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Time To Ban Bump Stocks

When the initial reports and video of the shooting on Sunday night in Las Vegas first came out, initial speculation was that the shooter had been using at least one fully automatic weapon in the shooting. This is significant because, as I noted in my post on Monday morning, such weapons have been largely illegal for sale to the general public since at least 1986 and, in some cases, since as long ago as the 1930s. The only exceptions to this general rule are for guns that were manufactured before 1986 and, in that case, the weapons themselves cost thousands of dollars and the permitting process required by Federal law is far more intensive, and the background check is far more rigorous than that required for ordinary weapons such as handguns, rifles, and other semi-automatic weapons. As it turns out, though, it appears now that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, may have used a modification available for as little as  $100 to effectively turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic weapon:

ATLANTA — The Las Vegas gunman possessed a little-known device called a “bump stock” that was not widely sold — until now.

Originally created with the idea of making it easier for people with disabilities to shoot a gun, the attachments allow a semi-automatic rifle to mimic a fully automatic weapon by unleashing an entire large magazine in seconds. Now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history has drawn attention to the devices, which critics say flout federal restrictions on automatic guns.

The stocks have been around for less than a decade. The government gave its seal of approval to selling them in 2010 after concluding that they did not violate federal law.

The device basically replaces the gun’s shoulder rest with a “support step” that covers the trigger opening. By holding the pistol grip with one hand and pushing forward on the barrel with the other, the shooter’s finger comes in contact with the trigger. The recoil then causes the gun to buck back and forth, repeatedly “bumping” the trigger against the finger.

Technically, that means the finger is pulling the trigger for each round fired, keeping the weapon a legal semi-automatic. The rapid fire does not necessarily make the weapon any more lethal — much of that would be dependent on the type of ammunition used. But it does allow the person firing the weapon to get off more shots more quickly.

It’s unclear how many have been sold. The industry leader, Slide Force, did not return messages seeking comment. But the Abilene, Texas, company’s Facebook page is filled with videos extolling its features, including one in which a woman gushed, “It’s so easy because once you slid it forward and leaned into it, it just fires.” In another video, a man fires off 58 rounds to celebrate his 58th birthday in just 12 seconds.

Manufacturers tout the stocks, some of which sell for less than $200, as offering a simple and affordable alternative to automatic weapons without the hassle of a rigorous background check and other restrictions.

Ed Turner, a former police officer who owns a gun shop in Stockbridge, Georgia, said he’s already seeing a run on bump stocks since the shooting. He said he would be surprised if he had sold two of them in the past decade, but now he’s unable to find any available, even from wholesalers.

Jay Wallace, owner of Adventure Outdoors in Smyrna, Georgia, said soon after most of his customers buy one, “the newness wears off and they put it away and it stays in a closet.”

While the stocks allow a gun to quickly spray bullets, gun experts say they also create such a jolt that accuracy is affected. That may not matter to gun owners who just want the thrill of shooting with one, or for those bent on destruction. Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman, fired hundreds of rounds indiscriminately from his 32nd-floor room at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino on a music festival outside.

He had 23 guns in the room. Authorities found bump stocks attached to 12 of the weapons, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent in Charge Jill Schneider said.

At Paddock’s home, authorities found 19 more guns, explosives and thousands of rounds of ammunition. Several pounds of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be turned into explosives, were in his car, authorities said.

The shooting renewed a push by some lawmakers to ban bump stocks. California Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat, said the devices can enable a gun to fire 400 to 800 rounds per minute and “inflict absolute carnage.”

The New York Times has more:

Mr. Paddock had multiple semiautomatic rifles, weapons that fire a single round with each pull of the trigger. A fully automatic weapon, like a machine gun, will quickly fire round after round with a single pull of the finger, until the user releases the trigger or empties the magazine.

Fully automatic weapons, tightly regulated by federal law since the 1930s, are much rarer than semiautomatic ones. Military versions of assault rifles often have a setting for fully automatic fire, but the versions made for the civilian market do not.

The rapid fire heard on recordings of the Las Vegas shooting suggested a fully automatic weapon, and police officers called it that on radio traffic. But replacing a standard rifle stock, the part that rests against the shoulder, with a bump stock allows a semiautomatic rifle to fire at a rate comparable to a fully automatic rifle — much faster than a human user can pull and release the trigger.

Bump stocks are legal and inexpensive, with some versions advertised for $99.

A standard stock is firmly fixed to the rifle. But a bump stock allows the body of the rifle to slide a short distance back and forth, harnessing the recoil energy of each shot. The shooter does not move the trigger finger; instead, the weapon bounces, or “bumps,” rapidly between shoulder and finger.

