932 Pages Is Hard To Ignore

Alinsky’s Rule No. 4 states “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Part of the rule book for administrative rulemaking is that each and every comment must be examined. It is easy to skim over repetitive comments stating “teh bump stock is bad” or, conversely, “you are wrong, you child-killing gun grabbers.” It is much harder to ignore a 923 legal document with 35 exhibits written by firearms law attorneys.

That is what the Firearm Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation dumped into the laps of the bureaucrats at DOJ and BATFE. The bureaucrats at DOJ thought their 50 pages of legal sophistry as to why bump fire stocks are illegal would scare people away. It didn’t. The FPC/FPF comment was written by attorneys Joshua Prince and Adam Kraut of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group. They know a thing or two about the NFA and firearms law in general.

The key thing about such a long document such as the comment submitted by FPC/FPF is that each and every point will have to be considered and the rule will have to address them. Moreover, it sets up the playing field for the anticipated court challenge to the probably bump stock ban rule. Only things that were brought up during the comment period can be considered by the courts. No new objections can be made.

Below is the news release from the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation detailing their 923 page comment. As a reminder, doing stuff like this isn’t cheap and proponents of gun rights don’t have our own pet billionaire to fund us unlike the corporate gun ban lobby. You might want to send a few bucks to the FPF– tax deductible, you know – to help in the effort.

