Application of the Definition of Machinegun to “Bump Fire” Stocks and Other Similar Devices, 60929-60932 [2017-27898]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 26, 2017 / Proposed Rules 3520). The collections of information in 21 CFR part 4, subpart B, regarding postmarketing safety reporting for combination products have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0834; the collections of information in part 803, regarding medical device reporting, have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0437; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 806, regarding corrections and removals, have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0359; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 807, subpart E, regarding premarket notification, have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0120; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 814, subparts A through E, regarding premarket approval, have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0231; the collections of information in 21 CFR part 810, regarding medical device recall authority, have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0432; the collections of information in part 820, regarding quality system regulations, have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0073; the collections of information regarding the MedWatch: The Food and Drug Administration Medical Products Reporting Program have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0291; and the collections of information regarding the Adverse Event Program for Medical Devices (Medical Product Safety Network (MedSun)) have been approved under OMB control number 0910–0471. V. References ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS 1. Food and Drug Administration, ‘‘Medical Device Reporting—Alternative Summary Reporting (ASR) Program, Guidance for Industry,’’ available at https:// www.fda.gov/downloads/MedicalDevices/ DeviceRegulationandGuidance/ GuidanceDocuments/ucm072102.pdf. 2. Food and Drug Administration, Event Problem Codes, available at https:// www.fda.gov/medicaldevices/ deviceregulationandguidance/ postmarketrequirements/ reportingadverseevents/ mdradverseeventcodes/default.htm. 16:59 Dec 22, 2017 Dated: December 19, 2017. Leslie Kux, Associate Commissioner for Policy. [FR Doc. 2017–27650 Filed 12–22–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4164–01–P DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives 27 CFR Parts 478 and 479 [Docket No. 2017R–22] RIN 1140–AA52 Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ‘‘Bump Fire’’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments. AGENCY: The Department of Justice anticipates issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would interpret the statutory definition of ‘‘machinegun’’ in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify whether certain devices, commonly known as ‘‘bump fire’’ stocks, fall within that definition. Before doing so, the Department and ATF need to gather information and comments from the public and industry regarding the nature and scope of the market for these devices. DATES: Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must be submitted on or before January 25, 2018. Commenters should be aware that the electronic Federal Docket Management System will not accept comments after Midnight Eastern Standard Time on the last day of the comment period. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number (2017R– 22), by any of the following methods: SUMMARY: The following references are on display in the Dockets Management Staff (see ADDRESSES) and are available for viewing by interested persons between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday; they are also available electronically at https:// www.regulations.gov. FDA has verified the website addresses, as of the date this document publishes in the Federal Register, but websites are subject to change over time. VerDate Sep<11>2014 3. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Form 3500A, available at https:// www.fda.gov/downloads/aboutfda/ reportsmanualsforms/forms/ucm048334.pdf. 4. MDUFA IV Commitment Letter, available at https://www.fda.gov/downloads/ ForIndustry/UserFees/ MedicalDeviceUserFee/UCM535548.pdf. 5. Appendix A, ‘‘Case Examples of Summary Malfunction Reporting,’’ available in Docket No. FDA–2017–N–6730. 6. Electronic Medical Device Reporting (eMDR), (manufacturers may obtain information on how to prepare and submit reports in an electronic format that FDA can process, review, and archive), available at: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ FDAeSubmitter/ucm107903.htm. Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60929 • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. • 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 advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANRPM). All 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: I. Background The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, 18 U.S.C. 921 et seq., and the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), as amended, 26 U.S.C. 5841 et seq.1 The Attorney General has delegated the responsibility for administering and enforcing these laws to the Director of ATF subject to the direction of the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. See 28 CFR 0.130. Regulations in 27 CFR parts 478 and 479 implement the GCA and NFA. The NFA defines ‘‘machinegun’’ as 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.’’ The term also includes ‘‘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 1 NFA provisions still refer to the ‘‘Secretary of the Treasury.’’ However, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 107–296 (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, this document refers to the Attorney General. E:\FR\FM\26DEP1.SGM 26DEP1 60930 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 26, 2017 / Proposed Rules combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.’’ 