In 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California proposed outlawing bump stocks, but Congress has not acted on her proposal. She proposed a ban again on Tuesday.

To be clear, it’s uncertain at this point if the weapons that were actually used in the shooting were semi-automatic weapons equipped with bump stocks or other modifications designed to make the weapon function like an automatic weapon, or if they were actually fully automatic weapons. While we don’t know much about Paddock even today, it does appear that he may have been independently wealthy and thus able to afford the thousands of dollars it would have cost to purchase a legal automatic weapon. Additionally, he appears to have had no past criminal record (his brother is quoted as saying that he hasn’t even had as much as a traffic ticket in his lifetime) and thus likely would have passed even the more rigorous background check required of someone seeking to purchase a pre-1986 automatic weapon in accordance with Federal law. Additionally, it is at least conceivable that Paddock could have illegally obtained an automatic weapon, although the extent to which these weapons are regulated under Federal law makes that seem rather unlikely. Instead, given the reports that at least a dozen of the weapons that were found in Paddock’s hotel room were equipped with bump stocks, it seems that the safest guess is that he used this relatively cheap modification to turn a regular semi-automatic rifle that could be purchased at any gun shop into what effectively amounts to the fully automatic killing machine that we heard spreading fire down on a crowd of 20,000 innocent and completely vulnerable people on Sunday night. What all of this means, of course, is that for as little as  $99, Paddock was able to convert a legal semi-automatic weapon into a killing machine that allowed him to carry out the worst mass shooting in American history, one that likely would have been far worse had first responders not stopped him when they did.

As I said on Monday, it was inevitable that the shooting on Sunday night would lead to a renewal of the debate about gun control in this country. We’ve already heard calls for that debate to be renewed from some quarters, and it’s likely to increase as we learn more about how this shooting was carried out. What’s interesting about the commentary this time is that even some strong gun rights activists appear to be open to the idea of taking action. For example, Jazz Shaw at Hot Air, who is a far more stringent supporter of Second Amendment rights than even myself, is out today with a proposal that is likely to get him at least some blowback from his own side of the aisle:

 I think we need to consider a ban on both bump stocks and these automatic fire conversion kits. (I’ll give everyone a moment here to light the torches and begin painting up posters calling for my deportation.)

Assuming you’ll allow me to get in a word edgewise after making that statement, permit me to expand on my reasoning here. The fact is that if conservatives truly want to maintain the brand of being supporters of the rule of law in a society guarded by constitutional law and order, we must recognize (even if you disagree) that fully automatic weapons are illegal in almost every instance. (We have a few exceptions which all require the highest level of background checks and federal scrutiny.) We can have a separate debate on whether such a ban is acceptable if you wish, but as things currently stand, that’s the law.

These conversion kits and bump stocks only exist for one reason, and that’s to allow a semiautomatic rifle to fire as a fully automatic model. You can pull out your amateur lawyer thesaurus (or professional copy for you actual lawyers) and try to talk your way around this subject, but there is no other purpose for these products to exist. If you accept that the law forbids the possession of fully automatic weapons in all but the most limited cases, then these products should also be illegal unless the purchaser already qualifies for ownership of a fully automatic weapons. For everyone else they should be banned.

(…)

under current law, having a fully automatic weapon for personal use absent very specific restrictions is not one of your rights. Having these bump stocks and conversion kits off the market except for those entitled to posses fully automatic weaponry is not an erosion of your Second Amendment rights as they exist today.

Patterico at Red State makes a similar argument:

I am a Second Amendment supporter, but in talking to other Second Amendment supporters over the past day or so, I have found nobody who is furiously opposed to banning these devices.

The concern will always be that the left will come after more and more guns. They’ll want to take all semi-automatic firearms, for example.

Well, they will try. And we won’t let them.

But I don’t see the big problem in getting rid of a device that allows a shooter to turn a semi-automatic weapon into the functional equivalent of an automatic weapon. Automatic weapons are already banned, with minor exceptions. Nobody seems to have a big problem with that. I don’t.

I’m open to hearing the arguments against such a repeal. But I’m skeptical.

And I think a lot of people agree with me.

