Posts Tagged ‘ATF’

“Function” Versus “Form”–Banning Bump Stocks

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017



by Elliot Fineman

CEO – Founder

National Gun Victims Action Council


October 10, 2017



There is a lot of excitement today in the media and at a number of Gun Violence Prevention Groups though not at NGVAC. They are pleased to see some bi-partisanship support for banning bump stocks and to hear that the NRA has indicated it would support such an initiative. Many are pleased that any gun regulation at the federal level is being considered at all.


Bump stocks allow the conversion of semi-automatics––which can shoot 80 – 100 bullets per minute––to fully automatic which can shoot 600 – 800 bullets per minute. They are sold by gun dealers now—as are other devices that do the same thing. They are the most popular because they are the cheapest of the devices (costing between $100 and $200).


Actually, the NRA––which has blocked all gun safety laws for more than 40 years––has not suddenly become reasonable: it is up to its old tricks. The NRA has only agreed to have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) review bump stock regulations to prevent a congressional vote on the record for any federal gun control regulation. (The NRA always promotes its irrational “slippery slope” argument i.e., if we ban bump stocks it is the first step to “taking your guns away.”)


There is another reason the NRA prefers to deal with the ATF rather than Congress. It was the ATF that shockingly ruled in 2010 that bump stocks are not covered by any gun regulation because they are “parts.” Moreover, ATF rules can be overridden by executive actions unlike congressional actions.


However, if the ATF does not act and the fate of bump stocks is in the hands of Congress, the NRA has a second trick up its sleeve. It will offer to trade its “leniency” on bump stocks for passage of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This shocking bill would let gun owners with concealed carry permits issued in any state—including states that do not require training or permitting as a requirement for carrying— legally carry their weapons in any state.


At NGVAC we believe the gun violence prevention groups should avoid arguments with the pro- gunners and the NRA about the construct (form) of the gun and how to prevent it from being converted to a fully automatic. These are trivial issues to debate and are completely beside the point as you can see in this graphic.




The law that is needed is: no one can have a gun––whether semi-automatic, assault weapon, sporting rifle, handgun etc.—

that can shoot more than 10 bullets per minute. It is the function of the gun not the form that makes it so lethal. This means magazines cannot exceed 10 bullets and a ban on possession or sale of any adaptive devices that expand the limit of 10 bullets per minute.


How can we get a magazine limit of no more 10 bullets per minute passed at the federal level? How can we ban any conversion devices? I discuss this in depth in a book I am writing that will be available by early spring.


The NRA Doesn’t Hate All Gun Laws–Look at The Ones it Likes

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

The NRA hates the government’s jackbooted ATF agents and loves to whip up its wild-eyed prepper population: they’re coming to take your guns. Yet the NRA has quietly enacted a lot of regulations of its own which it relies on the same government jackbooted agents to enforce. Who can say hypocrite?
oppressFor example, the gun lobby-backed Tiahrt amendments tacked on to U.S. Department of Justice appropriations bills since 2003 prohibit ATF from releasing firearm trace data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants and members of the public. Tiahrt amendments also mandate the destruction of all approved gun purchaser records within 24 hours and prohibit ATF from requiring gun dealers to submit their inventories to law enforcement.
Let’s get those bad guys!
The NRA actually got a program passed to help felons and others whose gun purchasing rights were revoked petition for them to be restored. “Felons Finding It Easy to Regain Gun Rights,” said a chilling New York Times report in November of 2011. Why should someone’s gun rights be abridged just because they’re a violent criminal?
After the NRA got laws passed that make it legal for employees to bring their guns to work and leave them in the company parking lot, it added some spite. It pushed for laws in some states to make it illegal for employers to even ask if the employee brought a gun to work! It’s none of their business–until workplace shootings occur.
The bills are similar to the NRA’s moves to make it illegal for doctors to ask patients if they have guns in the home–those meddlers. Of course the NRA doesn’t mind doctors stitching up the children who find Dad’s gun practically every week.
The NRA has also pushed laws to make it illegal to publish the names and addresses of gun owners even though the information is considered in the public domain like real estate transfers. Guns make them so safe–owners don’t want anyone to know they have them. What will the neighbors think? What if bad guys break in and steal them? Maybe they need more guns to protect their guns.
Of course the NRA’s favorite law is the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which gives gun makers, gun dealers and trade groups complete legal immunity from negligence and product liability lawsuits. Passed after Columbine and Red Lake, but before Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora and Newtown, maybe the gun lobby knew what was coming.



Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws. Follow us at @GunVictimsAct

Did You Know the Gun Lobby Has Pushed These Pro-Criminal Laws onto the Books?

Friday, December 26th, 2014

While the NRA is officially against “bad guys,” its lobbyists have pushed laws through which are a bad guy’s dream.


Examples? How about a rider to an appropriations bill, enacted in 1979, that prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from creating a centralized database of gun sales records already in its possession? “ATF receives an average of 1.3 million records from out-of-business dealers each month, and it is forced to keep these records in boxes in warehouses or on microfiche,” says the Center for American Progress.


How about a rider that prohibits the ATF from putting gun sales records into an electronic searchable database when dealers go out of business?


Then there’s the rider, included in the 2004 Tiahrt amendments, that blocks the ATF from requiring dealers to conduct an annual inventory. “Tens of thousands of guns are discovered to be lost or stolen each year,” says the Center for American Progress. An inventory that accounts for “every gun that has passed through” a dealer’s doors is the only way to know if guns have been diverted–but by law it cannot be required! Go criminals! (The gun lobby also fights mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns by owners on a state level. Better that criminals get guns than the government knows who has them.)


Over a dozen such permanent riders that cripple law enforcement and help criminals are passed each year, with little or no debate. Why? Because if the government knows who has guns, it will “confiscate” them says the NRA. We will live under tyranny, like they do in Canada, the 28 EU countries, Australia, New Zealand and Japan!


Of course arming criminals is less about “liberty” than a busine$$ plan: when the NRA yells, “the criminals have arms” more guns are sold.


Just last year, a rider was tacked on to a funding bill for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation that actually prohibits ATF from requiring firearms dealers in four border states to report the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to a single individual. Hey illegal gun traffickers have “rights” too– maybe they need to defend themselves.

retail-firearm-gun-sell-selling-madman-gja0092_low.jpg 400*441 p


The gun that killed officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos came through the “iron pipeline” from a similar gun-friendly state says the New York Times.


Most normal gun owners have no idea that these appalling pro-criminal laws are on the books. Nor do they oppose background checks and other safety laws. Why do lawmakers support legislation that calls them and their government tyrants?






Join our action to tell corporate America to get off the “sidelines” and take a stand against gun violence including the “can’t miss” sniper rifle sold to civilians. When corporations want sane gun laws, we will have sane gun laws.

From President Reagan to Chris Kyle, There Is No Safety in Being Armed–Why Does The Myth Persist?

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

shooter gun

If being armed made you safe, no law enforcement officer would ever get killed. President Reagan would not have been shot and Chris Kyle, arguably the best shot in  America, would have not been killed.

Rather than a High Noon, duel like scenario in which the armed opponent approaches from two blocks away, the violence that befalls law enforcement officers and befell Kyle and President Reagan is unexpected and cannot be defended against.
Of course gun extremists always have an answer for why armed good guys did not come to the rescue and prevent bloodshed. There was an armed guard at Columbine but he was out to lunch. Virginia Tech had an armed SWAT team but they didn’t get there in time. Ditto for the trained and armed personnel at Fort Hood who did not get to the room when Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was shooting in time.
To find out why armed good guys always seem to have the sun in their eyes when it comes to protecting themselves and others, ABC News set up some test scenarios in 2009 in an expose called, “If I Only Had A Gun.” To determine once and for all whether an armed person in the room can prevent bloodshed, ABC News planted gun carriers, some with 100 hours of training, in a lecture hall and told them an armed intruder would soon burst in. It was an embarrassment. The gun carriers failed to stop the gunman and he also would likely have used their weapons against them. Even being armed, ready and forewarned wasn’t enough for the carriers to defend themselves and others. Oops.

Clearly the element of surprise trumps the proximity of skilled and trained marksmen when it comes to gun violence. Why else would President Reagan have been shot when surrounded by guards trained for that exact event? Why would Chris Kyle have been shot while he was himself shooting at a range?
The myth of armed good guys preventing violence is as tenacious as the myth of a firearm providing safety at home when it is more likely to cause homicide, suicide and accidents within the family.
Worse,  all those armed good guys put society in general at risk. In a real incident, the self proclaimed Rambos will likely hit themselves and innocent bystanders if they even get a shot out.
And there is another danger of the good guys with guns myth. The myth that they can defeat bad guys keeps the focus off straw buyers and crooked gun dealers who arm the bad guys and who the gun lobby supports with friendly and toothless laws. (Hey, sales are sales.) 1,300 firearms seized on Chicago streets were traced to one dealer, Chuck’s Gun Shop, since 2008. Clearly we need good laws not good “guys.”