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”

Wednesday Is The Last Day To Comment On ATF’s Proposed Retroactive Ban On Bump Stocks

Tomorrow, Wednesday, June 28th at 11:59pm EDT, is the close of the comment period on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives proposed ban on bump fire stocks. According to the legal sophistry of the DOJ lawyers, the BATFE erred when it said bump fire stocks did not violate the National Firearms Act. Thus, if the rule is adopted, bump fire stocks will be treated as machine guns and since they were produced after the Hughes Amendment was enacted they will be destroyed without compensation.

Bump fire stocks are a novelty to me. However, more important is how this ruling could be used to expand restrictions on all semi-automatic firearms, trigger upgrades, and the list goes on. To paraphrase Pastor Martin Niemoller’s quote about the Nazis, “first they came for the bump fire stocks and I did not speak out because I didn’t own a bump fire stock…”

The corporate gun ban lobby has been active in the last few days trying to solicit their members to submit comments. I’m sure they’ll get a lot that will ignore the law and play on emotion. While I’ll have another post up in the morning about the Firearms Policy Coalition’s 900+ page submission, for the time being here is a reminder from Grass Roots North Carolina.

STOP THE ‘BUMP-STOCK’ GUN BAN

The Dangerous Precedent of the ‘Bump-Stock’  ban.


The law that a ‘machine gun’ is defined by one trigger
pull firing multiple rounds
was written by congress and signed off on
by the executive branch.  But with
‘Writing It Out’
 the executive branch all by its
lonesome is going to magically redefine multiple trigger pulls as one so that they can call a bump-stock equipped semi-auto firearm a
‘machine gun’.  

Specifically, 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.

The trigger still has to be pulled for every shot, but with the word
play magic, those additional trigger pulls are going to be ‘written out’ so with supposedly one trigger pull, you have a
‘Machine gun’!

It’s a semi-automatic
miracle! 
    


If the
required trigger pull for every shot has been ‘written out’ devices such as Bump-stocks, belt loops, rubber
bands or fingers will have to be banned since these can also turn that which is ‘semi-automatic’ into something that is
‘automatic’. 
But they can’t very well ban pants, rubber bands or fingers, so
they will have to ban semi-automatic firearms instead.
   
But wait!  There’s more!
   
With
this magical word play any gun that can
fire again with just a trigger pull could also be banned as a ‘machine
gun’, meaning revolvers or shotguns could also be eliminated.


See how easy it is to ban just about everything by just changing the meaning of a few
words?
Nancy Pelosi [Bless her heart]
openly admitted that she hoped the ‘Bump-Stock’ ban would lead to a slippery slope towards other restrictions on our
freedom.  
The
Left wants
to cynically exploit the recent shootings for political gain, This is
only round one of a coming battle to defend your Constitutional
rights.

IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED!

  • The end of the comment period is tomorrow: June 27,
    2018
      so you only have a short time to express your opinion on this important and far reaching
    issue.
  • Help GRNC reload for the coming
    battle
    The
    Left cannot stand it when you exercise your rights and they will stop at nothing to deprive you of them. 
  •  We desperately need money and volunteers for
    the upcoming battle. Please help by donating at:
    https://www.grnc.org/join-grnc/contribute

 

DELIVER THIS MESSAGE

This is in opposition to the ‘bump device’ ban, or any such rule.
  
 The Executive branch
of the Federal government cannot simply change the meaning of words to ‘write out’ things that are unpopular at the moment.

It also cannot turn
semi-automatic firearms into ‘machine guns’ with the stroke of a pen.  These firearms require multiple trigger pulls to fire. 
No amount of word magic can change that fact.


Attempting to do so will set a dangerous precedent with potential to put all guns on the
chopping block.  That will most certainly INFRINGE on the 2nd amendment. 


The Federal government has no authority to  change the meaning of words
that impact the law in this matter.
 
Respectfully,

A Timely Reminder From The Local Gun Prohibitionists

I want to thank North Carolinians Against Gun Violence, a wholly owned subsidiary of Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown, for this timely reminder.

Subject: Easy ASAP To Do: Email ATF on Bump Stocks by June 27 Comment Deadline


Jack —

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (aka ATF)
 is again receiving comments on bump stocks. The new comment deadline
is Wednesday, June 27. Simply click
here to comment.
.

Please take a moment to comment today. The other
side has been flooding ATF with comments against the proposed
regulation and we need to show public support for it.

–Becky

—————–

On the night of October 1,
2017, a gunman opened fire from a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the
Mandalay Bay hotel into the 22,000 person crowd at the Route 91
Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 people
and injuring more than 500. The gunman fired more than 1,100 rounds of
ammunition in 11 minutes, using semi-automatic rifles modified with
dangerous firearm accessories designed to dramatically accelerate the
rate of gunfire, commonly known as “bump fire stocks.” These devices
are intended to circumvent the restrictions on possession of fully
automatic firearms in the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the National
Firearms Act of 1934 by allowing an individual to modify a
semiautomatic rifle in such a manner that it operates with a similar
rate of fire as a fully automatic rifle, posing a substantial risk to
public safety.

