[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 61 (Thursday, March 29, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 13442-13457]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-06292]


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DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

27 CFR Parts 447, 478, and 479

[Docket No. 2017R-22; AG Order No. 4132-2018]
RIN 1140-AA52


Bump-Stock-Type Devices

AGENCY: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), 
Department of Justice.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Justice (Department) proposes to amend the 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regulations to 
clarify that ``bump fire'' stocks, slide-fire devices, and devices with 
certain similar characteristics (bump-stock-type devices) are 
``machineguns'' as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) 
and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), because such devices allow a 
shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing 
cycle with a single pull of the trigger. 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. Hence, a 
semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is 
able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger. With 
limited exceptions, primarily as to government agencies, the GCA makes 
it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun unless 
it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute. 
The bump-stock-type devices covered by this proposed rule were not in 
existence prior to the GCA's effective date, and therefore would fall 
within the prohibition on machineguns if this Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (NPRM) is implemented. Consequently, current possessors of 
these devices would be required to surrender them, destroy them, or 
otherwise render them permanently inoperable upon the effective date of 
the final rule.

DATES: Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must 
be submitted on or before June 27, 2018. Commenters should be aware 
that the electronic Federal Docket Management System will not accept 
comments after midnight Eastern Daylight Time on the last day of the 
comment period.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number ATF 
2017R-22, by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the directions for submitting comments.
     Fax: (202) 648-9741.
     Mail: Vivian Chu, Mailstop 6N-518, Office of Regulatory 
Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, 
Firearms, and Explosives, 99 New York Ave. NE, Washington DC 20226. 
ATTN: 2017R-22.
    Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name 
and docket number for this notice of proposed rulemaking. All properly

[[Page 13443]]

completed comments received will be posted without change to the 
Federal eRulemaking portal, http://www.regulations.gov, including any 
personal information provided. For detailed instructions on submitting 
comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the 
``Public Participation'' section of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vivian Chu, Office of Regulatory 
Affairs, Enforcement Programs Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, 
Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, 99 New York Ave. 
NE, Washington DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-7070.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On October 1, 2017, a shooter attacked a 
large crowd attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas, Nevada. By using 
several AR-type rifles with attached bump-stock-type devices, the 
shooter was able to fire several hundred rounds of ammunition in a 
short period of time, killing 58 people and injuring over 800. The 
bump-stock-type devices recovered from the hotel room from which the 
shooter conducted the attack included two distinct, but functionally 
equivalent, model variations from the same manufacturer. These devices 
were readily available in the commercial marketplace through online 
sales directly from the manufacturer, and through multiple retailers. 
The manufacturer of these devices is the primary manufacturer and 
seller of bump-stock-type devices; it has obtained multiple patents for 
its designs, and has rigorously enforced the patents to prevent 
competitors from infringing them. Consequently, at the time of the 
attack, very few competing bump-stock-type devices were available in 
the marketplace.
    The devices used in Las Vegas and the other bump-stock-type devices 
currently available on the market all utilize essentially the same 
functional design. They are designed to be affixed to a semiautomatic 
long gun (most commonly an AR-type rifle or an AK-type rifle) in place 
of a standard, stationary rifle stock, for the express purpose of 
allowing ``rapid fire'' operation of the semiautomatic firearm to which 
they are affixed. They are configured with a sliding shoulder stock 
molded (or otherwise attached) to a pistol-grip/handle (or ``chassis'') 
that includes an extension ledge (or ``finger rest'') on which the 
shooter places the trigger finger while shooting the firearm. The 
devices also generally include a detachable rectangular receiver module 
(or ``bearing interface'') that is placed in the receiver well of the 
device's pistol-grip/handle to assist in guiding and regulating the 
recoil of the firearm when fired.
    These bump-stock-type devices are generally designed to operate 
with the shooter shouldering the stock of the device (in essentially 
the same manner a shooter would use an unmodified semiautomatic 
shoulder stock), maintaining constant forward pressure with the non-
trigger hand on the barrel-shroud or fore-grip of the rifle, and 
maintaining the trigger finger on the device's extension ledge with 
constant rearward pressure. The device itself then harnesses the recoil 
energy of the firearm, providing the primary impetus for automatic 
fire.
    In general, bump-stock-type devices--including those currently on 
the market with the characteristics described above--are designed to 
channel recoil energy to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic 
firearms from a single trigger pull. Specifically, they are designed to 
allow the shooter to maintain a continuous firing cycle after a single 
pull of the trigger by directing the recoil energy of the discharged 
rounds into the space created by the sliding stock (approximately 1.5 
inches) in constrained linear rearward and forward paths. Ordinarily, 
to operate a semiautomatic firearm, the shooter must repeatedly pull 
and release the trigger to allow it to reset, so that only one shot is 
fired with each pull of the trigger. When a bump-stock-type device is 
affixed to a semiautomatic firearm, however, the device harnesses the 
recoil energy to slide the firearm back and forth so that the trigger 
automatically re-engages by ``bumping'' the shooter's stationary 
trigger finger without additional physical manipulation of the trigger 
by the shooter. The bump-stock-type device functions as a self-acting 
and self-regulating force that channels the firearm's recoil energy in 
a continuous back-and-forth cycle that allows the shooter to attain 
continuous firing after a single pull of the trigger so long as the 
trigger finger remains stationary on the device's extension ledge (as 
designed). No further physical manipulation of the trigger by the 
shooter is required.
    In 2006, ATF concluded that certain bump-stock-type devices 
qualified as machineguns under the GCA and NFA. Specifically, ATF 
concluded that devices attached to semiautomatic firearms that use an 
internal spring to harness the force of the recoil so that the firearm 
shoots more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger are 
machineguns. Between 2008 and 2017, however, ATF also issued 
classification decisions concluding that other bump-stock-type devices 
were not machineguns, including a device submitted by the manufacturer 
of the bump-stock-type devices used in the Las Vegas shooting. Those 
decisions did not include extensive legal analysis relating to the 
definition of ``machinegun.'' Nonetheless, they indicated that 
semiautomatic firearms modified with these bump-stock-type devices did 
not fire ``automatically,'' and were thus not ``machineguns,'' because 
the devices did not rely on internal springs or similar mechanical 
parts to channel recoil energy. ATF has now determined that that 
conclusion does not reflect the best interpretation of the term 
``machinegun'' under the GCA and NFA. In this proposed rule, the 
Department accordingly interprets the definition of ``machinegun'' to 
clarify that all bump-stock-type devices are ``machineguns'' under the 
GCA and NFA because they convert a semiautomatic firearm into a firearm 
that shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, 
by a single function of the trigger.

I. Background

    The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the GCA, as 
amended, and the NFA, as amended.\1\ This includes the authority to 
promulgate regulations necessary to enforce the provisions of the GCA 
and NFA. See 18 U.S.C. 926(a); 26 U.S.C. 7801(a)(2)(ii), 7805(a). The 
Attorney General has delegated the responsibility for administering and 
enforcing the GCA and NFA to the Director of ATF, subject to the 
direction of the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. See 
28 CFR 0.130(a)(1)-(2). The Department and ATF have promulgated 
regulations implementing both the GCA and the NFA. See 27 CFR pts. 478, 
479. In particular, while still part of the Department of the Treasury, 
ATF for decades promulgated rules governing ``the procedural and 
substantive requirements relative to the importation, manufacture, 
making, exportation, identification and registration of, and the 
dealing in, machine guns.'' 27 CFR 479.1; see, e.g., United States v. 
Dodson, 519 F. App'x 344, 348-49 & n.4 (6th Cir. 2013) (acknowledging 
ATF's role in interpreting the NFA's definition of

[[Page 13444]]

``machinegun''); F.J. Vollmer Co. v. Higgins, 23 F.3d 448, 449-51 (D.C. 
Cir. 1994) (upholding an ATF determination regarding machinegun 
receivers). Courts have recognized ATF's leading regulatory role with 
respect to firearms, including in the specific context of classifying 
devices as machineguns under the NFA. See, e.g., York v. Sec'y of 
Treasury, 774 F.2d 417, 419-20 (10th Cir. 1985).
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    \1\ NFA provisions still refer to the ``Secretary of the 
Treasury.'' 26 U.S.C. ch. 53. However, the Homeland Security Act of 
2002, Pub. L. 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (2002), transferred the 
functions of ATF from the Department of the Treasury to the 
Department of Justice, under the general authority of the Attorney 
General. 26 U.S.C. 7801(a)(2); 28 U.S.C. 599A(c)(1). Thus, for ease 
of reference, this notice refers to the Attorney General.
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    The GCA defines ``machinegun'' by referring to the NFA 
definition,\2\ which includes ``any weapon which shoots, is designed to 
shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one 
shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.'' 
26 U.S.C. 5845(b). The term ``machinegun'' also includes the frame or 
receiver of any such weapon or any part, or combination of parts, 
designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, 
and ``any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled 
if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.'' 
Id. With limited exceptions, the GCA prohibits the transfer or 
possession of machineguns under 18 U.S.C. 922(o).\3\
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    \2\ 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(23).
    \3\ Regulations implementing the GCA and the NFA spell the term 
``machine gun'' rather than ``machinegun.'' E.g., 27 CFR 478.11, 
479.11. For convenience, this notice uses ``machinegun'' except when 
quoting a source to the contrary.
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    In 1986, Congress passed the Firearm Owners' Protection Act (FOPA), 
Pub. L. 99-308, 100 Stat. 449, which included a provision that 
effectively froze the number of legally transferrable machineguns to 
those that were registered before May 19, 1986. 18 U.S.C. 922(o). Due 
to the fixed universe of ``pre-1986'' machineguns that may be lawfully 
transferred by nongovernmental entities, the value of those machineguns 
has steadily increased over time. For example, the current average 
price range for pre-1986 fully automatic versions of AR-type rifles is 
between $20,000 and $30,000, while the price range for semiautomatic 
versions of these rifles is between $600 and $2,500.\4\
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    \4\ These figures are based on a review of prices posted on 
websites maintained by federal firearms licensees on March 1, 2018.
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    This price premium on automatic weapons has spurred inventors and 
manufacturers to attempt to develop firearms, triggers, and other 
devices that permit shooters to use semiautomatic rifles to replicate 
automatic fire without converting these rifles into ``machineguns'' 
under the GCA and NFA. ATF began receiving classification requests for 
such firearms, triggers, and other devices in the period from 1988 to 
1990. ATF has observed a significant increase in such requests since 
2004, often in connection with rifle models that were, until 2004, 
defined as ``semiautomatic assault weapons'' and prohibited under the 
Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. 
921(a)(30) (commonly known as the Federal Assault Weapons Ban) 
(repealed effective Sept. 13, 2004). Consistent with ATF's experience, 
the inventor and manufacturer of the bump-stock-type devices used in 
the Las Vegas shooting has attributed his innovation of those products 
specifically to the high cost of fully automatic firearms. In a 2011 
interview, he stated that he developed the original device because he 
``couldn't afford what [he] wanted--a fully automatic rifle--so . . . 
[he made] something that would work and be affordable.'' \5\
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    \5\ Donnie A. Lucas, Firing Up Some Simple Solutions, Albany 
News (Dec. 22, 2011), http://www.thealbanynews.net/archives/2443.
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II. ATF's Determinations Regarding Bump-Stock-Type Devices

