By now, you all know the news, the National Rifle Association is asking for a federal review of bump stocks that use recoil to increase the rate of fire for a semiautomatic weapon. It doesn’t convert the firearm into an automatic weapon, however, which I’ve seen some politicians and pundits say over the airwaves. That’s false. Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon had a good description of the bump stock accessory:
You see, bump firing is a shooting technique which enables a shooter to repeatedly engage the trigger of a semi-automatic firearm, utilizing the assistance of the recoiling produced by each gun shot, to fire at a much higher rate than what can be accomplished by squeezing the trigger normally. A bump-fire stock can be used to facilitate this technique. However, what many reporters have missed and many more are likely to miss in the coming days, bump firing can easily be performed on many semi-automatic rifles without any modification or special accessory.
Bump fire stocks don't actually make the gun fully-automatic. Instead, they use recoil to increase how quickly the trigger can be pulled.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) October 3, 2017
They increase the fire rate well above what normal semi-automatic rifles are capable but not quite to fully-automatic rates.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) October 3, 2017
This is the first instance that I'm aware of where a bump fire stock has been used in a crime. Very shocking.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) October 3, 2017
I've fired with a bump fire stock before. They're basically novelty items used for recreational shooting.— Stephen Gutowski (@StephenGutowski) October 3, 2017
He also added that it’s mostly used for recreational shooting, and that they’re rarely if ever used in gun crimes save for the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. Still, the fact remains, mass shootings are rare, they don’t constitute the majority of gun crimes, and rifles and shotguns are also rarely used to commit such crimes. Handguns are the biggest offender, though there is zero appetite to ban them and for good reason; it would be political suicide.
Big: "The NRA believes...[bump stocks] should be subject to additional regulations." pic.twitter.com/jbIKJPZnJl— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald) October 5, 2017
Here’s what the NRA released earlier today (via Politico):
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Executive Director Chris Cox added in a joint statement.
The influential gun lobby, which often stifles any legislation that can be interpreted as curbing Second Amendment rights, has suggested to Hill Republicans and Trump administration officials that they would prefer a new rule or regulations from ATF over what they worry will be hastily pieced together legislation on Capitol Hill.
The NRA’s willingness to consider such restrictions is significant. The powerful group has long opposed any changes that restrict gun and ammunition purchases.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday that the administration is “open to” reviewing policy on bump stocks.
Yet, this has all been reviewed before. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives reviewed bump stocks in 2010, in which they said the accessory developed by Slide Fire “has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed.” The reason this has been underreported possibly: it was green lit under the Obama administration. Also known as the era of good feelings with the news media (via CNS News):
On June 7, 2010 -- about a year and a half into the Barack Obama administration -- the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issued an opinion letter, giving the go-ahead to an after-market accessory that allows the user to “bump fire” a semi-automatic rifle.
The device replaces the factory stock and grip. The replacement stock moves back and forth with the gun's recoil, allowing it to fire rapidly and continuously as the trigger repeatedly is bumped into the shooter’s finger. A switch allows the user to select semi-automatic fire (one shot for each trigger pull) or the more rapid “bump fire.”
According to the ATF’s June 2010 letter: “The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. In order to use the device, the shooter must apply constant forward pressure with the non-shooting hands and constant rearward pressure with the shooting hand. Accordingly, we find that the ‘bump stock’ is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.”
Also, you can increase the rate of fire on a semiautomatic without a bump stock:
Bumpfire stocks make bump-firing easier, but anyone can bumpfire a semi-auto rifle with a little bit of practice -- Poorly informed tweet pic.twitter.com/NLlIqULkSu— Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) October 3, 2017
In short, there should be no ban or review. The federal government has already done this and approved of the accessory. It was green lit under Obama. It would be just another redundant policy. Also, it gives weight to the overall argument the Left has on firearms, and it will lead to more discussion about other bans. Bans on certain types of ammunition, high-capacity magazines, and maybe even military-looking rifles. It’s not the road Republicans, or any gun rights-supporting American or politicians should go down. There’s literally no retreat. You supported a bump stock ban, then why not a ban on high-capacity magazines? It’s an argument we don’t need to have because we’ve already won it on gun rights. Let’s not cede the high ground.