump fire—a way people rapidly fire their firearm. It is never been illegal to fire a gun this way. Slide Fire, makers of a bump stock write, “Bump firing is a well-established capability that uses the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire multiple shots in rapid succession.”
This isn’t the only time bump stocks have been called into question. In 2010, Slide Fire petitioned the BATFE to approve its new bump fire stock. After reviewing the product, the BATFE could not define the stock as a machine gun because it does not mechanically alter the function of the gun. “Bump-fire stocks, while simulating automatic fire, do not actually alter the firearm to fire automatically, making them legal under current federal law,” stated special agent Jill Snyder. This means that the Department of Justice has no authority to ban bump stocks and it would be up to Congress to pass a law reclassifying them.
In December 2017, the President requested the DOJ and BATFE to revisit the bump stock regulation and again, it was found that only Congress could act on the bump stock’s classification. Imagine that.
This newest proposal, like the last one, must go through a 90-day public commenting period. The first docket received over 30,000 comments overwhelmingly against banning bump stocks. The latest docket posted on March 29, 2018, has 4,666 comments as of 11:59 PM April 3, 2018.
But here’s the deal, on Monday, April 2nd, David Codrea posted on his blog, The War on Guns, that people were having issues being able to comment or comments being accepted—including yours truly. Since Monday, every time I’ve attempted to comment, I receive an error message saying that “all fields must be filled out,” despite repeatedly making sure I’ve diligently filled out every required field.
According to the Zelman Partisans, a pro-gun organization which is also following the story says the issues may have arisen due to their being two dockets on the proposal.
The most current docket is located here. Please leave a comment. Let us know how it goes.
It is doubtful that we’ll be able to keep our bump stocks after this is all over and that’s a real shame. Like YouTube, Reddit, Facebook and Google’s censorship of gun advertisements, videos, images and news, a bump stock ban is another chip away at gun owner’s rights in a much larger firearm-ban agenda. It paves the way for the next ban—magazines that hold over 10 rounds, pistol lasers, “assault weapons.” Whatever could come next.
Even though we don’t have much chance of winning this round, let’s hope that the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation stick to their word about filing a lawsuit to protect our rights once a ban is in place.