    Shooters use bump-stock-type devices with semiautomatic firearms to 
accelerate the firearm's cyclic firing rate to mimic automatic fire. 
Such devices are designed principally to increase the rate of fire of 
semiautomatic firearms. These devices replace a rifle's standard stock 
and free the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the 
energy from the firearm's recoil either through a mechanism like an 
internal spring or in conjunction with the shooter's maintenance of 
pressure (typically constant forward pressure with the non-trigger hand 
on the barrel-shroud or fore-grip of the rifle, and constant rearward 
pressure on the device's extension ledge with the shooter's trigger 
finger).
    As noted above, ATF has regulated some of these devices as 
machineguns. Other bump-stock-type devices currently on the market, 
however, have not been regulated by ATF as machineguns under the GCA or 
NFA, and thus have not typically been marked with a serial number and 
other identification markings. Individuals therefore may purchase these 
devices without undergoing a background check or complying with any 
other federal regulations applicable to firearms.

A. ATF's Interpretation of ``Single Function of the Trigger''

    In 2002, an inventor submitted a device known as the ``Akins 
Accelerator'' to ATF for classification. To operate the Akins 
Accelerator, the shooter initiated an automatic firing sequence by 
pulling the trigger one time, which in turn caused the rifle to recoil 
within the stock, permitting the trigger to lose contact with the 
finger and manually reset. Springs in the Akins Accelerator then forced 
the rifle forward, forcing the trigger against the finger, which caused 
the weapon to discharge the ammunition. The recoil and the spring-
powered device thus caused the firearm to cycle back and forth, 
impacting the trigger finger, which remained rearward in a constant 
pull without further input by the shooter while the firearm discharged 
multiple shots. The device was advertised as able to fire approximately 
650 rounds per minute. See ATF Ruling 2006-2, at 2.
    ATF's classification of the Akins Accelerator focused on 
application of the ``single function of the trigger'' prong of the 
statutory definition of ``machinegun.'' In an initial assessment of the 
Akins Accelerator, ATF concluded that the device did not qualify as a 
machinegun because ATF interpreted ``single function of the trigger'' 
to mean a single movement of the trigger itself. In 2006, however, ATF 
undertook a further review of the Akins Accelerator based on how it 
actually functioned when sold. ATF determined that the Akins 
Accelerator was properly classified as a machinegun because the best 
interpretation of the phrase ``single function of the trigger'' was a 
``single pull of the trigger.'' \6\ The Akins Accelerator thus 
qualified as a machinegun because ATF determined through testing that 
when the device was installed on a semiautomatic rifle (specifically a 
Ruger Model 10-22), it resulted in a weapon that ``[with] a single pull 
of the trigger initiates an automatic firing cycle that continues until 
the finger is released, the weapon malfunctions, or the ammunition 
supply is exhausted.'' Akins v. United States, No. 8:08-cv-988, slip 
op. at 5 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 23, 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted).
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    \6\ In classifying the Akins Accelerator, ATF used the term 
``pull'' specifically because that was the manner in which the 
firearm's trigger was activated with the device. For purposes of 
analyzing firearms and devices designed for use on firearms, 
however, the term ``pull'' is interchangeable with terminology 
describing all trigger activations, including a push or a flip of a 
switch. See, e.g., United States v. Fleischli, 305 F.3d 643, 655-56 
(7th Cir. 2002) (finding that a ``trigger is a mechanism used to 
initiate a firing sequence,'' and rejecting the argument that a 
``switch'' could not be a trigger, because such a definition would 
``lead to the absurd result of enabling persons to avoid the NFA 
simply by using weapons that employ a button or switch mechanism for 
firing'' (internal quotation marks omitted)).

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[[Page 13445]]

    In conjunction with its reclassification of the Akins Accelerator, 
ATF published ATF Ruling 2006-2, ``Classification of Devices 
Exclusively Designed to Increase the Rate of Fire of a Semiautomatic 
Firearm.'' The Ruling explained that ATF had received requests from 
``several members of the firearms industry to classify devices that are 
exclusively designed to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic 
firearm.'' ATF Ruling 2006-2, at 1. After setting forth a detailed 
description of the components and functionality of the Akins 
Accelerator and devices with similar designs, ATF Ruling 2006-2 
determined that the phrase ``single function of the trigger'' in the 
statutory definition of ``machinegun'' was best interpreted to mean a 
``single pull of the trigger.'' Id. at 2 (citing National Firearms Act: 
Hearings Before the Comm. on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, 
Second Session on H.R. 9066, 73rd Cong., at 40 (1934)). ATF further 
indicated that it would apply this interpretation to its classification 
of devices designed to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic 
firearms. Thus, ATF concluded in Ruling 2006-2 that devices exclusively 
designed to increase the rate of fire of semiautomatic firearms are 
machineguns if, ``when activated by a single pull of the trigger, [such 
devices] initiate[] an automatic firing cycle that continues until 
either the finger is released or the ammunition supply is exhausted.'' 
Id. at 3. Finally, because the ``single pull of the trigger'' 
interpretation constituted a change from ATF's prior interpretations of 
the phrase ``single function of the trigger,'' Ruling 2006-2 concluded 
that ``[t]o the extent previous ATF rulings are inconsistent with this 
determination, they are hereby overruled.'' Id.
    Following its reclassification of the Akins Accelerator as a 
machinegun, ATF determined that removal and disposal of the internal 
spring would render the device a non-machinegun under the statutory 
definition. Hence, ATF advised individuals who had purchased the Akins 
Accelerator that they had the option of removing and disposing of the 
internal spring, thereby placing the device outside the classification 
of machinegun and allowing the purchaser/possessor to retain the device 
in lieu of destroying or surrendering the device.
    The inventor of the Akins Accelerator filed a complaint against the 
United States in May 2008, challenging the classification of the device 
as a machinegun as arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative 
Procedure Act. Akins v. United States, No. 8:08-cv-988, slip op. at 7-8 
(M.D. Fla. Sept. 23, 2008). The United States District Court for the 
Middle District of Florida rejected the plaintiff's challenge, holding 
that ATF was within its authority to reconsider and change its 
interpretation of the phrase ``single function of the trigger'' in the 
NFA's statutory definition of machinegun. Id. at 14. The court further 
held that the language of the statute and the legislative history 
supported ATF's interpretation of the statutory phrase ``single 
function of the trigger'' as synonymous with a ``single pull of the 
trigger.'' Id. at 11-12. The court concluded that in Ruling 2006-2, ATF 
had set forth a ```reasoned analysis''' for the application of that new 
interpretation to the Akins Accelerator and similar devices, including 
the need to ``protect the public from dangerous firearms.'' Id. at 12.
    The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit 
affirmed the district court's decision, holding that ``[t]he 
interpretation by the Bureau that the phrase `single function of the 
trigger' means a `single pull of the trigger' is consonant with the 
statute and its legislative history.'' Akins v. United States, 312 F. 
App'x 197, 200 (11th Cir. 2009) (per curiam). The Eleventh Circuit 
further concluded that ``[b]ased on the operation of the Accelerator, 
the Bureau had the authority to `reconsider and rectify' what it 
considered to be a classification error.'' Id.
    In ten letter rulings between 2008 and 2017, ATF assessed other 
bump-stock-type devices. Like the Akins Accelerator, these other bump-
stock-type devices allowed the shooter to fire more than one shot with 
a single pull of the trigger. As discussed below, however, ATF 
ultimately concluded that these devices did not qualify as machineguns 
because, in ATF's view, they did not ``automatically'' shoot more than 
one shot with a single pull of the trigger. ATF has also applied the 
``single pull of the trigger'' interpretation to other trigger 
actuators, two-stage triggers, and other devices submitted to ATF for 
classification. Depending on the method of operation, some such devices 
were classified to be machineguns that were required to be registered 
in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record.\7\
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    \7\ Examples of recent ATF classification letters relying on the 
``single pull of the trigger'' interpretation to classify submitted 
devices as machineguns include the following:
     On April 13, 2015, ATF issued a classification letter regarding 
a device characterized as a ``positive reset trigger,'' designed to 
be used on a semiautomatic AR-style rifle. The device consisted of a 
support/stock, secondary trigger, secondary trigger link, pivot 
toggle, shuttle link, and shuttle. ATF determined that, after a 
single pull of the trigger, the device utilized recoil energy 
generated from firing a projectile to fire a subsequent projectile. 
ATF noted that ``a `single function of the trigger' is a single 
pull,'' and that the device utilized a ``single function of the 
trigger'' because the shooter need not release the trigger to fire a 
subsequent projectile, and instead ``can maintain constant pressure 
through a single function of the trigger.''
     On October 7, 2016, ATF issued a classification letter 
regarding two devices described as ``LV-15 Trigger Reset Devices.'' 
The devices, which were designed to be used on an AR-type rifle, 
were essentially identical in design and function and were submitted 
by the same requestor (per the requestor, the second device included 
``small improvements that have come as the result of further 
development since the original submission''). The devices were each 
powered by a rechargeable battery and included the following 
components: a self-contained trigger mechanism with an electrical 
connection, a modified two-position semiautomatic AR-15 type 
selector lever, a rechargeable battery pack, a grip assembly/trigger 
guard with electrical connections, and a piston that projects 
forward through the lower rear portion of the trigger guard and 
pushes the trigger forward as the firearm cycles. ATF held that ``to 
initiate the firing . . . a shooter must simply pull the trigger.'' 
It explained that although the mechanism pushed the trigger forward, 
``the shooter never releases the trigger. Consistent with [the 
requestor's] explanation, ATF demonstrated that the device fired 
multiple projectiles with a ``single function of the trigger'' 
because a single pull was all that was required to initiate and 
maintain a firing sequence.
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B. ATF's Interpretation of ``Automatically''

    Prior ATF rulings concerning bump-stock-type devices have not 
provided substantial legal analysis regarding the meaning of the term 
``automatically'' as it is used in the GCA and NFA. Moreover, ATF's 
prior rulings concerning such devices have applied different 
understandings of the term ``automatically.'' ATF Ruling 2006-2 
concluded that devices like the Akins Accelerator initiated an 
``automatic'' firing cycle because, once initiated by a single pull of 
the trigger, ``the automatic firing cycle continues until the finger is 
released or the ammunition supply is exhausted.'' ATF Ruling 2006-2, at 
1. ATF letter rulings between 2008 and 2017, however, concluded that 
bump-stock-type devices that enable a semiautomatic firearm to shoot 
more than one shot with a single function of the trigger by harnessing 
a combination of the recoil and the maintenance of pressure by the 
shooter do not fire ``automatically.'' Some of these rulings concluded 
that such devices were not machineguns because they did not 
``initiate[] an automatic firing cycle that continues until either the 
finger is released or the ammunition supply is exhausted,'' without 
further defining the term ``automatically.'' E.g., Letter for Michael 
Smith from ATF's Firearm Technology Branch Chief (April 2, 2012). Other 
rulings instead concluded

[[Page 13446]]

that these bump-stock-type devices were not machineguns because they 
lacked any ``automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and 
perform[ed] no mechanical function[s] when installed,'' again without 
further defining the term ``automatically'' in this context. E.g., 
Letter for David Compton from ATF's Firearm Technology Branch Chief 
(June 7, 2010).