In the absence of immediate
action by Congress, I urge ATF to finalize its proposed rule
clarifying that bump fire stocks, along with other “conversion
devices” that enable semiautomatic weapons to mimic automatic fire,
qualify as “machine guns” under the National Firearms Act. And then
Congress must act as well—to ensure that manufacturers cannot continue
to endanger public safety by designing devices that imitate machine
guns and subvert the law. The continued presence of these dangerous
devices puts all of our communities at risk, and both Congress and ATF
must take action quickly to address this threat.

North Carolinians Against Gun Violence

NCGV
http://www.ncgv.org/

While I may think bump fire stocks are a novelty and a good way to waste ammunition, I don’t want them banned. My rationale is that banning them is merely a first step towards more regulation of semi-automatic firearms of all sorts. The Department of Justice’s legal rationale as published is an exercise in legal sophistry and they know it. 

I would refer readers back to this post from April which features a video by Adam Kraut if you need some suggestions on how to respond to the request for comments. There is more on the comment period from Adam’s Prince Law Firm blog. You can also check out this Facebook page, Americans Opposed to ATF 2017R-22, for more ideas.

I’ll admit that I’m not an optimist when it comes to stopping this ban. However, getting objections on file is the key to bringing a lawsuit. Take 5-10 minutes and submit a comment. Make sure to include “ATF 2017R-22″ in your comment.

Comment Period Opens On Proposed Bump Stock Ban

Adam Kraut gives a good thumbnail overview of how to respond to the BATFE proposed rulemaking in the video below. He suggests taking a shotgun approach as the more objections you can raise, the more the BATFE has to work to respond to them. Moreover, if it isn’t brought up now, it can’t be brought up in court later.

Here is the document released by the lawyers of the Department of Justice with their legal rationale (or bullshit, to be more honest about it) saying why they can now define bump fire stocks as machine guns. It is important to note that if this rule is enacted then all existing bump fire stocks become contraband unregistered machine guns and must be destroyed or turned into BATFE. Why? That little amendment to FOPA 1986 called the Hughes Amendment comes into play as bump fire stocks were developed, manufactured, and sold after 1986.

Here is the correct link to the comments page.

I say correct link because www.regulations.gov has two links to the proposed regulations. One is the correct link and the other says comments are closed. Remember, never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence or stupidity.

So scan through the DOJ document to find areas on which to make comments. There is nothing to say you can’t make multiple comments on different things. The comment period closes on June 27, 2018 at 11:59pm. So do it now while it is still fresh in your mind.

ATF 41P: Deadline For Comments Is Monday At 11:59PM EST (Updated)

Back on September 9th, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives issued a proposed rule and opened the comment period. The proposed rule would require Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) signoff for all NFA transfers including ones for trusts, partnerships, and corporations. As we all know, in many areas, this is impossible to obtain and people go to NFA or gun trust route for just this reason.

The comment period is coming to an end tomorrow (Monday, December 9th) at 11:59pm EST. As of Saturday, BATFE has received 7,291 comments on the ATF 41P. From what I can tell, the overwhelming majority are firmly opposed to this proposed rule.

The American Silencer Association has an excellent page up on how to comment along with templates for your comments. I used one of their templates and then modified it.

Robb Allen at Sharp As A Marble has posted his comment which is much shorter and to the point. There are some variations in the comment section. I think any or all of them would make worthwhile comments to submit.

Jeff Know of The Firearms Coalition has his organization’s comment up here. They are pointing people to attorney John Pierce’s site for examples of short comments as well as some background information on the rulemaking effort. Mr. Pierce has nine suggested comments.

It is too late to mail a comment by the US Postal Service but it sure isn’t too late to use the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Just ID as being for ATF 41P.

All you need to do is cut and paste one of the suggested comments from the links above. It will push up the number opposing it and make it harder for the BATFE to justify going through with this nonsensical proposal.

Or at least it should!

UPDATE: The number of submissions as of Sunday night was 8,124. That means they received 833 comments or more than 10% of the total yesterday. Let’s see if we can double that today!

UPDATE II: The comments are now closed for ATF 41P.  David Codrea’s National Gun Rights Examiner column from Tuesday points to one of the more important submissions. It is from the Firearms Industry Consulting Group of the Prince Law Firm. The submission, which can be downloaded in its entirety here, is over 500 pages including appendices. The comment was submitted on Monday to the Federal and does make reference to a number of the earlier comments submitted.

David notes that:

The FICG comments raise serious questions about both ATF’s compliance with established rules and the law, as well as about the Bureau’s relationship with leaders of the National Firearms Act Trade and Collectors Association, which filed the petition ATF says prompted the rulemaking change proposal in the first place.

Joshua Prince, one of the two principal authors of the submission, says that the BATFE’s actions with regard to the rulemaking give plenty of cause for judicial review if the rule is adopted.

While our Comment may seem massive to some, with funding, a thorough Comment with evidentiary support, including expert affidavits, reports, and analysis, would have likely been almost double in size. Nevertheless, ATF’s failure to comply with the Administrative Procedure Act in a number of ways will allow for judicial review, if ATF decides to move forward with promulgating any final rule. If ATF is inclined to move forward with any final rule, it’s best course of action is to start anew and correct all of its violations of law. But, we know ATF won’t do that, because it cannot admit when it violates the law.

Hence, the Firearms Industry must prepare to fund the necessary litigation to invalidate any final rule.

Given the BATFE’s predilection for bending or breaking the law and with the Democrats’ packing of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, this rulemaking bears a lot of attention as it goes forward.