When the ATF closed the comment period for bump stocks, plenty of pro-gun folks were worried. Would the Bureau decide to regulate bump stocks out of existence? If so, it will represent a dynamic overreach by the ATF, one that will give precedence for regulating any number of other things the ATF has no business regulating into illegality.

By even taking comments, the ATF created concern in the firearms community, but if they take them to heart, we have nothing to worry about according to a press release from the GOA yesterday.

Pro-Gunners Vastly Outnumber Anti-Gunners on ATF Bump Stock Comments

Springfield, VA – According to research conducted by The Trace, a publication established by Everytown for Gun Safety and anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) public comments on bump stocks were vastly pro-gun.

According to the publication, “The Trace downloaded the text of more than 32,000 of the comments and used computer scripts to parse and analyze them. The comments overwhelmingly opposed regulating bump stocks. Only 13 percent were in support of the proposal to regulate the devices.”

Eighty-five percent of the comments were opposed to bump stock regulations, thirteen percent supported bump stock regulations, and two percent had an unclear position.

Furthermore, The Trace states that twenty-one percent of the comments mirrored the suggested comment text from Gun Owners of America (GOA), while only seven percent mirrored anti-gun form letters.

GOA was the leading national gun group rallying gun owners to leave comments for the ATF on bump stocks, and many additional comments were generated by GOA supporters who used their own language in their remarks.

Erich Pratt, executive director of GOA, stated, “I thank every Second Amendment supporter who left a pro-gun comment. As GOA has repeatably warned, bump stock regulations are not only about bump stocks; if bump stocks are regulated, then triggers, magazines, and semi-automatic firearms that allegedly ‘increase the rate of fire’ are at risk of regulation or bans as well.”

Gun Owners of America remains committed to fighting any regulation or ban as a result of the ATF’s forthcoming ruling. 

And it’s important to recognize that The Trace is not what one would consider a “friendly” news organization. They’re blatantly anti-gun, but the facts are the facts. Pro-gunners out-mobilized the anti-gunners.

The thing is, even if you despise bump stocks, the idea of the ATF overstepping the law to regulate something that doesn’t meet the legal definitions of a machine gun should scare the hell out of you. It’s not just about the Second Amendment here, but the system of checks and balances as a whole. The ATF, as part of the executive branch of government, is supposed to enforce the law. That’s their job.

Creating law falls to the legislative branch.

Yet, by even considering regulating bump stocks despite them not meeting the legal definition of a machine gun, the ATF is trying to take on that responsibility for themselves. If they manage to get away with this, what other entities will try it?

Perhaps the fact that so much of the commentary was pro-gun may keep the ATF from setting such a precedence. That’s good for our entire political system.