26 U.S.C. 5845(b). The GCA defines ‘‘machinegun’’ by reference to the NFA definition. The GCA regulates the transfer and possession of machineguns under 18 U.S.C. 922(o). Section 922(o) makes it unlawful for any person to possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the section or is under the authority of the federal government or a state. Those engaged in the business of manufacturing, importing, or dealing in NFA firearms must be registered with the Attorney General. 26 U.S.C. 5801, 5802. When the NFA was enacted in 1934, only a handful of firearms qualified as machineguns, such as the Thompson submachine gun. Over time, however, as firearms technologies have advanced, manufacturers and the public have attempted to develop firearms, triggers, and other devices that permit shooters to use semiautomatic rifles to replicate automatic fire without converting these rifles into ‘‘machineguns’’ within the meaning of the statute. Consequently, questions have arisen about whether these types of devices should be classified as machineguns (or machinegun conversion devices) pursuant to section 5845(b). See, e.g., Internal Revenue Ruling 55–528 (1955) (considering whether types of ‘‘Gatling Guns’’ constitute machineguns); ATF Ruling 2006–2 (examining a firearms accessory device that, when activated by a single pull of the trigger, initiated an automatic firing cycle that continued until release). ATF has issued a number of private letters to individuals and manufacturers who voluntarily submitted such devices for classification under the NFA and GCA. In addition, ATF has promulgated a regulation that defines ‘‘machinegun,’’ See 28 CFR 478.11, but that regulation mirrors the statutory language of the NFA and GCA and provides no further interpretation. ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS II. Las Vegas Music Festival Attack and Requests To Regulate Bump Stock-Type Devices ‘‘Bump fire’’ stocks (bump stocks) are devices used with a semiautomatic firearm to increase the firearm’s cyclic firing rate to mimic nearly continuous automatic fire. Since 2008, ATF has issued a total of 10 private letters in which it classified various bump stock devices to be unregulated parts or accessories, and not machineguns or machinegun conversion devices as VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:59 Dec 22, 2017 Jkt 244001 defined in section 5845(b) of the NFA or section 921(a)(23) of the GCA. On October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and several hundred were wounded in Las Vegas, Nevada, by a shooter firing one or more AR-type rifles affixed with a particular bump stock device. In 2010, the manufacturer of this particular device had supplied ATF with a sample of the bump stock, and ATF had examined and classified it as an unregulated firearm part, not subject to either the GCA or NFA. Following the Las Vegas shooting, a significant amount of public attention has been focused on bump stock-type devices. ATF has received correspondence from the general public and from members of both houses of Congress requesting that ATF reexamine its past classification decisions concerning bump stock devices to determine whether they should be classified as machineguns within the meaning of section 5845(b). This ANPRM is the initial step in a regulatory process to interpret the definition of machinegun to clarify whether certain bump stock devices fall within that definition. If, in a subsequent rulemaking, the definition of machinegun under section 5845(b) is interpreted to include certain bump stock devices, ATF would then have a basis to re-examine its prior classification and rulings. See Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, 136 S. Ct. 2117, 2125 (2016); FCC v. Fox Television Stations, 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009). III. Requests for Public Input This ANPRM is intended to gather relevant information that is otherwise not readily available to ATF regarding the scope and nature of the market for bump stock type devices. Because ATF does not have the authority to regulate firearm parts and accessories, ATF does not know, with the exception of one well-known manufacturer, how many of the individuals or companies that received classification letters from ATF ever engaged in commercial production and distribution of these devices. Similarly, ATF does not know how many companies or individuals who did not submit bump stock type devices to ATF for voluntary classification determinations are now engaging or have previously been engaged in this business. Further, the individuals and companies who submitted bump stock type devices to ATF for voluntary classification determinations identified some specific target markets for such devices, such as individuals with disabilities, but ATF does not have any information about whether those markets or other markets ultimately PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 materialized for the devices. Consequently, ATF seeks the following information: Manufacturers Are you, or have you been, involved in the manufacturing of bump stock devices? If so: 1. In what part(s) of the manufacturing process, are/were you involved? 2. In what calendar years are/were you involved in the manufacturing process? 3. What is the wholesale price of the bump stock devices produced by the manufacturing process with which you are involved? 4. In each calendar year in which you have operated, how many bump stock devices were produced by the manufacturing process with which you are/were involved? Of this number, how many devices were sold to (a) retailers/ resellers, and (b) directly to consumers? 5. What were your approximate gross receipts for the sale of these bump stock devices in each calendar year (from 2014—present)? 6. For what use or uses have you marketed bump stock devices? 7. 