III. Las Vegas Mass Shooting and Requests To Regulate Bump-Stock-Type 
Devices

    Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, ATF 
has received correspondence from members of the United States Senate 
and the United States House of Representatives, as well as 
nongovernmental organizations, requesting that ATF examine its past 
classifications and determine whether bump-stock-type devices currently 
on the market constitute machineguns under the statutory definition.
    In response, on December 26, 2017, as an initial step in the 
process of promulgating a federal regulation interpreting the 
definition of ``machinegun'' with respect to bump-stock-type devices, 
ATF published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) in the 
Federal Register. Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ``Bump 
Fire'' Stocks and Other Similar Devices, 82 FR 60929. The ANPRM was 
limited to soliciting comments concerning the market for bump-stock-
type devices and manufacturer and retailer data. Id. at 60930-31. 
Public comment on the ANPRM concluded on January 25, 2018. While ATF 
received over 115,000 comments, the vast majority of these comments 
were not responsive to the ANPRM.
    On February 20, 2018, President Trump issued a memorandum to 
Attorney General Sessions concerning ``bump fire'' stocks and similar 
devices. 83 FR 7949. The memorandum noted that the Department of 
Justice had already ``started the process of promulgating a Federal 
regulation interpreting the definition of `machinegun' under Federal 
law to clarify whether certain bump stock type devices should be 
illegal.'' Id. at 7949. The President then directed the Department of 
Justice, working within established legal protocols, ``to dedicate all 
available resources to complete the review of the comments received [in 
response to the ANPRM], and, as expeditiously as possible, to propose 
for notice and comment a rule banning all devices that turn legal 
weapons into machineguns.'' Id. Publication of this NPRM is the next 
step in the process of promulgating such a rule.
    Consistent with its authority to ```reconsider and rectify''' 
potential classification errors, Akins, 312 F. App'x at 200, ATF has 
reviewed its original classification determinations for bump-stock-type 
devices from 2008 to 2017 in light of its interpretation of the 
relevant statutory language, namely the definition of ``machinegun.'' 
These bump-stock-type devices are generally designed to operate with 
the shooter shouldering the stock of the device (in essentially the 
same manner a shooter would use an unmodified semiautomatic shoulder 
stock), maintaining constant forward pressure with the non-trigger hand 
on the barrel-shroud or fore-grip of the rifle, and maintaining the 
trigger finger on the device's extension ledge with constant rearward 
pressure. The device itself then harnesses the recoil energy of the 
firearm, providing the primary impetus for automatic fire.
    ATF has now determined, based on its interpretation of the relevant 
statutory language, that these bump-stock-type devices, which harness 
recoil energy in conjunction with the shooter's maintenance of 
pressure, turn legal semiautomatic firearms into machineguns. 
Specifically, ATF has determined that these devices initiate an 
``automatic[]'' firing cycle sequence ``by a single function of the 
trigger'' because the device is the primary impetus for a firing 
sequence that fires more than one shot with a single pull of the 
trigger. 26 U.S.C. 5845(b). ATF's classifications of bump-stock-devices 
between 2008 and 2017 did not include extensive legal analysis of these 
terms in concluding that the bump-stock-type devices at issue were not 
``machineguns.'' The statutory definition of machinegun includes bump-
stock-type devices--irrespective of whether the devices harness recoil 
energy using a mechanism like an internal spring or in conjunction with 
the shooter's maintenance of pressure--because these devices enable a 
semiautomatic firearm to fire ``automatically more than one shot, 
without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.'' Id. 
This proposed rule is the appropriate mechanism for ATF to set forth 
its analysis for its changed assessment. See Motor Vehicle Mfrs. Ass'n 
v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 463 U.S. 29, 57 (1983).

IV. Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    Based on ATF's initial review of the comments it received on the 
ANPRM, the vast majority of comments concern the legal authority to 
regulate bump-stock-type devices. Some of those comments opined that 
the Department has the power to regulate bump-stock-type devices. Most, 
however, contended that the Department lacks such authority, either 
because only Congress has the authority to regulate bump-stock-type 
devices or because the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution 
precludes any federal regulation of such devices.
    The Department disagrees. Congress has granted the Attorney General 
authority to issue rules to administer the GCA and NFA, and the 
Attorney General has delegated to ATF the authority to administer and 
enforce those statutes and implementing regulations. See supra Part I. 
Because, with some exceptions, the possession of a machinegun is 
prohibited by the GCA, the Department is well within its authority to 
issue a rule that further clarifies and interprets the statutory 
definition of machinegun. Nor is regulation of bump-stock-type devices 
as machineguns inconsistent with the Second Amendment. The Supreme 
Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), noted 
that the Second Amendment does not extend to ```dangerous and unusual 
weapons''' not in ```common use.''' Id. at 627. Heller further observed 
that it would be ``startling'' to conclude ``that the National Firearms 
Act's restrictions on machineguns . . . might be unconstitutional.'' 
Id. at 624. Since Heller, federal courts of appeals have repeatedly 
held that federal statutes prohibiting machineguns comport with the 
Second Amendment. See, e.g., Hollis v. Lynch, 827 F.3d 436, 451 (5th 
Cir. 2016) (upholding federal statute banning possession of machineguns 
because they are ``dangerous and unusual and therefore not in common 
use''); accord United States v. Henry, 688 F.3d 637, 640 (9th Cir. 
2012); United States v. Marzzarella, 614 F.3d 85, 94-95 (3d Cir. 2010); 
Hamblen v. United States, 591 F.3d 471, 472, 474 (6th Cir. 2009); 
United States v. Fincher, 538 F.3d 868, 874 (8th Cir. 2008). No court 
has interpreted Heller as encompassing a constitutional right to 
possess machineguns or machinegun conversion devices.
    Numerous persons commented that bump-stock-type devices do not fall 
under the statutory definition of ``machinegun because, when attached, 
they do not change the mechanical functioning of a semiautomatic 
firearm, and still require a separate trigger pull for each fired 
round.'' They noted that bump firing is a technique, and pointed to 
many other ways in which a shooter

[[Page 13447]]

can increase a firearm's rate of fire without using a bump-stock-type 
device.
    The Department disagrees. The relevant statutory question is 
whether a particular device causes a firearm to ``shoot * * * 
automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single 
function of the trigger.'' 26 U.S.C. 5845(b). Bump firing and other 
techniques for increasing the rate of fire do not satisfy this 
definition because they do not produce an automatic firing sequence 
with a single pull of the trigger. Instead, bump firing without an 
assistive device requires the shooter to exert pressure with the 
trigger finger to re-engage the trigger for each round fired. The bump-
stock-type devices described above, however, satisfy the definition. 
ATF's classification decisions between 2008 and 2017 did not reflect 
the best interpretation of the term ``automatically'' as used in the 
definition of ``machinegun,'' because those decisions focused on the 
lack of mechanical parts like internal springs in the bump-stock-type 
devices at issue. The bump-stock-type devices at issue in those 
rulings, however, utilized the recoil of the firearm itself to maintain 
an automatic firing sequence initiated by a single pull of the trigger. 
As with the Akins Accelerator, the bump-stock-type devices at issue 
cause the trigger to ``bump'' into the finger, so that the shooter need 
not pull the trigger repeatedly to expel ammunition. As stated above, 
ATF previously focused on the trigger itself to interpret ``single 
function of the trigger,'' but adopted a better legal and practical 
interpretation of ``function'' to encompass the shooter's activation of 
the trigger by, as in the case of the Akins Accelerator and other bump-
stock-type devices, a single pull that causes the weapon to shoot until 
the ammunition is exhausted or the pressure on the trigger is removed. 
Because these bump-stock-type devices allow multiple rounds to be fired 
when the shooter maintains pressure on the extension ledge of the 
device, ATF has determined that bump-stock-type devices are machinegun 
conversion devices, and therefore qualify as machineguns under the GCA 
and the NFA. See infra Part V.
    Commenters also argued that banning bump-stock-type devices will 
not significantly impact public safety. Again, the Department 
disagrees. The shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017, highlighted 
the destructive capacity of firearms equipped with bump-stock-type 
devices and the carnage they can inflict. The shooting also made many 
individuals aware that these devices exist--potentially including 
persons with criminal or terrorist intentions--and made their potential 
to threaten public safety obvious. The proposed regulation aims to 
ameliorate that threat.
    Some commenters objected to any regulation of bump-stock-type 
devices because, they argued, it will decrease innovation in the 
firearms accessories market and result in the loss of manufacturing and 
associated jobs. They suggested that the Federal Government should 
prevent the misuse of firearms through other means, such as by 
enforcing existing firearms laws, preventing mentally ill persons from 
acquiring weapons, and enacting more stringent criminal penalties for 
those who commit crimes with bump-stock-type devices. However, an 
important step in the enforcement of existing firearms laws is ensuring 
that ATF's regulations correctly interpret those laws.
    This proposed rulemaking will have an economic impact, see infra 
Part VI, but the impact will not be widespread, and the costs 
associated with this rule are easily exceeded by the benefits it will 
provide for public safety. The Department also disagrees that the 
proposed rulemaking will decrease innovation in the firearms 
accessories market. The fact that more than 65,000 industry 
professionals from the United States and foreign countries attend the 
annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, where many new 
and improved firearms accessories are introduced, is a clear market 
signal that there is strong demand for innovation and development of 
new shooting accessories irrespective of whether the bump-stock-type 
devices described in this rulemaking are prohibited.