WASHINGTON, DC (June 27, 2018) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) have announced that their extensive, 923-page opposition comment was filed with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) regarding the agency’s proposed rulemaking to ban “bump-stock” devices. The FPC Comment and its 35 exhibits can be viewed online in their entirety at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/fpc-fpf-opposition-atf-bump-stock-ban.
The FPC Comment in opposition was filed on the groups’ behalf by attorneys Joshua Prince and Adam Kraut of Firearms Industry Consulting Group (FICG) after President Trump directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to use executive actions to unlawfully and unconstitutionally expand the scope of statutes to force the dispossession and destruction of legally-acquired property–without just compensation–and subject possibly more than 500,000 Americans to severe federal criminal penalties. FICG attorney Adam Kraut produced a video (Exhibit 28) with Patton Media and Consulting to show how a bump-fire-type device actually works when it is installed on a firearm.
“It is beyond outrageous that ATF has purposely misled the public on the function of bump-stock-devices,” said FICG Chief Counsel Joshua Prince. “Even setting aside the constitutional concerns, there are a plethora of issues that preclude ATF from moving forward with its bump-stock proposal. ATF is unlawfully attempting to usurp the Congress’ power by modifying a definition codified in the tax code by Congress and is attempting to retroactively apply this definition, which is precluded by federal tax laws designed to prevent this kind of action by the Government.”
“Perhaps more frightening than the text of this unlawful executive action is the fact that the Trump Administration is expressly saying that not only can the ATF re-write Congress’ statutes to mean whatever they prefer, but that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect conduct with common semi-automatic firearms and parts, let alone devices like machineguns,” commented FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs. “That should send chills down the spines of American gun owners.”
“Our important opposition is not only a substantial addition to the rulemaking record, but a warning shot across the ATF’s bow. If the ATF proceeds with this unlawful and unconstitutional proposal, our attorneys have been instructed to explore every possible legal remedy, including filing a federal lawsuit and seeking an injunction. We would relish the opportunity to defend the Constitution and law-abiding American people against the Trump Administration’s patently anti-gun arguments in a court of law,” Combs concluded.
BACKGROUND
In ten letter rulings between 2008 and 2017, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) concluded that bump-stocks and some similar devices did not qualify as “machineguns” because they did not “automatically” shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger.
On October 1, 2017, a terrorist used firearms in a premeditated attack on attendees of an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 people and injuring more.
On December 26, 2017, ATF published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the Federal Register regarding the “Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices” as an initial step in the process of substantively changing through fiat regulation the statutory definition of “machinegun” with the intent to ban bump-stock-type devices they previously ruled were legal to acquire, possess, and use.
On January 25, 2018, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) submitted comments responding to the ATF – an agency under the Department of Justice – Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in opposition to the “Application of the Definition of Machinegun to “Bump Fire” Stocks and Other Similar Devices.”
On February 20, 2018, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum to Attorney General Sessions directing the Department of Justice to initiate a regulatory action to ban “bump fire” stocks and similar devices. (83 Fed. Reg. 7949.)
On March 29, 2018, the ATF published its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding a proposed ban on “Bump-Stock-Type Devices” in the Federal Register. (83 Fed. Reg. 13442.)
On June 19, 2018, attorneys at Firearms Industry Consulting Group submitted over 900 pages of analysis and documents, along with multiple video exhibits, on behalf of FPC and FPF (the “FPC Opposition”) in opposition to the ATF’s proposed rulemaking. In the FPC Opposition, and by separate letter to ATF Acting Director Thomas E. Brandon, FIGG (on behalf of FPC and FPF) demanded a hearing before any final rulemaking action pursuant to the right codified under 18 U.S.C. § 926(b).
The comment period for ATF rulemaking docket no. 2017R-22 will close on June 27, 2018, at midnight Eastern Daylight Time.
SUMMARY OF OPPOSITION ARGUMENTS
  • ATF’s Proposed Rulemaking (docket no. 2017R-22) is procedurally flawed and violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA)
  • ATF’s proposed rule violates the Constitution in numerous ways, including:
    • I – Separation of Powers
    • I – Ex Post Facto Clause
    • Fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms protected under the Second Amendment
    • Rights to due process, fair notice, and just compensation for the taking of property protected under the Fifth Amendment
  • ATF’s proposed rule exceeds its statutory authority
  • ATF’s proposed rule is arbitrary and capricious
  • ATF’s proposed rule is unconstitutionally vague
  • ATF failed to consider viable and precedential alternatives
  • ATF’s proposed rule is not supported by policy considerations
  • ATF’s proposed rule “should be withdrawn and summarily discarded, or, in the alternative, ATF should elect Alternative 1 and abandon the proposed rulemaking in its entirety.”
RELATED NEWS RELEASES
Oct. 6, 2017: Firearms Policy Coalition Repudiates Proposed Bans on Semi-Automatic Firearms and Accessories, Including “Bump Fire” Stocks – http://bit.ly/fpc-2017-10-6-bumpstocks
Jan. 25, 2018: FPC Says ATF ‘Bump Stock’ Regulation Proposal is “Illegal” – http://bit.ly/fpc-2018-1-25-bumpstock-ban-illegal
Feb. 20, 2018: FPC Calls President Trump’s ‘Bump Stock’ Ban “Lawless” – http://bit.ly/fpc-2018-2-20-trump-ban-lawless
Feb. 26, 2018: President Trump Says He Will ‘Write Out’ Bump Stocks Without Congress; Two Second Amendment Groups Initiate Legal Action to Oppose Ban – http://bit.ly/fpc-2018-2-26-trump-bumpstocks
LIST OF DOCUMENTS AND EXHIBITS FILED
All documents and videos listed below are available online at https://www.firearmspolicy.org/fpc-fpf-opposition-atf-bump-stock-ban.
FPC and FPF’s Comments in Opposition to Proposed Rule ATF 2017R-22
Exhibit 1 – FICG Expedited FOIA request dated March 30, 2018
Exhibit 2 – LVMPD Preliminary Investigative Report, January 18, 2018
Exhibit 3 – Video: Iraqveteran8888, Worlds Fastest Shooter vs Bump Fire! – Guns Reviews, YouTube, October 13, 2014
Exhibit 4 – Video: Miculek.com, AR-15 5 shots in 1 second with fastest shooter ever, Jerry Miculek (Shoot Fast!), YouTube, June 20, 2013
Exhibit 5 – Carl Bussjaeger, [Update] Bumbling Machinations on Bump Stocks?, April 2, 2018 and [Updated] Bump-fire Rule: “Comments Not Accepted”, March 30, 2018
Exhibit 6 – Motion in Limine, United States v. Friesen, CR-08-041-L (W.D. Okla. Mar. 19, 2009)
Exhibit 7 – John Bresnahan and Seung Min Kim, Attorney General Eric Holder held in contempt of Congress, June 28, 2012
Exhibit 8 – Testimony of Gary Schaible, United States v. Rodman, et al., CR-10-01047-PHX-ROS
Exhibit 9 – Senator Diane Feinstein, Feinstein: Congress Shouldn’t Pass the Buck on Bump-Fire Stocks, October 11, 2017
Exhibit 10 – ATF Determinations
Exhibit 11 – Video: Shooting Videos, Rapid manual trigger manipulation (Rubber Band Assisted), YouTube, December 14, 2006
Exhibit 12 – Video: StiThis1, AK-47 75 round drum Bumpfire!!!, YouTube, September 5, 2011
Exhibit 13 – Video: ThatGunGuy45, ‘Bump Fire’ without a bump-fire stock, courtesy of ThatGunGuy45, YouTube, October 13, 2017
Exhibit 14 – Video: M45, How to bumpfire without bumpfire stock, YouTube, October 8, 2017
Exhibit 15 – Verified Declaration of Damien Guedes
Exhibit 16 – Verified Declaration of Matthew Thompson
Exhibit 17 – Video: Vice News, Meet One Of The Analysts Who Determined That Bump Stocks Were Legal, YouTube, October 11, 2017
Exhibit 18- Video: Fastest Shooter OF ALL TIME! Jerry Miculek | Incredible Shooting Montage, DailyMotion, 2014
Exhibit 19- Gun Control Act of 1968, 82 Stat. 1235
Exhibit 20 – 26 C.F.R. § 179.120
Exhibit 21 – Joshua Prince, Violating Due Process: Convictions Based on the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record When its ‘Files are Missing’, September 28, 2008
Exhibit 22 – Eric Larson’s testimony and exhibits of April 3, 1998, before the House Committee on Appropriations
Exhibit 23 – ATF Quarterly Roll Call Lesson Plan, July 12, 2012
Exhibit 24 – Eric M. Larson, How Firearms Registration Abuse & the “Essential Operational Mechanism” of Guns May Adversely Affect Gun Collectors, Gun Journal, March 1998
Exhibit 25 – U.S. Government’s Brief in Support of Cross Motion For Summary Judgment And In Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion For Summary Judgment, Freedom Ordinance Mfg. Inc., v. Thomas E. Brandon, Case No. 3:16-cv-243-RLY-MPB
Exhibit 26 – Video: Molon Labe, hogan 7 m16.wmv, YouTube, October 25, 2011
Exhibit 27 – Testimony of ATF Senior Analyst Richard Vasquez in U.S. v. One Historic Arms Model54RCCS, No. 1:09-CV-00192-GET
Exhibit 28 – Video: Adam Kraut Esq. and Patton Media and Consulting, Bump Stock Analytical Video, June 14, 2018
Exhibit 29 – National Firearms Act: Hearings Before the Committee on Ways and Means, H.R. Rep. No. 9066, 73rd Cong. 2nd Sess. April 16, 18, and May 14, 15, and 16 1934
Exhibit 30 – Testimony of Police Chief J. Thomas Manger
Exhibit 31 – ProPublica, Workers’ Comp Benefits: How Much is a Limb Worth?, March 5, 2015
Exhibit 32 – Verified Declaration of former ATF Acting Chief of FTB Rick Vasquez
Exhibit 33 – Verified Declaration of Jonathan Patton of Patton Media and Consulting
Exhibit 34 – FICG’s Letter on Behalf of FPC to Acting Director Brandon
Exhibit 35 – FPC’s January 25, 2018 Letter in Opposition to ATF’s ANPRM re: “Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices”

