There are coincidences, and then there are coincidences that require the willful suspension of disbelief. Over the last couple weeks there has been a series of events and supposed missteps or misinfor...
There are coincidences, and then there are coincidences that require the willful suspension of disbelief. Over the last couple weeks there has been a series of events and supposed missteps or misinformation from or directed at the NRA regarding bump stocks, regulations, and legislation that when laid out look highly suspicious. Let’s review the timeline.
The NRA’s President Chris Cox and Vice President Wayne LaPierre come out with a joint statement about bump stocks, asking ATF to review the determination of their legality, and calling for more regulations.
"Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law."
"The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."
There was an immediate outcry from not just average gun owners and NRA members but also NRA board members over what was being considered a sellout by NRA leadership, supposedly giving Republicans their blessing to enact gun control without NRA opposition.
Marion Hammer, a Florida NRA lobbyist who was previously the President of the NRA, wrote a scathing email to NRA board members and others regarding their reaction to the NRA’s statement. In it, she blasted those who took issue with the statement calling them “Trojan Horse members”, and attempted to clarify what the statement actually meant and where leadership was coming from. It was titled “Misinformation and Distortion Anger Me”:
In 1934 the first federal gun control law in America was passed. The National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) became the law of the land. [Like] all good, honest, law-abiding Americans, the NRA obeys the law. The NFA regulates fully-automatic firearms and has done so for 83 years.
The “bump-stock” device... converts a semi-auto rifle to a full-auto rifle. Anyone who has ever used a bump-stock or watched a video demonstrating its use, can only conclude that it is a converter.
[The] bump-stock circumvents federal law. Regardless of the quality and reliability or lack thereof of this device – it converts a semi-auto to full-auto when installed.
Is it not clear to you that, just like the media, some members of the NRA Board are misinterpreting what the NRA has said?
[There] are “Trojan horse members” who are deliberately misinterpreting what the NRA has said.
This particular fight is about following existing law. If you don’t believe that bump-stocks convert semi-autos to full-autos then you have not seen what I have seen.
[We] simply need ATF to review it’s previous approval and enforce existing law. If ATF won’t do it on its own, President Trump should order ATF to review it’s ruling made under the Obama administration.
The only legislation we need to see on the floor of Congress right now is carry reciprocity and elimination of suppressor regulations.
Summed up, she is stating it is the NRA’s position that all anti-gun laws must be followed and they are law abiding law abiders, that the NRA believes bump stock circumvents current law and convert a semi auto to full auto, that the ATF needs to use current laws and regulations to ban the bump stock, and they need to get back to the NRA’s pet projects, reciprocity and suppressor re-regulation.
It should be noted that nothing happens in Florida without Marion Hammer’s blessing as it pertains to guns, and she reports to, gets orders from, and gets paid by LaPierre and NRA headquarters.
Meanwhile, officials at the ATF stated they couldn’t regulate bump stocks as converting a semi auto to full auto because current laws and regulations don’t allow it. It would be a violation of law and regulations to arbitrarily ban a product that conforms to existing law.
“We could not find a way to classify it as a machine gun,” ATF senior technical expert Rick Vasquez said.
So the position of the NRA is that it wants current AND additional regulations on bump stocks to classify them as machine guns, and the ATF is stating current regulations can’t do the trick. The only thing left to conclude is that there needs to be additional regulations, and for that there needs to be new legislation.
HR 3999 is introduced that does exactly what Marion Hammer and the NRA has stated it wants: for the ATF to have the regulatory authority to ban bump stocks. It states, “It shall be unlawful for any person… to manufacture, possess, or transfer any part or combination of parts that is designed to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle”. It was authored by Republican U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo, and co-sponsored by Republican U.S Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Dennis Ross... guess what state these Representatives are from? Florida - where nothing gun related happens without Marion Hammer’s blessing.
What other conclusion are we supposed to draw? The NRA wants bump stocks off the table because it’s a distraction to their goal of reciprocity and suppressor re-regulation.
But this bill does so much more than ban bump stocks, which it never mentions by name. It goes after anything that can conceivably increase the rate of fire without stating what the baseline rate of fire is supposed to be. It can effectively ban all semi auto rifles through regulation.
A function of semi auto triggers is that they can be bump fired, there’s no getting around that. If it recoils, it can be bump fired.
The 4th Circuit ruled that semi autos fall outside Second Amendment protections, using Scalia’s line, “M16s and the like” as justification since semi autos are “like” machine guns, having similar cosmetic features, firing the same calibers, and most importantly having a similar rate of fire. Now with bump firing becoming a popular term, it makes their fraudulent case that semi autos can have nearly the same rate of fire as a machine gun even if it still requires one pull of the trigger per round fired.
If the leadership of the NRA, against the wishes of its members and even its board members, wrote HR 3999, it will be the poison pill that regulates semi autos into extinction.
It’s a cringeworthy joke when people say Ronald Reagan passed more gun control than Barack Obama, but if this is true, if the NRA has anything to do with HR 3999, they will be more responsible for gun control than the Brady Campaign.