V. Proposed Rule

    The regulations in 27 CFR part 479 contain the procedural and 
substantive requirements relative to the importation, manufacturing, 
making, exportation, identification and registration of, and dealing in 
machineguns, destructive devices, and certain other firearms and 
weapons under the NFA. Currently, the regulatory definition of 
``machine gun'' in 27 CFR 479.11 matches the statutory definition of 
``machinegun'' in the NFA quoted in Part I, above. The definition 
includes the terms ``single function of the trigger'' and 
``automatically,'' but those terms are not expressly defined in the 
statutory text. Those terms are best interpreted, however, to encompass 
firearms equipped with bump-stock-type devices. As discussed above, 
bump-stock-type devices like the Akins Accelerator and other devices 
that operate to mimic automatic fire when added to semiautomatic rifles 
present the same risk to public safety that Congress has already deemed 
unacceptable by enacting and amending the GCA (18 U.S.C. 922(o)). 
Therefore, the Department proposes to exercise its delegated authority 
to clarify its interpretations of the statutory terms ``single function 
of the trigger,'' ``automatically,'' and ``machinegun.'' Specifically, 
the Department proposes to amend 27 CFR 479.11 by defining the term 
``single function of the trigger'' to mean ``single pull of the 
trigger.'' The Department further proposes to amend these regulations 
by defining the term ``automatically'' to mean ``as the result of a 
self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of 
multiple rounds through a single pull of the trigger.'' Finally, the 
Department proposes to clarify that the definition of a ``machinegun'' 
includes a device that allows semiautomatic firearms to shoot more than 
one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil 
energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the 
trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical 
manipulation of the trigger by the shooter (commonly known as bump-
stock-type devices).
    The interpretation of the phrase ``single function of the trigger'' 
to mean ``single pull of the trigger'' reflects ATF's position since 
2006, and it is the best interpretation of the statute. The Supreme 
Court in Staples v. United States, 511 U.S. 600 (1994), indicated that 
a machinegun under the NFA ``fires repeatedly with a single pull of the 
trigger.'' Id. at 602 n.1. This interpretation is also consistent with 
how the phrase ``single function of the trigger'' was understood at the 
time of the NFA's enactment in 1934. For instance, in a congressional 
hearing leading up to the NFA's enactment, the National Rifle 
Association's then-president testified that a gun ``which is capable of 
firing more than one shot by a single pull of the trigger, a single 
function of the trigger, is properly regarded, in my opinion, as a 
machine gun.'' National Firearms Act: Hearings Before the Committee on 
Ways and Means, H.R. 9066, 73rd Cong., 2nd Sess., at 40 (1934). 
Furthermore, and as noted above, the Eleventh Circuit concluded that 
ATF's interpretation of ``single function of the trigger'' to mean 
``single pull of the trigger'' ``is consonant with the statute and its 
legislative history.'' Akins v. United States, 312 F. App'x 197, 200 
(11th Cir.

[[Page 13448]]

2009). No other court has held otherwise.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ As used in this proposed rule, the term ``pull'' is 
synonymous with ``push'' and other terms that describe activation of 
a trigger. The courts have made clear that whether a trigger is 
operated through a ``pull,'' ``push,'' or some other action such as 
a flipping a switch, does not change the analysis of the 
functionality of a firearm. For example, in United States v. 
Fleischli, 305 F.3d at 655-56, the Seventh Circuit rejected the 
argument that a switch did not constitute a trigger for purposes of 
assessing whether a firearm was a machinegun under the NFA, because 
such an interpretation of the statute would lead to ``the absurd 
result of enabling persons to avoid the NFA simply by using weapons 
that employ a button or switch mechanism for firing.'' See also 
United States v. Camp, 343 F.3d 743, 745 (5th Cir. 2003) (```To 
construe ``trigger'' to mean only a small lever moved by a finger 
would be to impute to Congress the intent to restrict the term to 
apply only to one kind of trigger, albeit a very common kind. The 
language [in 18 U.S.C. 922(o)] implies no intent to so restrict the 
meaning[.]''' (quoting United States v. Jokel, 969 F.2d 132, 135 
(5th Cir. 1992) (emphasis removed))). Examples of machineguns that 
operate through a trigger activated by a push include the Browning 
design, M2 .50 caliber, the Vickers, the Maxim, and the M134 hand-
fired Minigun.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Interpreting the term ``automatically'' to mean ``as the result of 
a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of 
multiple rounds through a single pull of the trigger'' also reflects 
the ordinary meaning of that term at the time of the NFA's enactment in 
1934. The word ``automatically'' is the adverbial form of 
``automatic,'' meaning ``[h]aving a self-acting or self-regulating 
mechanism that performs a required act at a predetermined point in an 
operation[.]'' Webster's New International Dictionary 187 (2d ed. 
1934); see also 1 Oxford English Dictionary 574 (1933) (defining 
``Automatic'' as ``[s]elf-acting under conditions fixed for it, going 
of itself'').
    Relying on these definitions, the United States Court of Appeals 
for the Seventh Circuit accordingly interpreted the term 
``automatically'' as used in the NFA as ``delineat[ing] how the 
discharge of multiple rounds from a weapon occurs: as the result of a 
self-acting mechanism'' ``set in motion by a single function of the 
trigger and . . . accomplished without manual reloading.'' United 
States v. Olofson, 563 F.3d 652, 658 (7th Cir. 2009). So long as the 
firearm is capable of producing multiple rounds with a single pull of 
the trigger for some period of time, the firearm shoots 
``automatically'' irrespective of why the firing sequence ultimately 
ends. Id. (``[T]he reason a weapon ceased firing is not a matter with 
which Sec.  5845(b) is concerned.''). Olofson thus requires only that 
the weapon shoot multiple rounds with a single function of the trigger 
``as the result of a self-acting mechanism,'' not that the self-acting 
mechanism produce the firing sequence without any additional action by 
the shooter. This definition accordingly requires that the self-acting 
or self-regulating mechanism must perform an act that is primarily 
responsible for causing the weapon to shoot more than one shot.
    Finally, it is reasonable to conclude, based on these 
interpretations, that the term ``machinegun'' includes a device that 
allows a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a 
single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the 
semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets 
and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the 
trigger by the shooter. When a shooter who has affixed a bump-stock-
type device to a semiautomatic firearm pulls the trigger, that movement 
initiates a firing sequence that produces more than one shot. And that 
firing sequence is ``automatic'' because the device harnesses the 
firearm's recoil energy in a continuous back-and-forth cycle that 
allows the shooter to attain continuous firing after a single pull of 
the trigger, so long as the trigger finger remains stationary on the 
device's ledge (as designed). Accordingly, these devices are included 
under the definition of machinegun and, therefore, come within the 
purview of the NFA.
    The GCA and its implementing regulations in 27 CFR part 478 
incorporate the NFA's definition of machinegun. Accordingly, this 
proposed rule makes the same amendments to the definitions of ``single 
function of the trigger,'' ``automatically,'' and ``machine gun'' in 27 
CFR 478.11.
    The Arms Export Control Act (AECA), as amended, does not include 
the term ``machinegun'' in its key provision, 22 U.S.C. 2778. However, 
regulations in 27 CFR part 447 that implement the AECA include a 
similar definition of ``machinegun,'' and explain that machineguns, 
submachineguns, machine pistols, and fully automatic rifles fall within 
Category I(b) of the U.S. Munitions Import List when those defense 
articles are permanently imported. See 27 CFR 447.11, 447.21. 
Currently, the definition of ``machinegun'' in Sec.  447.11 provides 
that ``[a] `machinegun', `machine pistol', `submachinegun', or 
`automatic rifle' is a firearm originally designed to fire, or capable 
of being fired fully automatically by a single pull of the trigger.'' 
This proposed rule would harmonize the AECA's regulatory definition of 
``machinegun'' with the definitions in 27 CFR parts 478 and 479, as 
those definitions would be amended by this rule.
    The proposed rule would replace prior classifications of bump-
stock-type devices, including devices that ATF previously determined 
were not machineguns. The rule thus would supplant any prior letter 
rulings with which it is inconsistent so that any bump-stock-type 
device described above qualifies as a machinegun. Accordingly, 
manufacturers, current owners, and persons wishing to purchase such 
devices would be subject to the restrictions imposed by the GCA and 
NFA.
    The Department has determined that there would not be a 
registration period for any device that would be classified as 
``machinegun'' as a result of this rulemaking. The NFA provides that 
only the manufacturer, importer, or maker of a firearm may register 
it.\9\ Accordingly, there is no means by which the possessor may 
register a firearm retroactively, including a firearm that has been 
reclassified. Further, 18 U.S.C. 922(o) prohibits the possession of 
machineguns that were not lawfully possessed before the effective date 
of the statute. Accordingly, if the final rule is consistent with this 
NPRM, current possessors of bump-stock-type devices will be obligated 
to dispose of those devices. A final rule will provide specific 
information about acceptable methods of disposal, as well as the 
timeframe under which disposal must be accomplished to avoid violating 
18 U.S.C. 922(o).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ 26 U.S.C. 5841(b); 27 CFR 479.101(b).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Statutory and Executive Order Review

A. Executive Orders 12866, 13563, and 13771

    Executive Orders 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) 
and 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) direct agencies to assess 
the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if 
regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize 
net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public 
health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). Executive 
Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and 
benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. 
Executive Order 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory 
Costs) directs agencies to reduce regulation and control regulatory 
costs. This proposed rule is expected to be an E.O. 13771

[[Page 13449]]

regulatory action. Details on the estimated costs of this proposed rule 
can be found in the rule's economic analysis below.
    This rule has been designated a ``significant regulatory action'' 
that is economically significant under section 3(f)(1) of Executive 
Order 12866. Accordingly, the rule has been reviewed by the Office of 
Management and Budget. This proposed rule is intended to interpret the 
definition of ``machinegun'' within the GCA and NFA such that it 
includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a 
semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of 
the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic 
firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues 
firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the 
shooter.
Need for Federal Regulatory Action
    Agencies take regulatory action for various reasons. One of the 
reasons is to carry out Congress's policy decisions, as expressed in 
statutes. Here, this rulemaking aims to apply Congress's policy 
decision to prohibit machineguns. Another reason underpinning 
regulatory action is the failure of the market to compensate for 
negative externalities caused by commercial activity. A negative 
externality can be the byproduct of a transaction between two parties 
that is not accounted for in the transaction. This proposed rule is 
addressing a negative externality. The negative externality of the 
commercial sale of bump-stock-type devices is that they could be used 
for criminal purposes. This poses a public safety issue that the 
Department is trying to address.
Executive Summary
    Table 1 provides a summary of the affected population and 
anticipated costs and benefits to promulgating this rule.