As does Guy Benson at Town Hall:

If the federal government effectively banned the production and sale of almost all fully automatic weapons to civilians decades ago, why can’t we very heavily regulate kits designed to transform semi-automatic guns into facsimiles of automatic guns, mimicking their rapid-fire, multiple-bullets-per-second capabilities?  I’m always wary of anti-gun arguments that go something like, “who really needs product X?” because that standard could be over-applied to justify outlawing a lot of things.  Still, I do find myself asking that question here.  Besides trying to kill as many people as possible in as little time as possible, who needs a “bump stock” (which authorities allegedly found in the Las Vegas killer’s arsenal), and for what legitimate purpose?  Granted, the Second Amendment does not state that firearms and related accessories are only protected if there’s a reasonable hunting application to owning them; there’s a critical self-defense component, too, which anti-gun forces too often belittle or downplay. And yes, legally barring a tool obviously does not mean that bad people — especially someone who’s hellbent on destruction, and undertakes a great deal of meticulous and sophisticated planning – will not manage to get their hands the outlawed tool, or otherwise improvise.

Nevertheless, making bump stocks much more difficult to obtain is a step that does not strike me as an unreasonable imposition on Second Amendment rights, especially since we basically outlawed “the real thing” long ago.  I’ve read some critics of this idea who warn that overly-broad or vague legislative language on this point could be used to ensnare additional gun components or accessories.  My response?  Write the law tightly and smartly, in conjunction with bona fide experts.  Take great care, and get it right.

When it comes to Second Amendment rights, I’m pretty much on the same side as Jazz, Patterico and Benson, except perhaps that I’m more willing to support other proposals that have been advanced in recent years in response to one mass shooting incident or another. For example, I generally favor the idea of expanding the universal background check laws to cover transactions and transfers of weapons that aren’t necessarily covered now, such as informal transfers between friends and family and other sales that, while legal, operate outside of the background checks that exist under Federal and state law. Of course, previous polling has shown that such laws have the support of the vast majority of Americans, including most Republicans, conservatives, and gun owners. Leaving those proposals aside, though, it appears to me that there can be little disagreement. Many gun rights advocates have objected to proposals like this, though, due to concerns over privacy and because of the “slippery slope” arguments addressed in the posts quoted above. What this refers to, of course, is the argument that many guns rights advocates make that allowing even limited regulation of some kind would open the door to gun rights opponents seeking to undercut the Second Amendment even more. This is also an argument that strong advocates of the First Amendment make with respect to infringements on speech, the press, or the separation of church and state. While this is a valid concern in both case, as Jazz, Patterico, and Benson note it shouldn’t stand in the way of laws that clearly seem to pass Constitutional muster.  It seems clear to me that this proposal to ban bump stocks or other conversion kits that allow someone to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic one ought to be adopted notwithstanding those concerns.

From a legal point of view, it seems clear that a ban on bump stocks would clearly be acceptable under anything but the most unreasonable and unrelenting interpretation of the rights protected under the Second Amendment. in his majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, which is essentially the first Supreme Court opinion to deal with the basic scope of the Second Amendment in its 200-year history, Justice Scalia made it clear that the Court was explicitly not finding that the right that the Amendment covers is unlimited or that the Amendment meant that there were no circumstances under which the Federal Government, states, or localities could regulate the types of weapons citizen could own or carry:

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152-153; Abbott 333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489-490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” See 4 Blackstone 148-149 (1769); 3 B. Wilson, Works of the Honourable James Wilson 79 (1804); J. Dunlap, The New-York Justice 8 (1815); C. Humphreys, A Compendium of the Common Law in Force in Kentucky 482 (1822); 1 W. Russell, A Treatise on Crimes and Indictable Misdemeanors 271-272 (1831); H. Stephen, Summary of the Criminal Law 48 (1840); E. Lewis, An Abridgment of the Criminal Law of the United States 64 (1847); F. Wharton, A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United States 726 (1852). See also State v. Langford, 10 N. C. 381, 383-384 (1824); O’Neill v. State, 16 Ala. 65, 67 (1849); English v. State, 35 Tex. 473, 476 (1871); State v. Lanier, 71 N. C. 288, 289 (1874).

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” See 4 Blackstone 148-149 (1769); 3 B. Wilson, Works of the Honourable James Wilson 79 (1804); J. Dunlap, The New-York Justice 8 (1815); C. Humphreys, A Compendium of the Common Law in Force in Kentucky 482 (1822); 1 W. Russell, A Treatise on Crimes and Indictable Misdemeanors 271-272 (1831); H. Stephen, Summary of the Criminal Law 48 (1840); E. Lewis, An Abridgment of the Criminal Law of the United States 64 (1847); F. Wharton, A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United States 726 (1852). See also State v. Langford, 10 N. C. 381, 383-384 (1824); O’Neill v. State, 16 Ala. 65, 67 (1849); English v. State, 35 Tex. 473, 476 (1871); State v. Lanier, 71 N. C. 288, 289 (1874).