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? 8. 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)? 9. What costs do you expect to be associated with the disposition of existing bump stock device inventory? 10. 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) lawenforcement and/or military market for these devices? If so, please describe that market and your reasons for believing such a viable market exists. Retailers Are you, or have you been, involved in the retail sale of bump stock devices? If so: 11. In what calendar years are/were you involved? 12. In each calendar year, how many bump stock devices did you sell? 13. In each calendar year, what was the average retail price of the bump stock devices you sold? E:\FR\FM\26DEP1.SGM 26DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 26, 2017 / Proposed Rules 14. In each calendar year (from 2014—present) what were your approximate gross receipts derived from the retail sale of bump stock devices? 15. For what use or uses have you marketed bump stock devices? 16. In the 2018 calendar year, how many bump stock devices do you anticipate you will sell, assuming that such devices remain classified by ATF as an unregulated firearm part? What do you expect will be the average price at which those bump stock devices will be sold? 17. 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 costs/expenses, gross receipts for calendar year 2018? 18. 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)? 19. What costs do you expect to be associated with the disposition of existing bump stock device inventory? 20. 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) lawenforcement and/or military market for these devices? If so, please describe that market and your reasons for believing such a viable market exists. ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Consumers 21. 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)? 22. Based on your experience or observations, what is (or has been) the price range for these devices? 23. For what purposes are the bump stock devices used or advertised? IV. Statutory and Executive Order Review This ANPRM has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866, ‘‘Regulatory Planning and Review,’’ section 1(b), The Principles of Regulation, in accordance with Executive Order 13563, ‘‘Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,’’ section 1(b), General Principles of Regulation, and in accordance with Executive Order 13771, ‘‘Reducing VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:59 Dec 22, 2017 Jkt 244001 Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.’’ The Department has determined that this ANPRM is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), and accordingly this ANPRM has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. However, this action does not propose or impose any requirements. The ANPRM is being published to seek information from the public about the practical impacts of interpreting the statutory definition of ‘‘machinegun’’ such that certain bump stock type devices may fall under that definition. Furthermore, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) do not apply to this action because, at this stage, it is an ANPRM and not a ‘‘rule’’ as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601. Following review of the comments received in response to this ANPRM, if ATF proceeds with a notice or notices of proposed rulemaking regarding this matter, ATF will conduct all relevant analyses as required by statute or Executive Order. V. Public Participation A. Comments Sought ATF requests comments on this ANPRM from all interested persons with information about the enumerated questions. ATF specifically requests comments on the questions listed above, on the costs or benefits of the proposal in this ANPRM, and on the appropriate methodology and data for calculating those costs and benefits. Each commenter or commenting party should include the identifying number of the specific question(s) to which it is responding. ATF does not expect commenters to respond to every question; please feel free to respond only to those questions you feel you are able to answer. All comments must reference the docket number 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 take into account, as appropriate, the comments 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. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60931 ATF will not acknowledge receipt of comments. B. Confidentiality ATF will make all comments meeting the requirements of this section available for public viewing at ATF and on the internet as part of the eRulemaking initiative, and subject to the Freedom of Information Act. ATF will not redact personal identifying information that appears within the comment and it will appear on the internet. C. Proprietary or Confidential Business Information A commenter may submit to ATF information identified as proprietary or confidential business information. The commenter shall place any portion of a comment that is proprietary or confidential business information under law on pages separate from the balance of the comment with each page prominently marked ‘‘PROPRIETARY OR CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS INFORMATION’’ at the top of the page. ATF will not make proprietary or confidential business information submitted in compliance with these instructions available when disclosing the comments that it received, but will disclose that the commenter provided proprietary or confidential business information that ATF is holding in a separate file to which the public does not have access. If ATF receives a request to examine or copy this information, it will treat it as any other request under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). In addition, ATF will disclose such proprietary or confidential business information to the extent required by other legal