      Table 1--Summary of Affected Population, Costs, and Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Affected populations, costs,
                Category                           and benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Applicability..........................   Manufacturers of bump-
                                          stock-type devices.
                                          Retail sellers of bump-
                                          stock-type devices.
                                          Gun owners who own
                                          bump-stock-type devices or
                                          would have purchased them in
                                          the future.
Affected Population....................   2 manufacturers of
                                          bump-stock-type devices.
                                          2,281 retailers of
                                          bump-stock-type devices.
                                          Owners and future
                                          consumers of bump-stock-type
                                          devices.
Total Quantified Costs to Industry,      $217.0 million present value
 Public, and Government (7% Discount      over 10 years, $36.3 million
 Rate).                                   annualized.
Unquantified Costs.....................   Costs of destruction.
                                          Costs of advertising
                                          to inform owners of the need
                                          to dispose of their bump-stock-
                                          type devices.
                                          Lost consumer surplus
                                          to users of bump-stock-type
                                          devices.
Unquantified Benefits..................   Prevents criminal
                                          usage of bump-stock-type
                                          devices.
                                          Could reduce
                                          casualties in an incident that
                                          would have involved a weapon
                                          fitted with a bump-stock-type
                                          device, as well as assist
                                          first responders when
                                          responding to incidents.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Affected Population
    The populations affected by this rule are manufacturers of bump-
stock-type devices, retailers who sell them either in brick-and-mortar 
stores or online, and individuals who have purchased or would have 
wanted to purchase bump-stock-type devices. The number of entities and 
individuals selling or purchasing bump-stock-type devices are as 
follows:

 2 manufacturers
 2,281 retailers
 An uncertain number of individuals who have purchased bump-
stock-type devices or would have purchased them in the future

    Because many bump-stock-type devices--including those ATF addressed 
in classification letters between 2008 and 2017--have not been subject 
to regulation under the GCA, ATF does not keep track of manufacturers 
or retailers of bump-stock-type devices, nor does ATF keep track or 
maintain a database of individuals who have purchased bump-stock-type 
devices. Therefore, the affected population of manufacturers and 
retailers is an estimate and based on publicly available information 
and, with respect to retailers who are also Federal firearms licensees 
(FFLs), is also based on ATF's records in the Federal Firearms 
Licensing System.
    ATF estimates that since 2010, as many as six domestic bump-stock-
type device manufacturers have been in the marketplace, but due to 
patent infringement litigation, only two remain in the market. For the 
estimate of the number of retailers, ATF filtered all FFLs for a list 
of potential sellers. While there are approximately 80,000 FFLs 
currently licensed, only certain types sell firearms to the public. ATF 
first removed FFLs that do not sell firearms to the public. Next, since 
not all FFLs sell firearm accessories, ATF needed to estimate the 
number that do sell accessories. ATF assumed that FFLs that are likely 
to sell bump-stock-type devices would have online websites. ATF 
requests public comment on the reasonableness of the assumption that 
retailers of bump-stock-type devices are likely to be businesses with 
an online presence. ATF ran a query on the FFL database and found that 
of those that sell firearms to the public, 2,270 have websites. Because 
sellers of firearm accessories do not necessarily sell firearms, ATF 
also performed an online search and found an additional 11 retailers 
who sell firearm accessories, but not firearms. Adding these two totals 
together, ATF estimates that there are 2,281 retailers of bump-stock-
type devices.
    Because there are no records of individuals who have purchased 
firearm accessories, ATF does not have an estimated number of 
individuals who would be affected by this proposed rule. Although ATF 
lacks data on the number of individuals who have purchased bump-stock-
type devices, ATF has some information from one manufacturer and four 
retailers on the volume of sales of such devices. Based on these 
reported amounts, ATF estimates that the number of bump-stock-type 
devices that were purchased during the 8-year period beginning in 2010 
ranges from

[[Page 13450]]

35,000 per year as a low estimate to 75,000 per year as the high and 
primary estimate. ATF used a public commenter's 400,000 total estimate 
as a third estimate. For further information on the methodology of 
these estimates, please review the analysis regarding ``Costs'' below.
Costs
    There are three primary sources of costs from this rule. First, for 
owners of bump-stock-type devices, there will be a lost value from no 
longer being able to possess or use the devices. Second, there will be 
a lost value to manufacturers who would have manufactured and sold the 
devices in the future and to gun owners who would have purchased them. 
Finally, there is a disposal cost associated with the need to destroy 
the devices or render them inactive.
Cost to the Public for Loss of Property
    As reported by public comments, individuals purchase bump-stock-
type devices so that they can simulate automatic firing on a 
semiautomatic firearm. Commenters noted a variety of purposes for which 
bump-stock-type devices have been advertised and used, including for 
recreation and fun, assisting persons with mobility issues in firing 
quickly, self-defense, killing invasive pig species, and target 
practice (although, as some commenters observed, bump-stock-type 
devices impede firing accuracy). If the proposed rule became effective, 
bump-stock-type devices would be considered machineguns under the NFA 
and could not be lawfully possessed because the GCA prohibits persons 
from possessing a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed before 
the effective date of the statute. Bump-stock-type devices currently 
possessed by individuals would have to be destroyed or turned in upon 
implementation of the regulation.
    The lost value from no longer being able to use or purchase bump-
stock-type devices will depend on the volume of sales in the market and 
the value that consumers place on the devices. ATF has limited 
information about the market for bump-stock-type devices. One commenter 
estimated that more than 400,000 bump-stock-type devices may have been 
sold. Based on publicly available information, ATF estimates that in 
the first two years that bump-stock-type devices were in the market, 
approximately 35,000 were sold per year.\10\ However, after 2011, other 
manufacturers entered the market and there is no available information 
regarding the total number of bump-stock-type devices manufactured. ATF 
is using publicly available information on manufacturing and combining 
it with the information on retail sales to estimate a range of the 
number of bump-stock-type devices in the marketplace.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \10\ Donnie A. Lucas, Firing Up Some Simple Solutions, Albany 
News (Dec. 22, 2011), http://www.thealbanynews.net/archives/2443.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ATF first developed an estimate of the number of bump-stock-type 
devices in the marketplace, based on information on retail sales 
provided in response to the ANPRM. One retailer stated that it sold an 
average of 4,000 to 5,000 bump-stock-type devices per year.\11\ Public 
comments indicated that one retailer sold 3,800 bump-stock-type devices 
annually, one sold 60 per year, and one sold approximately 5-10 per 
year.\12\ For the purposes of this regulatory analysis (RA), ATF 
assumes that a large retailer would have sold 4,400, a midrange 
retailer would have sold 60, and a small retailer would have sold 
8.\13\ For the purposes of this analysis, ATF assumes the number of 
retailers by size are as follows:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \11\ Based on an internal survey of large retailers.
    \12\ Regulations.gov, Docket ID: ATF-2018-0001-27509, https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ATF-2018-0001-27509 (last visited on 
Mar. 6, 2018); Regulations.gov, Docket ID: ATF-2018-0001-0433, 
https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ATF-2018-0001-0433 (last 
visited on Mar. 6, 2018); Regulations.gov, Docket ID: ATF-2018-0001-
0128, https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=ATF-2018-0001-0128 
(last visited on Mar. 6, 2018).
    \13\ For a large retailer the average sales were 4,400 = (3,800 
+ 5,000)/2. For a small retailer, the average sales were 8 = (5 + 
10)/2.

 4 large * 4,400 annual sales
 755 midrange * 60 annual sales
 1,511 small * 8 annual sales

    The number of large retailers is a known number. As stated in the 
Affected Population section above, based on ATF's internal database and 
online research, the remaining number of retailers is 2,270. For the 
purposes of this RA, ATF assumed that one-third of the remaining 
retailer population are midrange retailers, and the remaining 1,511 are 
small retailers. Using these assumed numbers of retailers and annual 
sales by size of retailer, ATF estimated annual sales of about 75,000 
[(4 * 4,400) + (755 * 60) + (1,511 * 8)].
    ATF next developed an estimate of the number of bump-stock-type 
devices in the United States based on information about the numbers of 
bump-stock-type devices manufactured. Based on publicly available 
information, ATF estimates that approximately 35,000 bump-stock-type 
devices were sold in 2010.\14\ Only in 2012 did other manufacturers 
enter the marketplace. For the purposes of this RA, ATF assumes that in 
the first two years of production, the one manufacturer produced the 
same 35,000 in years 2010 and 2011. ATF has two sets of production 
estimates. Because no information is otherwise known about the 
production of bump-stock-type devices, ATF assumes that the low 
estimate of annual bump-stock-type device production is a constant 
35,000, based on the one data point. As stated earlier, a public 
commenter provided an estimate of 400,000 bump-stock-type devices 
currently in circulation. To account for how these were purchased over 
the last 8 years, ATF also assumed the same 35,000 production in the 
first 2 years, but spread out the remaining 330,000 over the remaining 
6 years, or about 55,000 per year. However, incorporating the provided 
retail sales information, ATF developed a third, higher estimate 
reflecting that when the other manufacturers entered the market, the 
number of bump-stock-type devices sold on the market annually could 
have been 75,000.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \14\ Donnie A. Lucas, Firing Up Some Simple Solutions, Albany 
News (Dec. 22, 2011), http://www.thealbanynews.net/archives/2443.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The high estimate is ATF's primary estimate because ATF knows that 
there was an increase in production starting in 2012. In 2012, there 
were other manufacturers who entered the market, and the first 
manufacturer increased production at some point thereafter. 
Furthermore, the primary estimate includes information provided by 
retailers as a more comprehensive outlook on the overall production 
numbers. For the purposes of this analysis, ATF assumes that both the 
increase in production and the market entry of other manufacturers all 
occurred in 2012. Table 2 provides the breakdown of production for the 
low estimate, public comment estimate, and primary estimate.