Daniel Easterday Talks About Gun Rights In Deerfield

Daniel Easterday, a resident of Deerfield, Illinois and the name plaintiff in the lawsuit against Deerfield, was interviewed by Dana Loesch of NRA-TV. It’s a short interview – less than two minutes – but the most interesting part in my opinion is who he first credits. It is my friends from the Firearms Policy Coalition Brandon Combs and Alan Normandy.

The Firearms Policy Coalition is a small gun rights group on the national scene when compared to the NRA, GOA, and SAF. Their size and their background from the fight for gun rights in California has given them an agility that is essential in the fight against the corporate, big money, gun control lobby.  A few bucks sent their way goes a long way.

California AG Becerra And Cal DOJ Served With Petition By Firearms Policy Coalition

I’ll say right off the bat that I don’t understand policies and procedures in California. While it is a beautiful state with bad roads and even worse gun laws, their legal and administrative procedures are a bit of a mystery to me. When I received the notice below from the Firearms Policy Coalition, I wondered why a petition with signatures was being served on the attorney general. After I started to read the petition – written by a North Carolina lawyer no less! – I started to understand that citizens and groups in California use petitions to put government officials on legal notice about their action. In this case, it has to do with underground and unpublished firearms regulations that the California Court of Appeals had enjoined AG Xavier Becerra (D-CA) from enforcing.

You can read the release along with the link to the petition below:

SACRAMENTO, CA (May 23, 2018) — Today, civil rights
advocates at Firearms Policy Coalition have
issued the following statement:
 
Recently, Attorney General Becerra said, “Here in
California, we respect the Constitution and follow the law.”
But neither is true. 
 
This morning, our Legislative Advocate, Craig DeLuz, served
on California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and his
Department of Justice a petition challenging their illegal
underground regulation
. This petition was also sent to
the Office of Administrative Law, the state’s regulatory
watchdog agency.
 
In spite of an unanimously-decided Court of Appeal
published opinion issued in February, and a permanent
injunction issued weeks ago, Becerra’s DOJ continues to
promulgate and enforce that same illegal underground
regulation. Their stunning and troubling disregard for lawful
court orders is contrary to the rule of law. 
 
Becerra’s weaponized Department of Justice regularly
attacks the fundamental rights and property of law-abiding gun
owners in law enforcement actions, their lobbying of the
Legislature, and litigation. 
 
Indeed, Becerra and his army of anti-gun DOJ lawyers and
special agents ignore the text of the Constitution and
California’s statutes, forcing their anti-gun agenda on
millions of people—the law and civil rights be damned.
 
Becerra also recently said that, “in California, we believe
our communities are safest when we have trust between our law
enforcement & the communities they serve.” But such trust
is impossible, and undeserved, when the state’s top law
enforcement officer shows a total lack of regard for the
People, their rights, and the laws he has a duty to follow and
enforce fairly. 
 
If Attorney General Becerra and the Department of Justice
want to build trust and be respected, they should start by
being trust-worthy and giving respect to law-abiding gun
owners and their fundamental, individual right to keep and
bear arms.

Supporting Both The First And Second Amendments

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When it comes to gun rights organizations, we need both the large and the small. The large like the NRA because its mere size gets politicians attention on Capitol Hill. The small because unlike the NRA they can be and are more agile.

A case in point on why we need the smaller and more agile gun rights organizations was just made yesterday by the Firearms Policy Coalition and their 503(c)(3) counterpart the Firearms Policy Foundation. Kids in school are being pressured by their peers, by their teachers, by their administrators, and by the media to participate in classroom walkouts in support of gun control. But what about the kids who support the Constitution and all of the Bill of Rights and what about the parents who just want their kids to get an education and not be politicized? Who stands up for them?

The Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation have started a website called K12speech.com and a 21-page guide for parents and students meant to protect pro-gun students. I’ve read the guide and it is very well done. It contains sample letters and emails, documentation including relevant court rulings, tips on how to make FOIA requests, and instructions on how to document your interaction with school officials. You can download the guide here. There is also a legal action hotline and dedicated email address in order to seek help.

Here is the release announcing the program:

SACRAMENTO, CA (April 19, 2018) — Responding to recent student “walkout” events and demonstrations that advocate for more gun control, like the “March For Our Lives” political operation, civil rights advocacy organizations Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) and Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) have published a new guide to protect pro-gun students and their rights. The 21-page publication, available for free download at www.k12speech.com, is entitled “K-12 Schools, Free Speech, and the Fundamental, Individual Right to Keep and Bear Arms: A Guide to How Students Can Use Their First Amendment Rights to Defend and Promote Second Amendment Rights.”

In addition to providing information and tools that parents and students can use to make sure they are not forced into participating in speech or demonstrations they disagree with, the guide contains materials that may help them plan counter-speech to gun control advocacy events or organize pro-gun rights demonstrations or expressive conduct. It also includes sample letters that parents could edit and use to notify schools of a student’s disagreement with a gun control event’s viewpoint, request information and policies, and help ensure that school officials respect the rights of all students. Additionally, there are sections on how one might acquire public records or information to investigate the use of government assets or funds – like school facilities, equipment, supplies, staff time, and contractors – for gun control advocacy and demonstrations, like walkouts, a log that students can use to take notes and document gun control events at schools, and some relevant provisions of the United States Constitution for reference.

“It is more important than ever to make sure that all viewpoints are equally represented and respected in schools,” said FPF Chairman and FPC President Brandon Combs. “Many students and parents we’ve spoken with are deeply concerned that schools are hostile to pro-gun rights views and speech. We hope our new guide helps students and parents exercise their rights and make informed decisions. And if their rights are violated, we definitely want to hear about it. Our legal team would be delighted to help make sure that public schools, staff, and teachers respect the rights of their pro-Second Amendment students.”

Craig DeLuz, an FPC spokesperson and 13-year member of a public school district’s board of trustees, explained that schools can’t support one viewpoint and suppress others. “Schools and teachers cannot be allowed to allow or support speech and viewpoints they agree with while suppressing or prohibiting peaceful, non-disruptive speech and viewpoints they disagree with. Our public schools must not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the context of constitutionally-protected free speech.”

If a student or parent believes they were discriminated against, threatened or disciplined for peacefully expressing their views, punished for refusing to participate in a gun control walkout or demonstration, or threatened with law enforcement action for their pro-gun speech, they can submit a report to the FPF/FPC Legal Action Hotline at www.firearmpolicy.org/hotline or by calling (855) 252-4510.

Craig DeLuz, the media spokesperson for FPC and FPF, does a regular video broadcast called Coffee with Craig. The episode below goes into detail about the K12speech.com project.

This effort may seem a little counter-revolutionary but it is what is needed to fight the corporate gun control industry and their “Red Guard” of David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez.

And In Your Morning News From The DOJ…

The Beltway method of releasing news that you don’t want to get a lot of attention is to release it on a Friday afternoon. I’m guessing the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is taking it a step further with this release regarding bump fire stocks.

From the DOJ:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Saturday, March 10, 2018


Department of Justice Submits Notice of Proposed Regulation Banning Bump Stocks

Today the Department of Justice submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the definition of “machinegun” in the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act includes bump stock type devices, and that federal law accordingly prohibits the possession, sale, or manufacture of such devices.

“President Trump is absolutely committed to ensuring the safety and security of every American and he has directed us to propose a regulation addressing bump stocks,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “To that end, the Department of Justice has submitted to the Office of Management and Budget a notice of a proposed regulation to clarify that the National Firearms and Gun Control Act defines ‘machinegun’ to include bump stock type devices.”

This submission is a formal requirement of the regulatory review process. Once approved by the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Justice will seek to publish this notice as expeditiously as possible.

I don’t have a need, want, desire, or love for bump fire stocks. I do, however, believe in the rule of law. 26 USC Chapter 53 § 5845 (b) defines a machinegun as:

Machinegun. The term ‘machinegun’ means 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. 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 of a person.

Arbitrarily saying that a bump fire stock is the same as a machinegun flies in the face of both the black letter law and in the face of numerous BATFE regulatory rulings. It makes a mockery of the rule of law and should be condemned as such. If the DOJ and the Trump Administration want to ban bump fire stocks, they should, as I suggested in my own comment on the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, submit a bill to Congress to add them to the NFA and GCA 68.

In the meantime, I plan to send a few buck to the Firearms Policy Coalition as they have already hired attorneys Adam Kraut and Joshua Prince to submit their comments and fight this in court. By the way, donations to fight this are tax-deductible.