process. D. Submitting Comments Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same comments multiple times or by more than one method). • Federal eRulemaking Portal: We strongly recommend 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 E:\FR\FM\26DEP1.SGM 26DEP1 60932 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 246 / Tuesday, December 26, 2017 / Proposed Rules 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 81⁄2″ x 11″ paper; and (3) Be signed and contain the commenter’s complete first and last name and full mailing address. Disclosure List of Subjects 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 recordkeeping requirements, Seizures and forfeitures, and Transportation. Authority and Issuance This document is issued under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a); 18 U.S.C. 921 et seq.; 26 U.S.C. 5841 et seq. Dated: December 19, 2017. Thomas E. Brandon, Deputy Director. [FR Doc. 2017–27898 Filed 12–21–17; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 4410–FY–P ethrower on DSK3G9T082PROD with PROPOSALS Reasons for Withdrawal 28 CFR Parts 35 and 36 A. Accessibility of Web Information On July 26, 2010, the Department published an ANPRM regarding the accessibility of Web information and services of state and local government entities (title II) and public accommodations (title III). 75 FR 43460. The Department subsequently bifurcated the rulemaking to deal separately with state and local government entities subject to title II (RIN 1190–AA65) and public accommodations subject to title III (RIN 1190–AA61), and proceeded first with the title II rulemaking. On May 9, 2016, the Department published a Supplemental Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SANPRM) regarding title II Web accessibility to seek additional public input regarding a wide range of issues pertaining to the accessibility of Web information and services of state and local governments. 81 FR 28658. The Department has not published any rulemaking document regarding title III Web accessibility since the 2010 ANPRM. The Department is evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services is necessary and appropriate. Such an evaluation will be informed by additional review of data and further analysis. The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA. Accordingly, the Department is withdrawing the two previously announced ANPRMs related to the accessibility of Web information and services, ‘‘Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government Entities and Public Accommodations’’ (RIN 1190–AA61) (75 FR 43460), and ‘‘Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government’’ (RIN 1190–AA65) (81 FR 28658). [CRT Docket No. 138] RIN 1190–AA61; RIN 1190–AA62; RIN 1190– AA64; RIN 1190–AA65 Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Notice of Withdrawal of Four Previously Announced Rulemaking Actions Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice. ACTION: Notice of withdrawal. AGENCY: The Department of Justice is announcing the withdrawal of four previously announced Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs), pertaining to title II and title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for further review. DATES: As of December 26, 2017, these four previously announced ANPRMs are formally withdrawn. ADDRESSES: Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 2885, Fairfax, VA 22031–0885. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anne Raish, Acting Chief, Disability Rights Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, at (202) 307– 0663 (voice or TTY) (not a toll-free number). Information may also be obtained from the Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514– 0301 (voice), or (800) 514–0383 (TTY). You may obtain copies of this document in an alternative format by calling the ADA Information Line at (800) 514–0301 (voice), or (800) 514– 0383 (TTY). SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Justice is formally announcing the withdrawal of four previously announced Advance Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRMs) pertaining to title II and title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): (1) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability; Accessibility of Web Information and Services of Public Accommodations (RIN 1190–AA61); (2) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in State and Local Government Services; Next Generation 9–1–1 (RIN 1190–AA62); (3) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by State and Local Governments and Places of Public Accommodation; Equipment and Furniture (RIN 1190–AA64); and (4) Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability: Accessibility of Web Information and Services of State and Local Government (RIN 1190–AA65). SUMMARY: Copies of this advance 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 Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648–8740. VerDate Sep<11>2014 DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE 16:59 Dec 22, 2017 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 B. Accessibility of Equipment and Furniture The Department initiated a review of accessibility of equipment and furniture on July 26, 2010, with the publication of an ANPRM to consider possible changes to requirements under titles II and III of the ADA to ensure that nonfixed equipment and furniture provided by covered entities are accessible to individuals with disabilities. 75 FR 43452. While some types of fixed equipment and furniture are explicitly covered by the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, see, e.g., 28 CFR E:\FR\FM\26DEP1.SGM 26DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 246 (Tuesday, December 26, 2017)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60929-60932]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-27898]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

