Knowing your laws regarding firearms is crucial, and most owners have a clear idea of what they can and cannot do concerning the sending of bullets downrange.

Where we get our knickers in a wad, however, is when we begin delving into the unusual. Examples of “unusual” are devices such as “bump stocks” or “solvent traps,” and “pistol braces.”

Most shooters needn’t worry about these items, as we simply want to go target shooting, go hunting or defend our lives and loved ones. The above items can be used for these stated objectives, of course, but for the most part, they are unusual.

Starting with “bump stocks,” we find that they have been ruled as capable of essentially turning a legal semi-automatic firearm into an illegal machine gun. Personally, I am against these items, but that’s just my opinion. President Trump helped get the laws against bump stocks in place following a mass shooting employing such a device.

OK, so those are now illegal. If you own one, you are required to take it to the nearest Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives office and turn them in. Find such a place online if you can. Don’t just dispose of or destroy them, you may be required to prove you don’t have one.

Be sure – check it out for yourself.

“Solvent traps,” are so named because persons began manufacturing their own silencers for firearms using oil filters. Not so hard to do for someone even slightly mechanical.

Along comes a company called Diversified Machining in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. DM saw a potential market and began manufacturing and selling parts to make solvent traps easier to fashion. Good customer feedback started coming their way and caught the attention of ATF, which immediately shut them down.

New rulings now say, if you own these parts, or any type of solvent trap or any type of silencer, you must destroy them and be able to prove you did if you are required to do so. Now this isn’t a law passed by Congress, this is ATF flexing its muscle and it can do so – quite well.

Some hunters say it is their right to shoot game with very little sound accompanying the incident, but I never found it necessary. Still, I won’t contest their right to do so. But I have seen too many movies where a bullet zips in from you don’t know where to take out the good guy’s buddy.

Now, as to pistol braces. These devices essentially turn a pistol into a short-barreled rifle. They attach on, allowing the shooter to brace the firearm against the shoulder. I suppose the biggest advantage is that they weigh very little and aid in aiming the firearm.

The stipulations as to what firearms become rifles that are too short to be legal, or to how many pancakes it takes to cover a doghouse are listed online. War and Peace is a shorter read.

What it all boils down to is that we have governing bodies out there that will go to any length to curtail our rights as gun owners. Some rulings seem to make sense, many don’t. But what it boils down to is – they are not going to stop until we have no Second Amendment protection whatsoever.

Fred Causley is a former OSU Agriculture Communications employee and a longtime Stillwater resident and NRA member. Send him questions or feedback to

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