Firearms Policy Coalition Is Preparing For Litigation On Bump Stocks

President Donald Trump, the black letter law notwithstanding, told the nation’s governors on Monday that he is “writing out” bump fire stocks.

“Bump stocks, we are writing that out. I am writing that out,” he said, addressing a group of state governors at the White House. “I don’t care if Congress does it or not, I’m writing it out myself.”

The president’s comments come after the Feb. 14 shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 students and staff dead. Last week, he directed the Department of Justice to create regulations that ban bump stocks.

Trump also said bump stocks should be put into the same category as certain firearms, making it “tough” to get them.

“You do a rule, have to wait 90 days,” he said. “That’s sort of what’s happening with bump stocks. It’s gone, don’t worry about it. It’s gone, essentially gone, because we are going to make it so tough, you’re not going to be able to get them. Nobody’s going to want them anyway.”

Now yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he thinks the Department of Justice has the legal authority to prohibit bump fire stocks.

“We believe in that, and we have had to deal with previous [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] ATF legal opinions, but our top people in the Department of Justice have believed for some time that we can, through regulatory process, not allow the bump stock to convert a weapon from a semi-automatic to a fully automatic,” Sessions told state attorneys general, according to Reuters.

ATF has previously said that it does not have the authority to regulate bump stocks, which increase the firing rate of semi-automatic rifles.

For once, I think BATFE actually got it right when they said they don’t have the authority to regulated bump fire stocks. So does the Firearms Policy Coalition.

They have retained attorneys Joshua Prince and Adam Kraut of the Firearms Industry Consulting Group to submit their response when the rulemaking is announced and to help with any litigation related to the rulemaking. They have promised to go to court if any rule banning bump fire stocks is adopted without any Congressional change in the law.

From their release sent out Monday evening:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 26, 2018) — In a press conference today, President Donald Trump
said
that, “I don’t care of Congress does it or not, I’m writing [so-called
‘bump stocks’] out myself.” In response to these troubling statements,
constitutional rights advocacy organizations
Firearms
Policy Coalition
(FPC) and
Firearms
Policy Foundation

(FPF) have announced that they have retained attorneys Joshua Prince
and Adam Kraut
of the Pennsylvania-based Firearms Industry Consulting
Group, a division of Civil
Rights Defense Firm, P.C., to submit their legal opposition to any
rulemaking and begin preparing for litigation.
 Last month,
FPC
submitted a legal letter of opposition

to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ advanced
noticed of proposed rulemaking on the “Application of the Definition of
Machinegun
to Bump Fire Stocks and Other Similar Devices.” In its comments, FPC
explained that the “DOJ and BATFE clearly lack the statutory authority
to re-define the targeted devices as ‘machineguns’,” and that these
ATF-approved and legally-possessed devices could
not be regulated firearms under the statutes.
 FPC and FPF oppose
restrictions on the acquisition, possession, carry, transportation, and
use of semi-automatic firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts and
accessories by law-abiding people.
 “We will use every resource
and remedy available to us in our ongoing defense of the Constitution,
the rights it protects, and millions of law-abiding American people”
said FPC President Brandon Combs. “While we would
prefer to block any executive action or rulemaking that would ban
currently-legal firearms parts before it becomes law, we would not
hesitate to file a federal lawsuit to protect the rights and legal
personal property of gun owners if that’s what it takes.”
 Those who wish to support
FPC and FPF’s efforts to oppose executive branch gun control and support
legal action a can make tax-deductible donation at
www.defendgunparts.com.
Individuals can become a member of FPC at
www.firearmspolicy.org/join. Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org)
is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit
organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution
of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second
Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
 Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org)
is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to
defend the Constitution
of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities
deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the
inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.
 Firearms Industry Consulting Group
(www.firearmsindustryconsultinggroup.com) represents individuals,
organizations, firearms licensees, and others
located across the United States in all matters relating to firearms
and ATF compliance. FIGG is a division of Civil Rights Defense Firm,
P.C.
 

As an aside, the Adam Kraut mentioned in the release is the same Adam Kraut running for the NRA Board of Directors and the same Adam Kraut I have wholeheartedly endorsed. 

Firearms Policy Coalition Promises Cost Will Be High For BATFE If They Ban Bump Stocks

Last night at midnight EST, the comment period on the BATFE’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking closed. My comment was submitted last Saturday so that I wouldn’t forget it in all the hub-bub of the SHOT Show.

The Firearms Policy Coalition submitted their comment yesterday (on time). Their release below makes some very good points especially on the costs of implementing such a rule. It is important to bear in mind that if BATFE were to create a ruling banning bump fire or slide fire stocks, they would be making it up out of whole cloth. In other words, they would be assuming extra-constitutional powers that have no basis in either legislation or the rule of law.

Furthermore, there is the cost issue. There will be millions spent on enforcing an illegal law as well as untold millions on litigation. The Firearms Policy Coalition is upfront in saying that they will go to Federal court if the BATFE does create a regulation banning or regulating bump fire stocks. That said, I hope that cooler heads will prevail and any further moves towards a new regulation die in infancy.