27 CFR Parts 478 and 479

[Docket No. 2017R-22]
RIN 1140-AA52


Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ``Bump Fire'' 
Stocks and Other Similar Devices

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

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Justice anticipates issuing a Notice of 
Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would interpret the statutory 
definition of ``machinegun'' in the National Firearms Act of 1934 and 
Gun Control Act of 1968 to clarify whether certain devices, commonly 
known as ``bump fire'' stocks, fall within that definition. Before 
doing so, the Department and ATF need to gather information and 
comments from the public and industry regarding the nature and scope of 
the market for these devices.

DATES: Written comments must be postmarked and electronic comments must 
be submitted on or before January 25, 2018. Commenters should be aware 
that the electronic Federal Docket Management System will not accept 
comments after Midnight Eastern Standard Time on the last day of the 
comment period.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by docket number (2017R-
22), by any of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     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 advance notice of proposed rulemaking 
(ANRPM). All 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: 

I. Background

    The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Gun Control 
Act of 1968 (GCA), as amended, 18 U.S.C. 921 et seq., and the National 
Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), as amended, 26 U.S.C. 5841 et seq.\1\ The 
Attorney General has delegated the responsibility for administering and 
enforcing these laws to the Director of ATF subject to the direction of 
the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General. See 28 CFR 0.130. 
Regulations in 27 CFR parts 478 and 479 implement the GCA and NFA.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ NFA provisions still refer to the ``Secretary of the 
Treasury.'' However, the Homeland Security Act of 2002, Public Law 
107-296 (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, this document refers to the Attorney General.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The NFA defines ``machinegun'' as 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.'' The term also includes ``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

[[Page 60930]]

combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such 
parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.'' 26 
U.S.C. 5845(b).
    The GCA defines ``machinegun'' by reference to the NFA definition. 
The GCA regulates the transfer and possession of machineguns under 18 
U.S.C. 922(o). Section 922(o) makes it unlawful for any person to 
possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the 
effective date of the section or is under the authority of the federal 
government or a state.
    Those engaged in the business of manufacturing, importing, or 
dealing in NFA firearms must be registered with the Attorney General. 
26 U.S.C. 5801, 5802. When the NFA was enacted in 1934, only a handful 
of firearms qualified as machineguns, such as the Thompson submachine 
gun. Over time, however, as firearms technologies have advanced, 
manufacturers and the public have attempted to develop firearms, 
triggers, and other devices that permit shooters to use semiautomatic 
rifles to replicate automatic fire without converting these rifles into 
``machineguns'' within the meaning of the statute. Consequently, 
questions have arisen about whether these types of devices should be 
classified as machineguns (or machinegun conversion devices) pursuant 
to section 5845(b). See, e.g., Internal Revenue Ruling 55-528 (1955) 
(considering whether types of ``Gatling Guns'' constitute machineguns); 
ATF Ruling 2006-2 (examining a firearms accessory device that, when 
activated by a single pull of the trigger, initiated an automatic 
firing cycle that continued until release).
    ATF has issued a number of private letters to individuals and 
manufacturers who voluntarily submitted such devices for classification 
under the NFA and GCA. In addition, ATF has promulgated a regulation 
that defines ``machinegun,'' See 28 CFR 478.11, but that regulation 
mirrors the statutory language of the NFA and GCA and provides no 
further interpretation.