The Miller decision that Scalia makes reference to here is United States v. Miller a 1939 ruling from the Supreme Court upholding a law enacted in 1934 which placed restrictions on the ownership of the machine guns (i.e., fully automatic weapons) of the day and heavily taxed their owners. Clearly, Scalia was intending to make it clear that Heller was not intended to overrule Miller and that it was also not intended to stand for the proposition that any regulation of weapons was per se invalid under the Second Amendment. Given this, and in full agreement with the arguments that Jazz, Patterico, and Benson make, I would argue that the events in Las Vegas should, at the very least, serve as a reason to ban people from legally creating a weapon that it is illegal for most Americans to own except in very limited circumstances.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Not the IT Dept. says:

    I’m sure the real reason for this outbreak of sanity is the realization that if the gun-absolutists don’t give up something modest, then down the road the evul libural gun-grab might actually take place. In real life, rather in fevered imaginations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. Gustopher says:

    Ed Turner, a former police officer who owns a gun shop in Stockbridge, Georgia, said he’s already seeing a run on bump stocks since the shooting. He said he would be surprised if he had sold two of them in the past decade, but now he’s unable to find any available, even from wholesalers.

    I’m pretty sure there was a run on box cutters after 9/11 too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  3. Stormy Dragon says:

    For example, I generally favor the idea of expanding the universal background check laws to cover transactions and transfers of weapons that aren’t necessarily covered now, such as informal transfers between friends and family and other sales that, while legal, operate outside of the background checks that exist under Federal and state law.

    If my buddy and I go to the range and both bring our guns, and while standing there I see he has a new WidgetCo .45 and say, “Hey can I try that out?” and squeeze off a few rounds before returning it to him, has the gun just been transferred twice?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 14

  4. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Common sense.
    Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. Period.
    A huge indicator of mass shooters is domestic violence. We are starting to see indications that Paddock abused his girlfriend, although I do not believe there are official domestic violence reports.
    Yet we can’t even take that common sense step; preventing domestic abusers from having guns.
    The gun lobby owns Congress. Congress is going to do exactly NOTHING.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  5. Gustopher says:

    Given the inventiveness of our gun manufacturing friends, and the willingness to slip through any loophole, we shouldn’t be banning this particular device, we should be banning any guns or modifications to guns that alone or together allow shooting more than n bullets in m seconds.

    And, treat violators to ridiculously long prison sentences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  6. gVOR08 says:

    I expect we’ll see a ban on bump stocks. It’s the least they can do. The very least.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Judging by the pictures, merely banning sales of bump stocks will do little. From a cursory evaluation it would appear to be easily manufactured on a home 3D printer, given the addition of an off-the-shelf spring. Doug, would you be willing to ban the possession of such a device?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    “Hey can I try that out?” and squeeze off a few rounds before returning it to him, has the gun just been transferred twice?

    No.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  9. reid says:

    Hasn’t there been some effort (not sure how successful) this year to remove restrictions for mentally ill people to acquire guns? If so, that, to me, is mind-boggling, both in its extreme position and its outright stupidity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would ban so-called “bump stocks” in the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history in Las Vegas. “There’s no better way to honor the 59 people were were slaughtered than to take action,” Feinstein said at a press conference announcing the legislation, adding that her daughter was supposed to attend the concert but decided against it last-minute. According to police in Las Vegas, the shooter, Stephen Paddock, had 12 bump-stocks attached to his weapons. “There is no legitimate reason or excuse in recreation or hunting for a bump-stock device,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) added.

    Tilting at windmills.
    Ain’t. Gonna. Happen. Ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  11. Mu says:

    The video sure sounded like bump fire, the shots are sequenced so that you can count shots, and it takes the shooter a lot longer than 2 sec to empty a 30 round magazine.
    The issue is of course that bump fire “the technique” has been around much longer than the novelty bump fire stocks, and a rubber ball at the end of the stock does the same as the now soon prohibited gadget.
    As for background checks, if they wanted they could have had those years ago by introducing a gun buyer card that allows for instant check. But the real goal is mandatory transaction records to get around the rules outlawing a gun registry. So nothing will happen, again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Gustopher says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No, don’t be deliberately dim — what happens at the gun range stays at the gun range.

    This is why laws are hundreds of pages long — they are drafted to take care of things like this.

    We have gun ranges that specialize in renting out exotic weapons to shoot at the gun range, and there’s no reason for that to change. They are a safe space for people to play out their gun fantasies.

