There’s no doubt that few things are as controversial as bump stocks right now. Even a lot of people who are ostensibly Second Amendment supporters are in favor of regulating the hell out of the things following the horror of Las Vegas. However, even if regulation is to happen, it needs to be done the right way, and that means the ATF needs to be left out of this completely at this point.

Yesterday, the Gun Owners of America sent out a press release showing that a former honcho at the ATF agrees.

Former ATF Chief Reiterates GOA’s Warning on Regulating Bump Stocks

Springfield, VA – A former Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) chief acknowledges that regulations or a ban from the ATF relating to bump stocks could affect other firearms and firearm parts.

Rick Vasquez, former Acting ATF Firearms Tech Branch Chief, in an interview with the Military Arms Channel, confirmed the warnings of Gun Owners of America (GOA) that a ban or regulation on devices that “increase the rate of fire” could be expanded to cover much, much more.

After the tragic Las Vegas shooting, GOA warned that any law or regulation on bump stocks could also be applied to firearm parts such as triggers and magazines.

“Vasquez and the Military Arm Channel echo GOA’s concerns. As GOA noted in our comments to the ATF, bump stocks do not fall under the established definition of a machine gun, nor does the agency have the statutory authority to re-define such terms,” Erich Pratt, executive director of GOA said.

“However, if the ATF creates for itself such regularity power, then any firearm or firearm part deemed to ‘increase the rate of fire,’ could be regulated or banned,” Pratt stated. “Such a regulation would put competition triggers, magazines, or semi-automatic firearms at risk.”

Both GOA and Gun Owners Foundation (GOA’s legal arm) have submitted comments to the ATF in opposition to regulating or banning bump stocks. GOA’s comments can be viewed here, and GOF’s comments can be viewed here.

Erich Pratt, or another GOA spokesperson, is available for interviews. Gun Owners of America is a nonprofit lobbying organization dedicated to protecting the right to keep and bear arms without compromise. GOA represents over 1.5 million members and activists. For more information, visit GOA’s Newsroom.

This is a very slippery slope being considered by the ATF, and not just because of the threat to firearms. If a regulatory agency like the ATF can decide to reclassify something on a whim like this, what other regulatory bodies can do the same? Can the EPA then decide to ban cars because of emissions? Can the SEC decide that you can’t have a 401K until you’re 35?

Yes, these are extreme examples that aren’t likely to occur, but part of why they’re unlikely to happen is because these agencies don’t have the authority to do any of these things. It’s part of that whole “checks and balances” thing our Founding Fathers were so fond of. They can’t do it, so no one even considers doing it.

However, if the ATF is able to regulate away bump stocks despite there being no legal grounds to do so, then that creates a precedence that other agencies can use down the road.

And yes, there is still the incredibly important Second Amendment angle. No, I haven’t forgotten that. The fact is that the amendment clearly reads, “the people’s right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” and the ATF trying to regulate something they have no authority to regulate away is a whole lot of infringing.