From the FPC:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 25, 2018) — Today, civil rights advocacy organization Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) submitted formal comments to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) regarding a regulatory proposal that would apply the definition of ‘machinegun’ to so-called “bump fire stocks” and countless other devices. In a letter sent by FPC President Brandon Combs, the group called the proposal “troubling” and said that it “raises serious constitutional concerns, including the violation of the separation of powers.”

“The DOJ and BATFE clearly lack the statutory authority to re-define the targeted devices as ‘machineguns.’” But the gun rights group said that, if the government does re-classify so-called “bump stocks” and other devices to be “machineguns” under federal law, they would file a federal lawsuit that “would provide an excellent vehicle for the Supreme Court to re-visit and eliminate the made-up judicial construct of agency deference”—something many Supreme Court justices have signaled as an issue they may revisit soon.

FPC also said that the proposed ban would come at a high price. “These costs would necessarily include likely millions of dollars in BATFE implementation and enforcement costs, in addition to potentially millions of dollars in fending off the inevitable litigation arising from the serious constitutional and statutory violations engendered by this regulatory process,” FPC argued. “Moreover, American taxpayers would also likely be stuck with the bill for the plaintiffs’ attorneys fees and costs should the government fail in attempting to defend this illegal and unconstitutional action.”

After the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, FPC released a statement ( http://bit.ly/fpc-las-vegas ) saying that, even “in troubled and troubling times like these, we are honor-bound to stand united in defense of fundamental, individual liberties, in all cases, and in spite of the incalculable grief we feel for the victims of Las Vegas as fellow human beings.”

In a subsequent statement ( http://bit.ly/fpc-2017-10-6 ) FPC repudiated proposed bans on semi-automatic firearms and accessories, including “bump fire” stocks. “All unconstitutional laws are unjust, illegitimate, and offensive to the rule of law—even if they are enacted in response to a very real tragedy. FPC opposes all restrictions on the acquisition, possession, carry, and use of common, semi-automatic firearms, ammunition, and accessories by law-abiding people.”

Later in October, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra issued a news release declaring “bump stock” devices to be “multiburst trigger activators” and “illegal in California.” But FPC responded days later ( http://bit.ly/fpc-becerra-illegal-bump-stocks ) and said that it was Becerra’s statements that were “disingenuous at best and probably illegal.” Said FPC President Brandon Combs at the time, “Not only is Attorney General Becerra’s so-called ‘news release’ inaccurate and misleading, it is almost certainly an illegal underground regulation.”

California Sued Over New AWB Regulations

A coalition of gun rights organizations plus three individual plaintiffs have sued California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the California Department of Justice over newly adopted regulations concerning the assault weapons ban on bullet buttons. The suit was filed in California Superior Court for the County of Riverside.

The CalGuns Foundation has this summary of the case:

Summary: Holt, et al. v. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is a constitutional, statutory, and Administrative Procedure Act (APA) challenge to the DOJ’s “bullet-button assault weapon” regulations. The DOJ’s regulations expose people to criminal liability that would not otherwise exist under the actual laws regulating firearms in California.
Individual Plaintiffs/Petitioners: George Holt, Irvin Hoff, Michael Louie, and Rick Russell are all law-abiding, tax-paying residents of California who lawfully own firearms potentially subject to the DOJ’s illegal regulatory scheme. 
Institutional Plaintiffs/Petitioners: Firearms Policy Coalition; Firearms Policy FoundationThe Calguns FoundationSecond Amendment Foundation
Defendants: Xavier Becerra, Attorney General of California; Stephen J. Lindley, Chief of the Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms; the California Department of Justice; Debra N. Cornez, Director of the Office of Administrative Law; Betty T. Yee, California State Controller; Does 1-50,
Litigation Counsel: George M. Lee; Douglas A. Applegate; Raymond M. DiGuiseppe

The complaint can be found here.

The institutional plaintiffs – SAF, CalGuns Foundation, Firearms Policy Coalition, and Firearms Policy Foundation – released a joint statement on the lawsuit.

Gun Owners & Civil Rights Groups File Legal Challenge to California’s “Assault Weapon” Regulations

The lawsuit argues that the State’s “bullet-button assault weapon” regulations are largely unlawful, should have been subject to the Administrative Procedure Act process, waste taxpayer dollars, and should not be allowed to stand.

SACRAMENTO, CA (November 30, 2017) — Today, attorneys for four individual gun owners as well as advocacy organizations The Calguns Foundation (CGF), Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC), and Firearms Policy Foundation (FPF) filed a new lawsuit and petition for writ of mandate that challenges more than a dozen new “assault weapon” regulations ramrodded into effect by the State of California’s Department of Justice (DOJ).

Named as defendants are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Chief of the DOJ Bureau of Firearms Stephen Lindley, the California Department of Justice itself, Director of the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) Debra Cornez, and State Controller Betty Yee.

Plaintiffs’ attorney George M. Lee said that the lawsuit was focused on protecting law-abiding people from illegal regulatory and enforcement actions.