II. Las Vegas Music Festival Attack and Requests To Regulate Bump 
Stock-Type Devices

    ``Bump fire'' stocks (bump stocks) are devices used with a 
semiautomatic firearm to increase the firearm's cyclic firing rate to 
mimic nearly continuous automatic fire. Since 2008, ATF has issued a 
total of 10 private letters in which it classified various bump stock 
devices to be unregulated parts or accessories, and not machineguns or 
machinegun conversion devices as defined in section 5845(b) of the NFA 
or section 921(a)(23) of the GCA.
    On October 1, 2017, 58 people were killed and several hundred were 
wounded in Las Vegas, Nevada, by a shooter firing one or more AR-type 
rifles affixed with a particular bump stock device. In 2010, the 
manufacturer of this particular device had supplied ATF with a sample 
of the bump stock, and ATF had examined and classified it as an 
unregulated firearm part, not subject to either the GCA or NFA.
    Following the Las Vegas shooting, a significant amount of public 
attention has been focused on bump stock-type devices. ATF has received 
correspondence from the general public and from members of both houses 
of Congress requesting that ATF re-examine its past classification 
decisions concerning bump stock devices to determine whether they 
should be classified as machineguns within the meaning of section 
5845(b). This ANPRM is the initial step in a regulatory process to 
interpret the definition of machinegun to clarify whether certain bump 
stock devices fall within that definition. If, in a subsequent 
rulemaking, the definition of machinegun under section 5845(b) is 
interpreted to include certain bump stock devices, ATF would then have 
a basis to re-examine its prior classification and rulings. See Encino 
Motorcars v. Navarro, 136 S. Ct. 2117, 2125 (2016); FCC v. Fox 
Television Stations, 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009).

III. Requests for Public Input

    This ANPRM is intended to gather relevant information that is 
otherwise not readily available to ATF regarding the scope and nature 
of the market for bump stock type devices. Because ATF does not have 
the authority to regulate firearm parts and accessories, ATF does not 
know, with the exception of one well-known manufacturer, how many of 
the individuals or companies that received classification letters from 
ATF ever engaged in commercial production and distribution of these 
devices. Similarly, ATF does not know how many companies or individuals 
who did not submit bump stock type devices to ATF for voluntary 
classification determinations are now engaging or have previously been 
engaged in this business. Further, the individuals and companies who 
submitted bump stock type devices to ATF for voluntary classification 
determinations identified some specific target markets for such 
devices, such as individuals with disabilities, but ATF does not have 
any information about whether those markets or other markets ultimately 
materialized for the devices. Consequently, ATF seeks the following 
information:

Manufacturers

    Are you, or have you been, involved in the manufacturing of bump 
stock devices? If so:
    1. In what part(s) of the manufacturing process, are/were you 
involved?
    2. In what calendar years are/were you involved in the 
manufacturing process?
    3. What is the wholesale price of the bump stock devices produced 
by the manufacturing process with which you are involved?
    4. In each calendar year in which you have operated, how many bump 
stock devices were produced by the manufacturing process with which you 
are/were involved? Of this number, how many devices were sold to (a) 
retailers/resellers, and (b) directly to consumers?
    5. What were your approximate gross receipts for the sale of these 
bump stock devices in each calendar year (from 2014--present)?
    6. For what use or uses have you marketed bump stock devices?
    7. 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?
    8. 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)?
    9. What costs do you expect to be associated with the disposition 
of existing bump stock device inventory?
    10. 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.

Retailers

    Are you, or have you been, involved in the retail sale of bump 
stock devices? If so:
    11. In what calendar years are/were you involved?
    12. In each calendar year, how many bump stock devices did you 
sell?
    13. In each calendar year, what was the average retail price of the 
bump stock devices you sold?