[[Page 13451]]



           Table 2--Number of Bump-Stock-Type Devices Produced, Based on Manufacturer and Retail Sales
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Public comment      Primary
                              Year                                 Low estimate      estimate        estimate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2010............................................................          35,000          35,000          35,000
2011............................................................          35,000          35,000          35,000
2012............................................................          35,000          55,000          75,000
2013............................................................          35,000          55,000          75,000
2014............................................................          35,000          55,000          75,000
2015............................................................          35,000          55,000          75,000
2016............................................................          35,000          55,000          75,000
2017............................................................          35,000          55,000          75,000
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................         280,000         400,000         520,000
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In other words, the number of bump-stock-type devices held by the 
public could range from about 280,000 to about 520,000.
    ATF does not know the production cost of bump-stock-type devices, 
but for the purposes of this RA, ATF uses the retail sales amounts as a 
proxy for the total value of these devices. For devices that have 
already been sold, there are two countervailing effects that affect the 
value of the devices. There may have been some depreciation of the 
devices since they were originally purchased, resulting in a value 
somewhat reduced from the retail price. On the other hand, some 
consumers would have been willing to pay more than the retail price for 
a bump-stock-type device, and for these individuals the devices would 
have a higher valuation than the retail price. Both of these effects 
are difficult to estimate, and here ATF assumes that the retail sales 
price is a reasonable proxy for the value of the devices.
    The primary manufacturer of bump-stock-type devices sells them at a 
price of $179.95 to $425.95.\15\ For the purposes of this RA, ATF 
estimates that the average sale price for these bump-stock-type devices 
was $301.00 during the first two years they were sold. In 2012, at 
least one other manufacturer entered the market and started selling 
their devices at the rate of $99.99, making the overall prices for 
these devices lower.\16\ For the purposes of this RA, ATF assumes that 
the average sale price for bump-stock-type devices from 2012 to 2017 
was $200.00. Based on these costs, multiplied by the number of bump-
stock-type devices in the market, Table 3 provides the sales value that 
the public has spent on these devices over the course of the last eight 
years.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \15\ Slide Fire AR-15 Bump Fire Stocks (archived page on Jan. 
28, 2017), https://web.archive.org/web/20170128085532/http://www.slidefire.com/products/ar-platform (last visited Mar. 6, 2018).
    \16\ Bump Fire Systems (archived page on Feb. 21, 2015), https://web.archive.org/web/20150221050223/http://bumpfiresystems.com/ 
(last visited Mar. 6, 2018).

                         Table 3--Amount Spent on Bump-Stock-Type Devices (Undiscounted)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                  Public comment      Primary
                              Year                                 Low estimate      estimate        estimate
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011............................................................     $10,533,250     $10,533,250     $10,533,250
2012............................................................      10,533,250      10,533,250      10,533,250
2013............................................................       7,016,450      11,025,850      15,035,250
2014............................................................       7,016,450      11,025,850      15,035,250
2015............................................................       7,016,450      11,025,850      15,035,250
2016............................................................       7,016,450      11,025,850      15,035,250
2017............................................................       7,016,450      11,025,850      15,035,250
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------
    Total.......................................................      56,148,750      76,195,750      96,242,750
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ATF estimates that the total, undiscounted amount spent on bump-
stock-type devices was $96.2 million. While the retail prices of these 
bump-stock-type devices remained constant over the eight years of 
sales, these purchases occurred over time; therefore, ATF presents the 
discounted value at 3% and 7% in Table 4 to account for the present 
value of these purchases.

              Table 4--The Amount Spent Purchasing Bump-Stock-Type Devices, Discounted at 3% and 7%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Year                                 Undiscounted         3%              7%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011............................................................     $10,533,250     $12,210,924     $14,773,428
2012............................................................      10,533,250      11,855,266      13,806,942
2013............................................................      15,035,250      16,429,424      18,418,828
2014............................................................      15,035,250      15,950,897      17,213,858
2015............................................................      15,035,250      15,486,308      16,087,718
2016............................................................      15,035,250      15,035,250      15,035,250
2017............................................................      15,035,250      14,597,330      14,051,636
                                                                 -----------------------------------------------

[[Page 13452]]

 
    Total.......................................................      96,242,750     101,565,397     109,387,659
                                                                                 -------------------------------
        Annualized Cost.........................................  ..............      14,468,640      18,318,906
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because these purchases occurred in the past, ATF's discount years 
start at -5 and increase to 0 to account for the Executive Order 13771 
standard that costs be presented in 2016 dollars. With these 
assumptions, ATF estimates that the annualized, discounted amount spent 
on bump-stock-type devices was $14.5 million and $18.3 million at 3% 
and 7%, respectively.
    Based on the same discounting formula, ATF estimates that the total 
undiscounted cost for the low estimate would be $56.1 million, and the 
total discounted values would be $60.2 million and $66.3 million at 3% 
and 7%, respectively. The annualized values for the low estimates of 
total number of bump-stock-type devices sold are $8.6 million and $11.1 
million at 3% and 7%, respectively. For the 400,000-unit estimate 
provided by the public commenter, the total undiscounted amount would 
be $76.2 million, and the total discounted values would be $80.9 
million and $87.8 million at 3% and 7%, respectively. The annualized 
values for the 400,000-unit sales estimate are $11.5 million and $14.7 
million at 3% and 7%, respectively.
Forgone Future Production and Sales
    ATF has estimated the lost production and lost sales that would 
occur in the 10 years after the implementation of this proposed rule, 
should this proposed rule take effect. In order to do this, ATF needed 
to predict the number of devices that would be sold in the future in 
the absence of a rule. Such a prediction should take account of recent 
expected changes in the demand for and supply of bump-stock-type 
devices. For example, based on a survey, half of the known, large 
former retailers of bump-stock-type devices no longer sell bump-stock-
type devices as a result of the Las Vegas shooting, nor do they intend 
to sell them in the future. Moreover, while ATF has estimated the 
number of bump-stock-type devices manufactured since 2010, ATF is 
without sufficient information to estimate the number of individuals 
who were interested in acquiring bump-stock-type devices prior to the 
Las Vegas shooting but would no longer want them due to the shooting.
    Another recent change affecting individuals' future purchases of 
bump-stock-type devices is that certain States have already banned such 
devices. These States are California, Florida, Massachusetts, New 
Jersey, New York, and Washington. The effect of States' bans on 
individuals' future purchases of bump-stock-type devices should not be 
attributed to this proposed rule since these reductions in purchases 
would happen with or without the rule. However, ATF was unable to 
quantify the impact of States' bans and thus was unable to account for 
the future effects of these bans in the estimate of the effects of the 
proposed rule.
    Based on previously mentioned comments from large retailers, ATF 
expects that, in the absence of this rule, some retailers would not 
sell bump-stock-type devices in the future. In order to estimate the 
expected future reduction in demand for bump-stock-type devices as a 
result of the Las Vegas shooting, ATF assumes that the reduction of 
sales by large retailers that has already occurred would be a 
reasonable estimate of the future reduction of sales overall that would 
occur in the absence of the rule. ATF estimates that there are four 
large retailers of bump-stock-type devices, of which two have stated 
that they would no longer sell bump-stock-type devices regardless of 
this proposed rule. For the purposes of this regulatory analysis, it is 
estimated that each of the two large retailers sell 4,400 bump-stock-
type devices annually. Removing the effects of these two large 
retailers from the future market reduces ATF's primary estimate of 
74,988 in past annual production to an estimate of 66,484 (75,284 - 
8,800) in annual sales that would occur in the future in the absence of 
a rule. Table 5 provides the estimated breakdown of lost production and 
sales forgone should this rule become final.

                     Table 5--Forgone Production and Sales of Future Bump-Stock-Type Devices
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Number of bump-
                Year                      stock-type        Undiscounted            3%                 7%
                                           devices
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2018................................             66,484        $20,008,360     $19,425,592.04     $18,699,401.68
2019................................             66,484         20,008,360      18,859,798.10      17,476,076.34
2020................................             66,484         20,008,360      18,310,483.59      16,332,781.62
2021................................             66,484         20,008,360      17,777,168.53      15,264,281.89
2022................................             66,484         20,008,360      17,259,386.92      14,265,684.01
2023................................             66,484         20,008,360      16,756,686.33      13,332,414.96
2024................................             66,484         20,008,360      16,268,627.51      12,460,200.90
2025................................             66,484         20,008,360      15,794,783.99      11,645,047.57
2026................................             66,484         20,008,360      15,334,741.74      10,883,222.03
2027................................             66,484         20,008,360      14,888,098.77      10,171,235.54
                                     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total...........................  .................        200,083,598     170,675,367.53     140,530,346.56
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
        Annualized Cost.............  .................  .................      24,313,796.52      23,534,302.70
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on these estimates, ATF estimates that the undiscounted value 
of forgone future sales over 10 years would be $200.1 million, 
undiscounted, or $24.3 million and $23.5 million, annualized and 
discounted at 3% and 7%.

[[Page 13453]]

Disposal
    This proposed rule would require the destruction of existing bump-
stock-type devices. The cost of disposal would have several components. 
For individuals who own bump-stock-type devices, there would be a cost 
for the time and effort to destroy the devices or ensure that they are 
destroyed by another party. For retailers, wholesalers, and 
manufacturers, there would be a cost of the time and effort to destroy 
or ensure the destruction of any devices held in inventory. Based on 
the response from public comments, it is not clear if there would also 
be a cost from the lost value of that inventory.
    Individuals who have purchased bump-stock-type devices prior to the 
implementation of this rule would have the option of destroying the 
devices themselves, turning the devices in to the nearest ATF office 
for destruction by ATF or, subject to compliance with U.S. Mail 
regulations and the policies of commercial shipment services, sending 
the devices to ATF through the U.S. Mail or other commercial delivery 
service. Options for destroying the devices may include melting, 
crushing, or shredding in a manner that renders the device incapable of 
ready restoration. Since the majority of bump-stock-type devices are 
made of plastic material, individuals wishing to destroy the devices 
themselves could simply use a hammer to break apart the devices and 
throw the pieces away. Other destruction options that ATF has 
historically accepted include torch cutting or sawing the device in a 
manner that removes at least \1/4\ inch of material for each cut and 
completely severs design features critical to the functionality of the 
device as a bump-stock-type device.
    If a possessor chooses to turn in the device to the local ATF 
office, the cost to the public to destroy the device would be the cost 
to drive to the nearest ATF office, the cost of sending through the 
U.S. Mail, or the cost of sending via private shipper. For the purposes 
of this regulatory analysis, ATF assumes that most individuals 
disposing of their existing bump-stock-type devices would destroy these 
devices themselves rather than turn them into the nearest ATF office 
through personal delivery, mail, or private shipper.
    Should this rule take effect, public comments suggest that 
unsellable inventory could be worth approximately $35,000 per large 
retailer. One public commenter, assumed to be a large retailer, stated 
that its gross sales were $140,000. Another public commenter assumed to 
be a midrange retailer had gross sales of $18,000. No known sales were 
reported for a small retailer. Based on the proportion of sales among 
the large, midrange, and small retailers, ATF estimates that the amount 
in existing inventory for a midrange retailer would be $4,500 and, for 
a small retailer, $74.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \17\ Midrange: $4,500 = ($18,000/$140,000) * $35,000. Small: $74 
= (8/3,800) * $35,000.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The retailer, assumed to be large, also commented that the 
opportunity cost of time needed to destroy existing inventory would be 
approximately $700. ATF's subject matter experts estimate that a 
retailer could use a maintenance crew to destroy existing inventory. To 
determine the hourly time needed to destroy existing inventory, ATF 
used the $700 reported amount, divided by the loaded wage rate of a 
building cleaning worker. ATF subject matter experts also suggest that 
existing packers would be used for a midrange retailer and the minimum 
wage would be used for a small retailer. The loaded rate of 1.43 was 
used to account for fringe benefits.\18\ Table 6 provides the wages 
used for this analysis.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ BLS Series ID CMU2010000000000D, CMU2010000000000P (Private 
Industry Compensation = $32.35)/(Private Industry Wages and Salaries 
= $22.55) = 1.43. BLS average 2016. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 
https://beta.bls.gov/dataQuery/find?fq=survey:[cm]&s=popularity:D.

