Friday, October 6, 2017

Bump Fire Ban Victory Almost

It appears as if “bump fire” devices will be banned at the federal, and several state, levels soon. The devices have no champions, and the manufacturers have begun stopping production and selling off their inventory in order to cut their losses when the ban goes into effect. The future ban is appears so certain that many people are only wondering which ban it will be.

Even the NRA has come out saying that legal control measures for “bump fire” devices would not be the end of human civilization as we know it. This is probably the highest praise for any legislation controlling anything associated with guns that the NRA can offer.

Undoubtedly the reasoned arguments, like those put forward in this blog, contributed significantly to the momentum of the ban proposals. However, there were two important revelations that were very significant, and which I missed entirely. They are:

1) Obama did it

The ATF review for the “bump fire” devices was completed in 2010, and therefore Obama is responsible for making them legal. This means that by focusing attention on the “bump fire” devices GOP legislators, and the NRA, can blame Obama for the Route 91 Harvest Festival Massacre. This also means that it is possible to ban the “bump fire” devices by simply reversing an Obama-era decision, and that doesn’t sound like the slippery slope that voting for a ban proposed by the anti-gun Diane Feinstein does.

2) The GOP has has a better bill

In fact there might be several house and senate bills, and state bills too, that will ban the “bump fire” devices. Everyone’s bill is the best, and some are calling for hearings to craft the best bill, but it is highly likely that one bill will get to the floor first and get enough votes to become law. The bills and proposed bills appear so similar that the only major defining feature I can see is that Diane Feinstein’s name is not on the ones most likely to pass.

This does make congress appear like it is some bad high-school drama. Not a drama put on by the theater nerds of some high school (I remember a truncated version of Samuel Becket’s “Waiting for Godot” that we called “Stopping for Godot”), but like some flashy Disney movie where people talked mean and dressed in just the right stuff. I think congress should try to be a musical! They could pipe music in through some of the CSPAN electrical tangle, and wire the podiums for autotune.

High School Musical 33.3: Mean Girls go to Washington!

Though this distracting low-brow political sideshow is a little amusing, we shouldn’t lose sight of the prize. It looks like we will get a real ban on “bump fire” devices!

This is not “the” fix for gun violence in America. However, it is a slight repair. If this ban were in effect a year ago it is highly likely that several, probably more than a dozen, people would be alive or uninjured today who instead were riddled by indiscriminately fired bullets on the night of October 1st 2017.

It is (at least will be very soon) an ever so slightly better world. Thank you!

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