    Now, if you lend your friend your WingNut .45 for the weekend, outside of a gun range, then that would be a transfer. And another, if he actually gives it back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  13. MarkedMan says:

    On a tangent, Josh Marshall asks the very interesting question: where did Paddock’s money come from? There were reports he was a professional gambler, but all of his family and acquaintances describe him playing video poker and slot machines. As far as I know the only games in a casino that a professional gambler can come out ahead in the long term are poker and sports betting. But no one has come forward to identify him as being involved in either. If reports are true one casino comped him a luxury hotel room for 4 months. They don’t do that for people that are winning money from them, which eliminates sports. A poker player winning that much would be very well known.

    The other thing people have mentioned is that he had real estate deals. But you need to be a pretty significant player in real estate before you can afford to take months off each year and pour your earnings into slot machines. Many people would have had dealings with him.

    Drugs? That could get him the cash, but most people don’t survive decades in the drug industry, especially without being well known to the feds.

    Some kind of high end exotic hit man? I always thought those only existed in the movies and airport paperbacks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  14. Gustopher says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    “There is no legitimate reason or excuse in recreation or hunting for a bump-stock device,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) added.

    The legitimate excuse in recreation is that it’s awesome. That’s the entire point of recreation.

    I don’t think that the costs to society are worth it, and think that sometimes one has to accept that a really fun activity is regulated or banned to prevent misuse, but the Senator has no understanding of recreation.

    Flamethrowers? Also awesome. Heroin and cocaine probably fall into the awesome category too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  15. Michael says:

    I am resigned to the fact that this country will never have any meaningful gun control legislation enacted if, after Sandy Hook and the massacre of 20 six and seven year old children, we did nothing

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  16. Paul L. says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    The gun lobby owns Congress. Congress is going to do exactly NOTHING.

    Then why haven;t they Repealed the (NFA) National Firearms Act ? A Unconstitutional artifact from the Prohibition era and should have been repealed along with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  17. Paul L. says:

    https://twitter.com/sirfith/status/914931919120461824

    @ChrisMurphyCT These are weapons intentionally designed to kill as many people as efficiently as possible. Why is anyone shocked this keeps happening?

    So why do police need a waiver in any gun control law passed to ban them. Do police need “to kill as many people as efficiently as possible”?

    Can some progressive explain this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  18. Hal_10000 says:

    As Resident Second Amendment Nut, I have to say: I don’t oppose this. I doubt it will make a difference. Bump stocks are mainly used kicks and for kewl YouTube videos. They make guns much more inaccurate (this shooter didn’t care because he was firing into a massive crowed). But 1) it does seem like a cheap way of getting around the 1986 automatic weapons ban; 2) murderers are imitative and if one nut got his name all over the press doing this, you can bet others are thinking about it; 3) this seems a fairly minor to non-existent infringement on the Second Amendment.

    And yes, I think it could easily be done. Almost all of the conservative and gun-rights people I’m reading support this. The only counter-argument I’m really hearing is, “But if we allow them to take bump stocks, what’s next?!” but slippery slope arguments don’t move me very much, especially as this slope is currently the least slippery in American politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  19. the Q says:

    Paul L. its not for lack of trying. Also, as Scalia mentions in the brief above, banning those “tommy guns’ was constitutional.

    Next, you will say because bazookas are illegal the NRA really doesn’t have much clout?

    Also, what if this guy, like Bruce Willis in the Day of the Jackal, would have put all of his guns on tripods and mechanically had them rigged to spray the crowd like the Germans at Omaha beach?

    Let’s say hypothetically he killed 20,000.

    Would that nut case O’Reilly still spew the “cost of freedom” bullschite? Jimmy Kimmel got it right. A few arabs commit atrocities and we have a baton stuck up our azzwholes at the airport to “protect the public” . Mass shootings by white people with machine guns….hey its the cost of freedom!

    Also, the grotesque hope currently among the deranged right is that this guy was a liberal killing trump supporters. I think they want to somehow pin this on Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  20. James Pearce says:

    Every time something like this happens, our first instinct is to call for gun bans, and when we can’t do that, we ban some mechanism on the gun itself. High capacity magazines, bump stocks, what have you. We want to make it harder to acquire an arsenal like this, but not impossible.

    And that’s fine. But I feel like we need to attack the motive as well as the method. And we’re not doing that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  21. JKB says:

    Yeah, pretty much any move on gun control is DOA given those calling for whatever measure turn around and then call for the death of Trump supporters, Republicans, or whomever is the hated group of the moment.

    Maybe later, after rational discussion, but any heat of the moment action is not going to be accepted.