[[Page 60931]]

    14. In each calendar year (from 2014--present) what were your 
approximate gross receipts derived from the retail sale of bump stock 
devices?
    15. For what use or uses have you marketed bump stock devices?
    16. In the 2018 calendar year, how many bump stock devices do you 
anticipate you will sell, assuming that such devices remain classified 
by ATF as an unregulated firearm part? What do you expect will be the 
average price at which those bump stock devices will be sold?
    17. 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 
costs/expenses, gross receipts for calendar year 2018?
    18. 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)?
    19. What costs do you expect to be associated with the disposition 
of existing bump stock device inventory?
    20. 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.

Consumers

    21. 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)?
    22. Based on your experience or observations, what is (or has been) 
the price range for these devices?
    23. For what purposes are the bump stock devices used or 
advertised?

IV. Statutory and Executive Order Review

    This ANPRM has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with 
Executive Order 12866, ``Regulatory Planning and Review,'' section 
1(b), The Principles of Regulation, in accordance with Executive Order 
13563, ``Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review,'' section 1(b), 
General Principles of Regulation, and in accordance with Executive 
Order 13771, ``Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.''
    The Department has determined that this ANPRM is a significant 
regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f), and 
accordingly this ANPRM has been reviewed by the Office of Management 
and Budget. However, this action does not propose or impose any 
requirements. The ANPRM is being published to seek information from the 
public about the practical impacts of interpreting the statutory 
definition of ``machinegun'' such that certain bump stock type devices 
may fall under that definition.
    Furthermore, the requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act 
(RFA) do not apply to this action because, at this stage, it is an 
ANPRM and not a ``rule'' as defined in 5 U.S.C. 601. Following review 
of the comments received in response to this ANPRM, if ATF proceeds 
with a notice or notices of proposed rulemaking regarding this matter, 
ATF will conduct all relevant analyses as required by statute or 
Executive Order.

V. Public Participation

A. Comments Sought

    ATF requests comments on this ANPRM from all interested persons 
with information about the enumerated questions. ATF specifically 
requests comments on the questions listed above, on the costs or 
benefits of the proposal in this ANPRM, and on the appropriate 
methodology and data for calculating those costs and benefits. Each 
commenter or commenting party should include the identifying number of 
the specific question(s) to which it is responding. ATF does not expect 
commenters to respond to every question; please feel free to respond 
only to those questions you feel you are able to answer.
    All comments must reference the docket number 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 take into account, as appropriate, the comments 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 meeting the requirements of this section 
available for public viewing at ATF and on the internet as part of the 
eRulemaking initiative, and subject to the Freedom of Information Act. 
ATF will not redact personal identifying information that appears 
within the comment and it will appear on the internet.

C. Proprietary or Confidential Business Information

    A commenter may submit to ATF information identified as proprietary 
or confidential business information. The commenter shall place any 
portion of a comment that is proprietary or confidential business 
information under law on pages separate from the balance of the comment 
with each page prominently marked ``PROPRIETARY OR CONFIDENTIAL 
BUSINESS INFORMATION'' at the top of the page.
    ATF will not make proprietary or confidential business information 
submitted in compliance with these instructions available when 
disclosing the comments that it received, but will disclose that the 
commenter provided proprietary or confidential business information 
that ATF is holding in a separate file to which the public does not 
have access. If ATF receives a request to examine or copy this 
information, it will treat it as any other request under the Freedom of 
Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). In addition, ATF will disclose such 
proprietary or confidential business information to the extent required 
by other legal process.

D. Submitting Comments

    Submit comments in any of three ways (but do not submit the same 
comments multiple times or by more than one method).
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: We strongly recommend 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

[[Page 60932]]

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; and (3) Be signed and contain the commenter's complete first and 
last name and full mailing address.
Disclosure
    Copies of this advance 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 Avenue NE, 
Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-8740.

List of Subjects

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 
recordkeeping requirements, Seizures and forfeitures, and 
Transportation.

Authority and Issuance

    This document is issued under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 552(a); 18 
U.S.C. 921 et seq.; 26 U.S.C. 5841 et seq.

    Dated: December 19, 2017.
Thomas E. Brandon,
Deputy Director.
[FR Doc. 2017-27898 Filed 12-21-17; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 4410-FY-P