Thursday, October 5, 2017

Bump Fire Ban Momentum

The idea of a “bump fire” device ban is gaining traction. Unfortunately the madness that attends to many discussions of gun control legislation in America threatens to swamp it in its wake.

Several salient points that I did not drive home in my call to action on a “bump fire” ban should be helping the forward momentum of a “bump fire” ban.

Firstly, the “bump fire” style device is widely seen as an accessory, and not an “arm” as protected in the second amendment. This means that banning them would not be an infringement of the second amendment rights so fiercely protected in the US.

Secondly, many “gun experts” have come forward describing the “bump fire” device as being of no tactical value. Firing a gun fitted with the device is described as much more difficult to control than a fully automatic weapon. There are lots of self-aggrandizing “experts” on firearms; YouTube is full of them. I am sure there are YouTube “experts” who take time off of arguing the finer points of one type of ammunition vs another to have all sorts of opinions on everything. However, I have noticed a large agreement amongst most of the non-random selection of “experts” whom have spoken with me or posted on the subject of “bump fire” devices. Here is an exchange I heard on National Public Radio during my drive home yesterday; Robert Siegal of NPR is interviewing Paul Glasco who is the gun “expert” behind "Legally Armed America."
Robert Siegel: What's the point of it?
Paul Glasco: You wouldn't find any - I don't think any responsible gun owner has any real practical use for it.

Thirdly, even several GOP legislators who have been made aware of the legality of the device, and the rickety way in which it is designed to operate, have expressed dismay that such a device is widely available.

And finally, the “bump fire” style device can be banned for a number of reasons. The fact that its use in the Route 91 harvest music festival massacre likely resulted in more deaths than a single gunman could have otherwise caused is forefront in my mind, but it is not the only reason why these devices should be banned. These devices make the firearm more dangerous to the shooter and unintended targets. So these firearm accessories could be banned simply from a consumer protection standpoint.

Unfortunately the currently proposed ban is emerging in a hyper-partisan political climate that threatens it as a result of factors completely unconnected to the merits of a ban. Rather than have a legislator who is perceived to be somewhat neutral, or at least unencumbered by past actions, introduce a “bump fire” ban bill, the bill was introduced by Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein’s baggage makes it likely that some members of congress will vote against the ban just to appear like they are voting against Feinstein. Because she has been so outspoken on gun control the ban bill inevitably looks like the first step down that slippery slope that has caused so much fear that gun control legislation has been impossible for years.

Should the bump fire stock be banned? Simply, no. It would only be banned because it was used in the Las Vegas shooting, not because it increased the shooter’s effectiveness. That can be proven. Why ban something that can be proven to be less effective than a standard semi-automatic rifle? And we know what would happen if they were banned. Then the left would suddenly agree that the bump fire is less effective and that the AR-15 was the issue and they’d then focus on modern sporting rifles saying they are more deadly then the accessory they just banned. -- Paul Glasco in a 5 October essay called "Why banning bump fire stocks is not the answer"

The knee-jerk response to the ban is evident. Paul Glasco, who on October 4th provided some good reasons why a ban on "bump fire" devices was a good thing (as I quoted earlier in this post), wrote an essay on October 5th describing how banning them would be a defeat for gun rights that would start us down a slippery slope. We need to make it clear that "bump fire" devices are not "arms" and banning them would not infringe on 2nd amendment rights; even if Diane Feinstein is the one who introduced the "bump fire" ban legislation.

The partisan taint was inevitable given the current status of our federal representative bodies. It is all the more important that we, as concerned citizens, make it clear to our representatives that we do not consider this a partisan or gun control issue. This ban is about eliminating an accessory that is useless and unnecessarily dangerous.

I personally understand the idea of an adrenaline rush from discharging what simulates a fully automatic weapon. I’ve played too many hours of Fallout 4, and I’ve sent many small pellets of lead into paper targets. The “bump stock” device’s sole purpose is to provide that pleasant little rush. Pleasant little rushes should be available to people. However, the social cost of this one is just too high.

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