    I’m not familiar with “bump stocks”. Surprised, if this is actually true, that they wouldn’t be covered by the NFA. The ATF ruled a few years ago that some trick with a shoe string that did similar, caused the recoil be used to cycle the trigger, was was an illegal mod. Probably more smoke as a way to open gun control. I’ll wait to hear from knowledgeable people, not media types running with the journolist narrative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  22. the Q says:

    Paul L. come on, you know in your heart of hearts you think the liberals put the shooter up to this so there will be a hue and cry for more “gun control”.

    I know you are just dying to blurt that out. “Obama is behind this. They’re coming to take our guns. The gubmint and the po’ lice are making a list of gun owners so they know who to take out first when the fascists/communists take over. Just remember, Hitler and Stalin all did the same thing – first gun control, then ovens, gulags.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  23. JKB says:

    Okay, I see. Bump stock legality is a depends. As made, they are legal, but add a spring and the ATF considers them a machine gun under the NFA.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. MikeSJ says:

    I agree getting rid of bump stocks is warranted but I don’t see that much of a difference in terms of “lethality” if, instead of using a bump stock, a shooter just gets multiple 30 round clips and squeezes away as fast as they can.

    (It’s supposed to take time to switch out ammo clips but you can get a device that looks like an old fashioned thumb tack that allows you to quickly drop the magazine and put in a new one.)

    I believe larger capacity clips -drum style- can be purchased as well. Get those and enough semi auto guns in position to attack a very large crowd like this nutcase did and I don’t see the death count being much different.

    Wish I was wrong about this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Seriously…what does it really matter?
    59 people…that’s really just the price of freedom.
    And really, it’s their fault for not protecting themselves.
    Whether there were bump-stocks or not doesn’t matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  26. NBH says:

    @Hal_10000:

    2) murderers are imitative and if one nut got his name all over the press doing this, you can bet others are thinking about it;

    This is their real danger now. Knowledge of bumpstocks and other concepts to speed up semi-auto fire was relatively esoteric. But once one person uses one for a crime like this, the knowledge of its existence and its success is spread to a much wider audience. It’s much more likely to be used by the next psycho now. A ban can’t stop someone hacking together their own, but it at raises the difficulty of someone copycatting their use which at least lowers the likelihood of copycats.

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  27. Mu says:

    Just because it keeps coming up, there was no 1986 automatic weapons ban. The law on possession didn’t change at all, the only thing that changed was that newly manufactured or imported weapons could no longer be added to the list of transferable weapons (created in 1932, made mandatory in 1968). This lead to an explosion in price, where a $1500 AR-15 is now worth $20,000 with a registered trigger group, and a heavy machine gun like a M2 50 cal now goes for $50,000.
    The only difference to the qualification needed to buy a regular weapon is that you have to pass a real background check, there’s no “3 days delay max” rule. Which typically takes 9 months at the moment.
    Most people use a NFA trust to hold their weapons, that gets you around the “approval of the chief law enforcement officer” rule that keeps weapons out of some communities otherwise. It also allows you to transfer within families without having to get prior approval.
    These are federal rules btw, there are several states and cities that completely outlaw the possession of NFA Class III guns or items.

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  28. KM says:

    @MarkedMan:

    As far as I know the only games in a casino that a professional gambler can come out ahead in the long term are poker and sports betting.

    Not true. While video game slots are basically designed to take your shirt, you can (within reason) game the system by taking the time to closely observe. I personally know and occasionally go gambling with an ex-NASA employee who has spent hours documenting and dissecting one game so precisely big wins can be determined in 1-2 rolls. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve contributed a $20 and got a mortgage payment back. A smart, dedicated gambler with nothing better to do and enough wits to decipher some patterns could consistently bring in big jackpots. There’d be long down periods of course but that’s why they keep comping you – they’re hoping you are willing to try and get that money back.

    If this guy is as clever and detailed-orientated as we’ve seen, he could very well have worked out a system that generally benefited him more often then not.

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  29. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @JKB: Regarding “bump-stocks or sliding stock:
    Here https://www.slidefire.com/downloads/BATFE.pdf
    is a photocopy of ATF’s assessment of the manufacturer’s device

    This 2010 document is sent by the manufacturer to each end-user.
    .
    In the ATF letter it declares it is NOT regulated by GCA or NFA

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  30. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon: No. And stop being disingenuous.

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  31. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Which device–the 3D printed bump stock or the 3D printer?

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  32. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Gustopher:

    Now, if you lend your friend your WingNut .45 for the weekend, outside of a gun range, then that would be a transfer. And another, if he actually gives it back.

    I’m not so sure. It may only become a transfer when Stormy tells the police “no officer, I had no idea at all that he was going to shoot his wife with my gun.”