“By making and enforcing unlawful rules, and going around the rules to do it, the DOJ is putting tens if not hundreds of thousands of law-abiding people at risk of serious criminal liability,” said Lee. “This case seeks to make the DOJ follow the same laws they impose on others and protect law-abiding gun owners in the process.”

“The DOJ is acting like an out-of-control bullet train that’s running off the rails,” said plaintiffs’ attorney and former Deputy Attorney General Raymond DiGuiseppe. “Our plaintiffs want to get the State’s agencies back on the tracks and following the law.”

CGF Chairman Gene Hoffman notes, “The DOJ has used every trick in the book to avoid good faith rulemaking action, and we cannot allow that to go unchallenged. California laws are bad enough without piling on unlawful and harmful regulations, so we seek here to restore the rule of law—and some sanity.”

“The government agencies responsible for enforcing the law must also follow the law,” SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said. “This case is an important step in protecting law-abiding gun owners from an out-of-control regulatory state.”

“The DOJ is playing a dangerous game with the law, and it needs to stop,” observed FPF Vice President Jonathan Jensen. “Tens of thousands of people could face potential felonies in just a handful of months, and meanwhile the DOJ has moved the goalposts with the registration clock ticking.”

“The State of California is nothing short of bipolar with its gun control policies,” commented FPC President Brandon Combs. “On one hand, the State is requiring people to register virtually all of their guns. On the other hand, the DOJ is doing everything it can to suppress compliance and prevent people from registering their guns.”

A copy of the complaint and petition for writ of mandate can be viewed or downloaded at http://bit.ly/holt-v-becerra.

CASE BACKGROUND:

Last July, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a number of new gun control bills into law, including two (SB 880, Hall; AB 1135, Levine) expanding the State’s ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

“The Legislature ignored every rule in the book to fast-track their civilian disarmament agenda and herd the people into a state-wide gun-free-zone,” said FPC Spokesperson Craig DeLuz in a statement at the time.

Following that, last December, the California DOJ submitted its first attempt at “assault weapons” regulations under the OAL’s “File & Print” process, which means that the DOJ claimed the regulations were not subject to the public notice or comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).

However, DOJ withdrew the regulations near the end of OAL review period after receiving thousands of opposition letters from FPC members and Second Amendment supporters.

Then, in May of this year, the DOJ re-submitted regulations under the same “File & Print” process. FPC, FPF, CGF, and Craig DeLuz sued the DOJ over the Department’s actions of blocking access to public records concerning its promulgation of these regulations. The regulations were completely rejected by OAL a little more than a month later.

Following that, the DOJ submitted a virtually-identical set of regulations under the “File & Print” process, again claiming “APA-exempt” status. The OAL approved those regulations in July, allowing the DOJ to go forward with its new “assault weapon” regulatory process.

Then, just before closing doors for the Thanksgiving holiday, the DOJ notified FPC and other Institutional Plaintiffs that it had filed yet another proposed rulemaking on “bullet-button assault weapons” (that would create new 11 CCR § 5460) for the purpose of bootstrapping its prior July regulations into effect for all purposes including criminal prosecutions.

FPC published the new proposed regulations and prior regulatory updates at BulletButtonBan.com, a Web site it established in 2016 for tracking the new California assault weapon laws and regulations. Members of the public can use FPC’s Grassroots Action Tools to submit responsive written comments to DOJ regarding the new proposed regulations.

A public hearing on the new regulations is scheduled for 10 a.m. on January 8, 2018, at the Resources Building Auditorium in Sacramento.

ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL PLAINTIFFS:

Plaintiffs George Holt, Irvin Hoff, Michael Louie, and Rick Russell are all law-abiding, tax-paying residents of California who lawfully own firearms potentially subject to the DOJ’s illegal regulatory scheme. This scheme would retroactively deem their firearms “assault weapons” that either must now be registered as such through a burdensome and wasteful registration process or that cannot be registered all, effectively rendering any continued possession unlawful. The DOJ’s regulations expose them to criminal liability that would not otherwise exist under the actual laws regulating firearms in California.

The plaintiffs have joined this lawsuit to stand against the illegal regulatory actions of the DOJ and protect their rights and the rights of countless other law-abiding California gun owners being placed in jeopardy.

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS:

The Calguns Foundation (www.calgunsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that serves its members, supporters, and the public through educational, cultural, and judicial efforts to advance Second Amendment and related civil rights.

Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, through advocacy, legal action, education, and outreach.

Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.

Firearms Policy Coalition Seeks Improvements In HR 38

The Firearms Policy Coalition is headquartered in Sacramento, California. Being as they are in one of the bluest states with some of the worst gun laws, they are hoping for passage of HR 38. However, they want to make it better for those who live in states like California, New York, New Jersey, etc. They also want the bill to include those living in Federal districts like DC, commonwealths like Puerto Rico, and other territories like the Northern Mariana Islands.

Many legal scholars agree with the FPC that the bill would be on stronger Constitutional grounds if it was based not on the commerce clause. The FPC would like to see the right to carry nationally be based upon the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms. They hold that this would reinforce the rulings in Heller and McDonald.

