Tag Archives: “bump fire”

Federal Judge Dismisses Class Action Against Slide Fire Solutions

A Federal Judge for the District of Nevada issued an order on September 17th dismissing a class action lawsuit against Slide Fire Solutions, makers of the notorious bump-fire stock. Slide Fire had filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) (which governs personal jurisdiction) and 12(b)(6) (which covers failures to state a claim for which relief can be granted).

Now I know you are all at the edge of your seats hoping for an in depth discussion about the Court’s analysis of personal jurisdiction, but this isn’t law school and I want you to come back to the blog for future articles. If you are interested, you can read the Court’s analysis of that issue here (Pages 5-13). However, the part that most of the readers will find fascinating is the Court’s analysis of Slide Fire’s claim under 12(b)(6) which points to the Protection in Lawful Commerce of Arms Act (PLCAA) for a defense.

PLCAA was enacted by Congress upon finding that manufacturers and sellers of firearms “are not, and should not, be liable for the harm caused by those who criminally or unlawfully misuse firearm products . . . that function as designed and intended.” Ileto v. Glock, Inc., 565 F.3d 1126, 1135 (9th Cir. 2009) (quoting 15 U.S.C. § 7901(a)(5)). Simply put, the statute requires Courts to immediately dismiss “qualified civil liability actions“. The term encompasses a few different things, but for the purposes of this discussion will mean civil actions “brought by any person against a manufacturer or seller of a qualified product . . . for damages . . . or other relief, resulting from the criminal or unlawful misuse of a qualified product by the person or a third party…” Just as a quick aside, there are exemptions to this general rule, which you can find in the definition here.

Based on the definition above, the Court was left to wrestle with whether a bump-fire stock was a “qualified product“. In order to qualify, the bump-fire stock needed to be found to be a firearm or a component part. Of course, Congress did not define the term “component part” which meant that the Court had to give it meaning. Each party gave differing interpretations, Slide Fire arguing that it was a component part based on ATF’s guidebook and ATF’s determination letter, while the Plaintiff’s argued that they were accessories because “they are added after a consumer purchases a fully functional rifle, require post-purchase installation, and are advertised as a way to “enhance” or “overhaul” a rifle in Slide Fire’s promotional catalog”.

The Court ultimately sided with Slide Fire on its interpretation that a bump-fire stock was a “component part”. The Court found, and the parties did not dispute, that a stock was a component part of a rifle.

Thus, it follows that upon installation, the bump stock is a rifle’s operative stock and, therefore, becomes an integral part of a rifle.

As such, the Court determined that the bump-fire stocks were qualified products under PLCAA and therefor protected by the statute.

The Plaintiffs also argued that one of the exemptions was applicable because of “(1) Slide Fire’s alleged false entry on its application for a federal firearms license (“FFL”); and (2) Slide Fire’s misrepresentations to the ATF about bump stocks being intended for persons with limited mobility.” The Court declined to address the first allegation because it was not included in the complaint. In relation to the second allegation, the Court determined that “if a device’s marketability to those with disabilities was not a factor in the ATF’s finding, then it follows that Plaintiffs cannot show that Slide Fire’s misrepresentation proximately caused the injuries that are the subject of this case.” Simply put, the Court did not believe the Plaintiff’s presented enough evidence to invoke the exemption to PLCAA.

The Court gave the Plaintiffs twenty-one (21) days to amend their complaint, which means that this bumpy ride might not yet be over for Slide Fire.


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ATF to Publish Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Re: Application of the Definition of Machinegun to “Bump Fire” Stocks and Other Similar Devices

EDIT 3: Publication date is now scheduled for 12/26/2017. Deadline for submissions would be Thursday, January 25, 2018.

EDIT 2: Document has been reposted. Link is working again.

EDIT: It appears the document has been removed “The Office of the Federal Register withdrew this document after it went on public inspection due to technical errors.” I’ll be keeping my eye for a repost.

ANPRM

Tomorrow, ATF will publish an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding the application of the definition of machinegun to “Bump Fire” stocks and other similar devices. As many have feared, it appears that the regulatory agency is soliciting information to help draft a rule which may potentially lump bump fire stocks, binary triggers, etc., within the definition of machinegun.

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Comments are due thirty (30) days from the date of publication in the Federal Register. Assuming that nothing goes awry with the publication tomorrow, that would mean any comment you wish to submit in opposition to this advance notice would need to be submitted by 11:59 PM on Sunday, January 21, 2018 11:59 PM on Thursday, January 25, 2018. While one might expect an extra day to be provided to place the deadline on a Monday, agency rules govern. ATF confirmed via telephone that the deadline was Sunday.

ATF is specifically seeking feedback from consumers regarding the following:

  1. In your experience, where have you seen these devices for sale and which of these has been the most common outlet from which consumers have purchased these devices (e.g., brick and mortar retail stores; online vendors; gun shows or similar events; or private sales between individuals)?
  2. Based on your experience or observations, what is (or has been) the price range for these devices?
  3. For what purposes are the bump stock devices used or advertised?

The ATF has a broad range of questions for manufacturers including:

  1. For what use or uses have you marketed bump stock devices?
  2. If ATF classified bump stock devices as “machineguns” under the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended, and the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended, what would you expect to be the impact on your gross receipts for calendar year 2018?
  3. If ATF classified bump stock devices as “machineguns” under the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended, and the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended, what other economic impact would you expect (e.g., storage, unsellable inventory)?
  4. If ATF classified bump stock devices as “machineguns” under the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended, and the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended, do you believe that there would be a viable (profitable) law-enforcement and/or military market for these devices? If so, please describe that market and your reasons for believing such a viable market exists.

The ATF asks retailers similar questions.

All comments must:

  1. reference docket number 2017R-22;
  2. be legible (I expect most submission will be done electronically); and
  3. 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.

If you’re a consumer, I suggest you submit a comment to the advance notice of proposed rulemaking. For helpful hints on how to draft a comment, take a look at the information in the article I wrote for Recoil Web, although some of that information would be more applicable for a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

If you represent a manufacturer or a retailer and want to inquire about obtaining services for the drafting of a comment, please contact the office as soon as possible to ensure sufficient time to draft a comment.

 

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Filed under ATF, Firearms Law, Uncategorized