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  33. MarkedMan says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: yeah, I think the 3D printer thing has sailed. They have 3 of them in my local library branch. I’m part of a small MakerSpace and we have a half dozen.

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  34. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Two years old, still relevant: http://www.stonekettle.com/2015/06/bang-bang-sanity.html

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  35. MikeyParks says:

    @NBH: Logically, if there’s a nut case out there wanting to kill multiple random people, he hasn’t been waiting to learn about bump stocks. I wouldn’t get too worried about imitators. Besides, this guy could have killed just as many people with a standard semi-automatic weapon. It just might have taken him an extra ten minutes. “Let’s ban bump stocks” is virtue signaling at its finest – and silliest.

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  36. Matt says:

    Bumpfiring has been a technique used by people for decades. You don’t need a special stock to do it. Certainly those stocks make it easier to do for those not interested in spending a little time practicing (some used string as JKB mentioned). Bumpfiring with or without a stock destroys your accuracy as you’re essentially jerking the rifle around to get it to fire faster. It literately looks like you’re trying to jerk the rifle off so there’s all kinds of comments that could be made about that.

    3d printing has tossed a huge wrench into gun control laws. There are now multiple companies that 3d print gun components or whole guns.

    Just the other day I watched on youtube a video showing step by step how to cast an ar-15 lower out of melted aluminum cans. He has put several hundred rounds through it without an issue.

    Any attempt at a ban won’t go anywhere because DIane and crew will create a bill with such a wide definition of what constitutes a bump stock that the bill will end up banning adjustable stocks and collapsible stocks. She just can’t seem to help herself when it comes to stuff like this. That’s how she ends up pushing bills that would ban some pump shotguns and some hunting rifles.

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  37. gVOR08 says:

    @MikeyParks: Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare umpty seven times when they knew it wouldn’t be signed, W cut taxes and blew up the deficit (in good times), and they invaded Iraq for no good reason, blowing up the Middle East in the process. Why don’t we try letting Democrats have one gesture that, even if pointless, won’t cost much and doesn’t carry any risk of causing significant harm?

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  38. Matt says:

    @Matt: While claiming the bill is to ban assault weapons.

    I screwed up my edit pretty hard so I had to finish the thought in a second post. =/

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  39. James Pearce says:

    @Matt:

    3d printing has tossed a huge wrench into gun control laws.

    I’d love to see someone argue that the illegal weapons they manufactured are technically legal because they were manufactured on a 3D printer….

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  40. Jack says:

    @Gustopher:

    And, treat violators to ridiculously long prison sentences.

    Considering states and localities are not even giving long sentences to people who actually use guns in the commission of actual crimes, don’t you believe this is a little over the top? What next, sentencing crack users to more time than cocaine users? Oh, wait, that was done, and EVERYONE agreed it was stupid.

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  41. Jack says:

    @gVOR08:

    No.

    You would be wrong. That is EXACTLY how the law works in Washington state.
    http://app.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?Cite=9.41.113

    In Colorado, a woman that had a concealed carry permit and was carrying during a car accident had to go through a myriad of hoops to her gun back because it was removed prior to transport to the hospital and the police refuse to give it back to her because there was no exception to the law that allowed them to do so.

    “We had an opinion from our city attorney and district attorney not to return firearms without a (Federal Firearms License) check, and we don’t have an FFL person in our office,” said Fort Collins deputy chief Jim Szakmeister.

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  42. MarkedMan says:

    I can’t see the NRA or the gun-nuts and their toadies in Congress moving anywhere, and am not sure where they could move even if that happened. But I see a small glimmer of hope. Maybe we can get to the point where as a society, people start looking askance again at those who stockpile weapons, and prattle on endlessly about how they are going to kill all the “others” that are out there trying to carjack them and do a home invasion. Maybe we can get back to the point where if someone is rambling on about the benefits of hollow point vs jacketed bullets, people look at each other and go home and tell their kids they can’t play with those lunatic’s kids. Because with 300M guns in the US distributed amongst an ever diminishing number of people the only way we are going to weed out the real nuts from the dick-wavers is if we can embarrass the latter into shutting the F up, leaving only the true nuts who keep droning on.

    Personally, I certainly wonder about the sanity of the gun experts on this site who talk so callously about how meaningless it is that someone is adding bump stocks to their semi-automatic assault rifles. Are they just blowhards? Or are they stockpiling their weapons and making lists?

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  43. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jack: I think you need to be able to read better. The transfers in the RCW are all transactions or long-term transfers to some specific non-use/self-defense application. Test firing a gun or borrowing one at a gun range don’t seem likely to get past a court clerk, let alone a judge; although a zealous prosecutor, such as yourself, might try it.