Their full release with embedded links to their proposed changes is below:

SACRAMENTO,
CA (November 28, 2017) — Yesterday, Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC)
sent a second letter regarding H.R.38 (the Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Act of 2017) to bill sponsor Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) and House
co-sponsors. The letter says the pro-gun bill could potentially “leave
law-abiding people exposed” because of “a byzantine patchwork of state
and local prohibitions” and suggested solutions to 6 individual legal
problems in the bill’s text.
The
group’s concerns also include “vague and undefined terms,” an exemption
to the federal Gun Free School Zone Act they say is “of limited
utility,” and the bill’s total reliance on
“constitutionally-antagonistic Commerce Clause doctrine.” FPC also
suggests that the measure’s scope be extended to include protections for
people in places that are not a “State or political subdivision
thereof,” like Washington, D.C. (a federal district), as well as
commonwealths, republics, and territories “administered or controlled by
the United States (i.e., American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana
Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).”
FPC’s
letter says that, if H.R38 is passed without some important changes, it
“may very well indirectly cause people to be prosecuted and lose their
Second Amendment rights over harmless mistakes.” And, if “H.R.38 is not
amended to address our concerns,” they “predict that this
well-intentioned measure would leave millions of peaceful and
law-abiding people exposed to serious criminal liability.”
“As
we said in March, H.R.38 is a significant piece of legislation
that—properly amended to address the issues discussed above—would
establish one of the greatest, if not the greatest, legislative
advancements of Second Amendment rights so far in the history of our
federal government,” said FPC President Brandon Combs in the letter.
“And with just a few simple but important changes, H.R.38 could unlock
and protect the Second Amendment right to bear arms for all law-abiding
people—especially where it is denied today.”
Explained
FPC Spokesperson Craig DeLuz, “Any bill that seeks to expand the right
to keep and bear arms must be carefully crafted to ensure protection for
all law-abiding people, but especially for those in ‘battleground
states’ and cities hostile to Second Amendment rights.”
“If
a bill doesn’t protect people in places like California, New York, New
Jersey, and Maryland, then it doesn’t really get the job done,” DeLuz
concluded. “Our reasonable suggested amendments would help ensure that
people in anti-gun jurisdictions can exercise their fundamental,
individual right to bear arms.” 
A copy of FPC’s letters supporting H.R.38 can be viewed or downloaded at http://bit.ly/support-hr-38. Gun owners who wish to send letters supporting H.R.38 may use FPC’s free Grassroots Action Tools at http://bit.ly/support-hr-38.
FPC has also established #OurGunVote, a grassroots campaign to urge pro-gun bill passage in the House and Senate, available at http://www.ourgunvote.com/.
H.R.38 is scheduled to be next heard by the House Judiciary Committee at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, November 29.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org)
is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to
protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the
fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

Pre-Thanksgiving Present For California Gun Owners

When politicians want to announce news or launch a new policy and they don’t want it to get a lot of attention they release it without fanfare on either a Friday afternoon or the afternoon before the beginning of a long holiday weekend. Such is the case with the California Department of Justice and their newly announced “assault weapons” regulations. The 52 pages of the new regulations can be found here.

The Firearms Policy Coalition challenged their rulemaking in the past and won based upon how they sought to implement them without public comment. According to their release below, I think it is reasonable to expect more challenges to these regulations and the implementation of them by the California Department of Justice.

From FPC:

SACRAMENTO,
CA (November 22, 2017) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has issued the
following statement regarding the latest California Department of
Justice (DOJ) proposed regulations on so-called “assault weapons”:
Once again, the California DOJ and Attorney General Xavier Becerra have used 11th-hour
tactics to push its anti-gun agenda, this time by releasing new
proposed “assault weapons” regulations right before a major holiday.
FPC has published the new proposed regulations at BulletButtonBan.com
a Web site it established in 2016 for tracking the new California
assault weapon laws and regulations — where members of the public can
use FPC’s grassroots action tools to submit written comments to DOJ
regarding the proposed regulations. A public hearing on the new
regulations is scheduled for 10 a.m. on January 8, 2018, at the
Resources Building Auditorium in Sacramento.
Last
December, the California DOJ submitted its first attempt at “assault
weapons” regulations under the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) “File
& Print” process, which means that the DOJ believed the regulations
were not subject to public notice or comment. However, thousands of FPC
members and Second Amendment supporters sent letters opposing the secret
process through FPC’s grassroots tools and, without further comment,
the DOJ withdrew the regulations near the end of OAL review period.
Then,
in May, the DOJ re-submitted regulations under the same “File &
Print” process. Those regulations were summarily rejected by OAL a
little more than a month later. Following that, the DOJ submitted a
virtually-identical set of regulations under the “File & Print”
process, which OAL approved in July.
Now,
the Department is attempting to promulgate a new regulation to apply
the July regulations to all aspects of the State’s “assault weapons”
laws, including for purposes of criminal prosecutions.
FPC’s
attorneys are hard at work reviewing the regulations and have been
instructed to take every appropriate legal action to defend California
gun owners and individual liberties.
Earlier
this year, FPC was forced to sue the DOJ over the Department’s actions
to block access to public records and a previous version of the
regulations.