                               Table 6--Wage Series to Destroy Existing Inventory
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Unloaded wage    Loaded wage
           Wage series                 Series code           rate            rate                Source
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Individual.......................  ...................          $13.60          $13.60  https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/2016%20Revised%20Value%20of%20Travel%20Time%20Guidance.pdf.
Minimum Wage Rate................  Min Wage...........            7.25           10.40  https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2016/home.htm.
Packers, Packagers, and Handlers.  53-7064............           11.74           16.84  https://www.bls.gov/oes/2016/may/oes537064.htm.
Retail Salespersons..............  41-2031............           13.07           18.75  https://www.bls.gov/oes/2016/may/oes412031.htm.
Building Cleaning Workers, All     37-2019............           14.88           21.34  https://www.bls.gov/oes/
 Other.                                                                                  2016/may/oes372019.htm.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Based on the estimated wages and reported opportunity cost of time, 
ATF estimates that it would take a large retailer 32.8 hours, a 
midrange retailer 0.45 hours, and a small retailer 0.25 hours to 
destroy existing inventory. Table 7 provides the per-retailer estimated 
opportunity cost of time.

                         Table 7--Opportunity Cost of Time to Destroy Existing Inventory
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Incremental                     Opportunity
                           Population                                  cost        Hourly burden   cost of time
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Individual......................................................          $13.60            0.25           $3.40
Retailer (Large)................................................           21.34            32.8          699.95
Retailer (Midrange).............................................           16.84            0.45            7.58
Retailer (Small)................................................           19.51            0.25            4.88
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 13454]]

    As stated earlier, ATF estimates that there are 519,927 bump-stock-
type devices already purchased by the public. Based on the opportunity 
cost of time per bump-stock-type device, and the estimated opportunity 
cost of time per retailer, ATF provides the cost to destroy all 
existing bump-stock-type devices in Table 8.

    Table 8--Opportunity Cost of Time to Destroy Existing Devices by
                      Individual and Retailer Size
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Individual.................................................   $1,768,000
Retailer (Large)...........................................        2,800
Retailer (Midrange)........................................        5,752
Retailer (Small)...........................................        3,947
                                                            ------------
  Total Disposal Cost......................................    1,780,498
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    ATF estimates that it would cost a total of $1.8 million to destroy 
all existing bump-stock-type devices.
    We treat all costs of disposal of existing devices owned by 
individuals or held in inventory by retailers or manufacturers as if 
they occur in 2018. Therefore, the costs of the rule in 2018 would 
include the total undiscounted value of existing stock of bump-stock-
type devices in Table 4 ($96.2 million), the year 2018 loss of future 
production from Table 5 ($20.0 million), and the total cost of disposal 
from Table 8 ($1.8 million). Overall, ATF estimates that the total cost 
of this proposed rule would be $297.2 million over a 10-year period of 
future analysis. This cost includes the first-year cost to destroy all 
existing bump-stock-type devices, including unsellable inventory and 
opportunity cost of time. Table 9 provides the 10-year cost of this 
proposed rule.

                                     Table 9--10-Year Cost of Proposed Rule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Year                              Undiscounted            3%                 7%
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2018...................................................       $118,031,608       $111,256,111       $103,093,378
2019...................................................         20,008,360         18,310,484         16,332,782
2020...................................................         20,008,360         17,777,169         15,264,282
2021...................................................         20,008,360         17,259,387         14,265,684
2022...................................................         20,008,360         16,756,686         13,332,415
2023...................................................         20,008,360         16,268,628         12,460,201
2024...................................................         20,008,360         15,794,784         11,645,048
2025...................................................         20,008,360         15,334,742         10,883,222
2026...................................................         20,008,360         14,888,099         10,171,236
2027...................................................         20,008,360         14,454,465          9,505,828
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
    Total..............................................        298,106,846        258,100,553        216,954,074
                                                        --------------------------------------------------------
        Annualized Cost................................  .................         36,768,073         36,332,813
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As stated in the paragraph above, the total undiscounted cost is 
$297.2 million, and the discounted costs would be $36.8 million and 
$36.3 million annualized at 3% and 7% respectively.
Government Costs
    Government costs are estimated as de minimis because collection of 
the bump-stock-type devices by ATF would be an ancillary duty of 
existing ATF Special Agents.
Cost Savings
    ATF did not calculate any cost savings for this proposed rule.
Benefits
    As reported by public comments, this proposed rule would affect the 
criminal use of bump-stock-type devices in mass shootings, such as the 
Las Vegas shooting incident.
    The purpose of this rule is to amend ATF regulations to clarify 
that bump-stock-type devices are ``machineguns'' as defined by the NFA 
and GCA. Banning bump-stock-type devices could reduce casualties in an 
incident involving a weapon fitted with a bump-stock-type device, as 
well as assist first responders when responding to incidents, because 
it prevents shooters from using a device that allows them to shoot a 
semiautomatic firearm automatically.
Alternatives
    Alternative 1--No change alternative. This alternative would leave 
the regulations in place as they currently stand. Since there would be 
no changes to regulations, there would be no cost, savings, or benefits 
to this alternative.
    Alternative 2--Patronizing a shooting range. Individuals wishing to 
experience the shooting of a ``full-auto'' firearm could go to a 
shooting range that provides access to lawfully registered ``pre-1986'' 
machineguns to customers, where the firearm remains on the premises and 
under the control of the shooting range. ATF does not have the 
information to determine which, where, or how many gun ranges provide 
such a service and is therefore not able to quantify this alternative.
    Alternative 3--Opportunity alternatives. Based on public comments, 
individuals wishing to replicate the effects of bump-stock-type devices 
could also use rubber bands, belt loops, or otherwise train their 
trigger finger to fire more rapidly. To the extent that individuals are 
capable of doing so, this would be their alternative to using bump-
stock-type devices.
    No other feasible alternatives were identified, and thus none were 
considered.

B. Executive Order 13132

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, the relationship between the Federal Government and the States, 
or the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of 
Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), the Attorney General has determined 
that this regulation does not have sufficient federalism implications 
to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

C. Executive Order 12988

    This regulation meets the applicable standards set forth in 
sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice 
Reform).

[[Page 13455]]

D. Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)

Summary of Findings
    ATF performed an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis of the 
impacts on small businesses and other entities from the NPRM. Based on 
the information from this analysis, ATF found:
     It is estimated that of the two remaining manufacturers, 
at least one manufacturer only produces bump-stock-type devices and 
therefore could completely go out of business;
     There are 2,281 retailers, of which most are estimated to 
be small;
     There are no relevant government entities.
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) establishes ``as a principle 
of regulatory issuance that agencies shall endeavor, consistent with 
the objectives of the rule and of applicable statutes, to fit 
regulatory and informational requirements to the scale of the 
businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions subject to 
regulation. To achieve this principle, agencies are required to solicit 
and consider flexible regulatory proposals and to explain the rationale 
for their actions to assure that such proposals are given serious 
consideration.'' Public Law 96-354, 2(b), 94 Stat. 1164 (1980).
    Under the RFA, the agency is required to consider if this rule will 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Agencies must perform a review to determine whether a rule 
will have such an impact. If the agency determines that it will, the 
agency must prepare a regulatory flexibility analysis as described in 
the RFA.
    Under the RFA (5 U.S.C. 603(b)-(c)), the regulatory flexibility 
analysis must provide and/or address:
     A description of the reasons why action by the agency is 
being considered;
     A succinct statement of the objectives of, and legal basis 
for, the proposed rule;
     A description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the 
number of small entities to which the proposed rule will apply;
     A description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping 
and other compliance requirements of the proposed rule, including an 
estimate of the classes of small entities which will be subject to the 
requirement and the type of professional skills necessary for 
preparation of the report or record;
     An identification, to the extent practicable, of all 
relevant Federal rules which may duplicate, overlap or conflict with 
the proposed rule; and
     Descriptions of any significant alternatives to the 
proposed rule which accomplish the stated objectives of applicable 
statutes and which minimize any significant economic impact of the 
proposed rule on small entities.
    The RFA covers a wide range of small entities. The term ``small 
entities'' comprises small businesses, not-for-profit organizations 
that are independently owned and operated and are not dominant in their 
fields, and governmental jurisdictions with populations of less than 
50,000. 5 U.S.C. 601(3)-(6). ATF determined that the rule affects a 
variety of large and small businesses (see the ``Description of the 
Potential Number of Small Entities'' section below). Based on the 
requirements above, ATF prepared the following regulatory flexibility 
analysis assessing the impact on small entities from the rule.
A Description of the Reasons Why Action by the Agency Is Being 
Considered
    Agencies take regulatory action for various reasons. One of the 
reasons is to carry out Congress's policy decisions, as expressed in 
statutes. Here, this rulemaking aims to apply Congress's policy 
decision to prohibit machineguns. Another reason underpinning 
regulatory action is the failure of the market to compensate for 
negative externalities caused by commercial activity. A negative 
externality can be the byproduct of a transaction between two parties 
that is not accounted for in the transaction. This proposed rule is 
addressing a negative externality. The negative externality of the 
commercial sale of bump-stock-type devices is that it could be used for 
criminal purposes. This poses a public safety issue, which the 
Department is trying to address.
A Succinct Statement of the Objectives of, and Legal Basis for, the 
Proposed Rule
    The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the GCA, as 
amended, and the NFA, as amended.
A Description of and, Where Feasible, an Estimate of the Number of 
Small Entities To Which the Proposed Rule Will Apply
    This rule would affect primarily manufacturers of bump-stock-type 
devices, FFLs that sell bump-stock-type devices, and other small 
retailers of firearm accessories that have invested in the bump-stock-
type device industry. Based on publicly available information, there 
are two manufacturers affected. Of the known retailers, the large 
retailers do not intend to continue selling bump-stock-type devices. 
There may be some small retailers that would intend to continue selling 
these devices should this proposed rule not go into effect and would 
thus be affected by this proposed rule. Based on the information from 
this analysis, ATF found:
     There are 2,270 retailers who are likely to be small 
entities;
     There are no government jurisdictions affected by this 
proposed rule; and
     There are no nonprofits found in the data.
A Description of the Projected Reporting, Recordkeeping and Other 
Compliance Requirements of the Proposed Rule, Including an Estimate of 
the Classes of Small Entities Which Will Be Subject to the Requirement 
and the Type of Professional Skills Necessary for Preparation of the 
Report or Record
    There are no reporting or recordkeeping requirements for this 
proposed rule. The only relevant compliance requirement consists of 
disposing of all existing inventory of bump-stock-type devices for 
small entities that carry them. There would not be any professional 
skills necessary to record or report in this proposed rulemaking.
An Identification, to the Extent Practicable, of All Relevant Federal 
Rules Which May Duplicate, Overlap or Conflict With the Proposed Rule
    This proposed rule does not duplicate or conflict with other 
Federal rules.
Descriptions of Any Significant Alternatives to the Proposed Rule Which 
Accomplish the Stated Objectives of Applicable Statutes and Which 
Minimize Any Significant Economic Impact of the Proposed Rule on Small 
Entities
    Alternatives were considered in this proposed rule. Alternatives 
include making no regulatory changes. ATF rejected this alternative 
because it does not address the public safety concerns raised by bump-
stock-type devices, and would not be consistent with ATF's 
interpretation of the statutory term ``machinegun.'' There were no 
other regulatory alternatives to this proposal that ATF has been able 
to identify that would accomplish the intent of this proposed rule.

E. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1966

    This rule is a major rule as defined by section 251 of the Small 
Business

[[Page 13456]]

Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C. 804. This rule is 
likely to be considered major as it is economically significant and is 
projected to have an effect of over $100 million on the economy in at 
least the first year of the rule.

F. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed 
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 
1995, Public Law 104-4, 109 Stat. 48.

G. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This final rule does not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521.

VII. Public Participation

A. Comments Sought

    ATF requests comments on the proposed rule from all interested 
persons. ATF specifically requests comments on the scope of this 
proposed rule and the definition of ``machinegun.'' ATF also requests 
comments on the costs and benefits of the proposed rule and on the 
appropriate methodology and data for calculating those costs and 
benefits. Further, ATF requests public comment on the reasonableness of 
the assumption that retailers of bump-stock-type devices are likely to 
be businesses with an online presence. In addition, ATF specifically 
requests comments regarding how ATF should address bump-stock-type 
devices that private parties currently possess, and the appropriate 
means of implementing a final rule.
    All comments must reference the docket number ATF 2017R-22, be 
legible, and include the commenter's complete first and last name and 
full mailing address. ATF will not consider, or respond to, comments 
that do not meet these requirements or comments containing profanity. 
In addition, if ATF cannot read your comment due to technical 
difficulties and cannot contact you for clarification, ATF may not be 
able to consider your comment.
    ATF will carefully consider all comments, as appropriate, received 
on or before the closing date, and will give comments received after 
that date the same consideration if it is practical to do so, but 
assurance of consideration cannot be given except as to comments 
received on or before the closing date. ATF will not acknowledge 
receipt of comments.

B. Confidentiality

    ATF will make all comments, whether submitted electronically or on 
paper, available for public viewing at ATF and on the internet as part 
of the eRulemaking initiative, and subject to the Freedom of 
Information Act. Commenters who do not want their name or other 
personal identifying information posted on the internet should submit 
comments by mail or facsimile, along with a separate cover sheet 
containing their personal identifying information. Both the cover sheet 
and comment must reference this docket number (ATF 2017R-22). 
Information contained in the cover sheet will not appear on the 
internet. ATF will not redact personal identifying information that 
appears within the comment, and it will appear on the internet.
    The commenter should not include material that he or she considers 
inappropriate for disclosure to the public. Any person submitting a 
comment shall specifically designate that portion (if any) of the 
comment that contains material that is confidential under law (e.g., 
trade secrets, processes). The commenter shall set forth any portion of 
a comment that is confidential under law on pages separate from the 
balance of the comment with each page prominently marked 
``confidential'' at the top of the page.
    Confidential information will be included in the rulemaking record 
but will not be disclosed to the public. Any comments containing 
material that is not confidential under law may be disclosed to the 
public. In any event, the name of the person submitting a comment is 
not exempt from disclosure.

C. Submitting Comments

    Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same 
comments multiple times or by more than one method). Hand-delivered 
comments will not be accepted.
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: ATF strongly recommends that 
you submit your comments to ATF via the Federal eRulemaking portal. 
Visit http://www.regulations.gov and follow the instructions for 
submitting comments. Comments will be posted within a few days of being 
submitted. However, if large volumes of comments are being processed 
simultaneously, your comment may not be viewable for up to several 
weeks. Please keep the comment tracking number that regulations.gov 
provides after you have successfully uploaded your comment.
     Mail: Send written comments to the address listed in the 
ADDRESSES section of this document. Written comments must appear in 
minimum 12-point font size (.17 inches), include the commenter's 
complete first and last name and full mailing address, be signed, and 
may be of any length.
     Facsimile: Submit comments by facsimile transmission to 
(202) 648-9741. Faxed comments must:
    (1) Be legible and appear in minimum 12-point font size (.17 
inches);
    (2) Be on 8\1/2\'' x 11'' paper;
    (3) Be signed and contain the commenter's complete first and last 
name and full mailing address; and
    (4) Be no more than five pages long.

D. Request for Hearing

    Any interested person who desires an opportunity to comment orally 
at a public hearing should submit his or her request, in writing, to 
the Director of ATF within the 90-day comment period. The Director, 
however, reserves the right to determine, in light of all 
circumstances, whether a public hearing is necessary.
Disclosure
    Copies of this notice and the comments received will be available 
at http://www.regulations.gov (search for Docket No. 2017R-22) and for 
public inspection by appointment during normal business hours at: ATF 
Reading Room, Room 1E-063, 99 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20226; 
telephone: (202) 648-8740.

List of Subjects

27 CFR Part 447

    Administrative practice and procedure, Arms and munitions, 
Chemicals, Customs duties and inspection, Imports, Penalties, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements, Scientific equipment, Seizures and 
forfeitures.

27 CFR Part 478

    Administrative practice and procedure, Arms and munitions, Customs 
duties and inspection, Exports, Imports, Intergovernmental relations, 
Law enforcement officers, Military personnel, Penalties, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Research, Seizures and forfeitures, 
Transportation.

27 CFR Part 479

    Administrative practice and procedure, Arms and munitions, Excise 
taxes, Exports, Imports, Military personnel, Penalties, Reporting and

[[Page 13457]]

recordkeeping requirements, Seizures and forfeitures, Transportation.

Authority and Issuance

    Accordingly, for the reasons discussed in the preamble, 27 CFR 
parts 447, 478, and 479 are proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 447--IMPORTATION OF ARMS, AMMUNITION AND IMPLEMENTS OF WAR

0
1. The authority citation for 27 CFR part 447 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  22 U.S.C. 2778, E.O. 13637, 78 FR 16129 (Mar. 8, 
2013).

0
2. In Sec.  447.11, amend the definition of ``Machinegun'' to read as 
follows:


Sec.  447.11   Meaning of terms.

* * * * *
    Machinegun. A ``machinegun'', ``machine pistol'', 
``submachinegun'', or ``automatic rifle'' is a weapon which shoots, is 
designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically 
more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of 
the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any 
such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or 
combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a 
weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a 
machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or 
under the control of a person. For purposes of this definition, the 
term ``automatically'' as it modifies ``shoots, is designed to shoot, 
or can be readily restored to shoot,'' means functioning as the result 
of a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of 
multiple rounds through a single function of the trigger; and ``single 
function of the trigger'' means a single pull of the trigger. The term 
``machinegun'' includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that 
allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single 
pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the 
semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets 
and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the 
trigger by the shooter.
* * * * *

PART 478--COMMERCE IN FIREARMS AND AMMUNITION

0
3. The authority citation for 27 CFR part 478 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552(a); 18 U.S.C. 921-931.

0
4. In Sec.  478.11, amend the definition of ``Machine gun'' by adding 
two sentences at the end of the definition to read as follows:


Sec.  478.11   Meaning of terms.

* * * * *
    Machine gun.
    * * * For purposes of this definition, the term ``automatically'' 
as it modifies ``shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily 
restored to shoot,'' means functioning as the result of a self-acting 
or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds 
through a single function of the trigger; and ``single function of the 
trigger'' means a single pull of the trigger. The term ``machine gun'' 
includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a 
semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of 
the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic 
firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues 
firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the 
shooter.
* * * * *

PART 479--MACHINE GUNS, DESTRUCTIVE DEVICES, AND CERTAIN OTHER 
FIREARMS

0
5. The authority citation for 27 CFR part 479 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  26 U.S.C. 7805.

0
6. In Sec.  479.11, amend the definition of ``Machine gun'' by adding 
two sentences at the end of the definition to read as follows:


Sec.  479.11   Meaning of terms.

* * * * *
    Machine gun.
    * * * For purposes of this definition, the term ``automatically'' 
as it modifies ``shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily 
restored to shoot,'' means functioning as the result of a self-acting 
or self-regulating mechanism that allows the firing of multiple rounds 
through a single function of the trigger; and ``single function of the 
trigger'' means a single pull of the trigger. The term ``machine gun'' 
includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a 
semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of 
the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic 
firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues 
firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the 
shooter.
* * * * *

    Dated: March 23, 2018.
Jefferson B. Sessions III,
Attorney General.
[FR Doc. 2018-06292 Filed 3-28-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4410-FY-P