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  44. Paul Hooson says:

    It’s difficult to find any legitimate use for the bump stock, however very lethal weapons can be easily and quickly built at home for about $12 to $20 such as an easily concealed 12 gauge shotgun built from three pieces of high strength plumbing parts, a BB and superglue that can be hid down a pants leg or in a coat that can quickly fire off one shell after another. The war in Bosnia, for example, was largely fought with homemade lethal weapons built in garage workshops.

    Gun regulation or even a ban on some lethal parts is not a huge obstacle if some criminal or unbalanced type is determined to modify or even build a very lethal homemade weapon. Many lethal guns or modifications are just too easy to build at home.

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  45. Rick Zhang says:

    @James Pearce:
    Increased funding for schools and mental health? Somehow I doubt it will happen…

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  46. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    This is a rare opportunity here. There is probably enough support for a bump-stock ban. Of course, you can still blow it and fail. Here are two pitfalls:

    1) Overplaying your hand. Taking the support (or tolerance) for banning bump-stocks and trying to parlay it into a much bigger ban would dry up that support very quickly. Push for too much, you get nothing.

    2) Letting people who know nothing about guns write the ban. For example, Dianne Feinstein has offered a bill that would actually ban replacement triggers that are easier to pull than the “stock” trigger, which means people with less physical strength wouldn’t be able to get a gun that is easier for them to fire.

    That was one of the problems of the laughably-stupid-named “assault weapons ban.” It went after things that people who know nothing about guns find scary, but have absolutely no relationship to their utility in committing murders (like a bayonet attachment, a telescoping or folding stock (did you know that different people have different length arms?), or a grenade launcher attachment).

    There are a significant number of gun rights supporters who don’t have much of a problem with banning bump-stocks. Get their buy-in by getting them to help write the law so it addresses that issue, and avoids a lot of other matters.

    But don’t think for a moment that it’ll achieve a great deal. The “bump-stock” is simply one way of achieving the same effect. Here’s a guy doing the exact same thing with the belt loop of his pants. And while they look like they might be military-grade tactical assault pants, my own trousers have the same feature. (And mine are “high-capacity!”)

    So, will you actually get something done this time? Or will you snatch defeat from the jaws of victory once again?

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  47. jpe77 says:

    Now, if you lend your friend your WingNut .45 for the weekend, outside of a gun range, then that would be a transfer. And another, if he actually gives it back.

    And that’s exactly why prohibiting private transfers is insane. If you go hunting with someone and let them borrow a gun, you’ve committed a felony.

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  48. becca says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Belt loops,eh?

    I had you pegged as a sansabelt kinda guy.

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  49. James Pearce says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier:

    The “bump-stock” is simply one way of achieving the same effect. Here’s a guy doing the exact same thing with the belt loop of his pants.

    No bans will ever work until the gun subculture grows the F up. Maybe they –and I want to stress they, because this is not a problem in the mainstream– they need some solemnity to go along with the thrill seeking.

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  50. James Pearce says:

    @jpe77:

    If you go hunting with someone and let them borrow a gun, you’ve committed a felony.

    Only if your DA is really, really bored and you defend yourself in court.

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  51. Jack says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    The transfers in the RCW are all transactions or long-term transfers to some specific non-use/self-defense application. Test firing a gun or borrowing one at a gun range don’t seem likely to get past a court clerk, let alone a judge; although a zealous prosecutor, such as yourself, might try it.

    All of the exceptions are specifically written into the law to include temporary transfers. Letting a friend borrow it at the range or while hunting is not listed as an exception and therefore is illegal.

    Maybe you need some reading comprehension lessons.

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  52. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @James Pearce: Only if your DA is really, really bored and you defend yourself in court.

    Oh, that’s wonderful advice. “Don’t worry about the letter of the law; zealous prosecutors who will use any legal means to go after someone — why, they’re as fantastical as Hollywood-style silencers.

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  53. James Pearce says:

    @Bob The Arqubusier: Yes, “Don’t defend yourself in court” is, in fact, wonderful advice. The best, actually.

    (How are these zealous prosecutors even going to know about this hunting trip and alleged illicit weapons exchange? Perhaps this whole scenario is, well, rather silly and poorly thought out. But, sure, incorporate it into your arguments if you want.)

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  54. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    @James Pearce: If you’re trying to make the case that it’s better to pass a badly-written law and then ignore the stupid parts in the hopes that you won’t get caught… you gotta lay off the whacky tobacky.

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