The ban on bump stocks in the USA went into effect March 26th, 2019. Prior to that several challenges by organizations like Gun Owners of America and the Firearms Policy Coalition have been filed in district courts and even the Supreme Court. Well, it seems the Supreme Court has declined to hear the case.
This ban and the Supreme Court’s decision to not hear the case mark, in my opinion, the start of a new gun control era in the United States. The reality is that since March 26th there are many (probably hundreds of thousands) of law abiding citizens that have become felons overnight by owning these accessories for their firearms and not complying with the ban.
There are many techniques fire a semi-automatic rifle rapidly. The bump stock is an accessory that can be directly attached to the firearm to facilitate the execution of a such a technique (called bump fire). However, bump firing can be accomplished using a rubber band, a belt loop, or just adjusting the shouldering and grip on a rifle. At the end of the day, the bump fire technique takes practice (even when using a bump stock) to execute. A novice is not likely to execute this technique and rapidly fire a semi-automatic rifle. It is much more difficult to use this technique to achieve effective rapid fire than to squeeze the trigger on an automatic firearm.
While I’ve never owned a bump stock, I think the ban will likely be the leader of several other regulations and restrictions on semi-automatic firearms. Hopefully, I will be proved wrong.
Sadly, the NRA took a position to support the regulation of bump stocks and supported the ban. Here is their statement:
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox Issue Joint Statement
Unfortunately, the NRA’s position on bump stocks is wrong. Bump stocks (or bump fire techniques) do not allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles. But even if there were right about this, it got me thinking. What pro-gun wins has the NRA really had that have expanded gun owner rights? Nothing in terms of better hearing protection (de-regulation of silences). Nothing in terms of concealed license reciprocity. Plenty of restrictions are happening in several states. Maybe, I’ve been focusing too much on NRA positions I disagree with and not paying enough attention to the wins. But from where I’m sitting gun rights seem to be eroding while the NRA keeps asking for additional donations. Just doesn’t seem like good return on investment (especially, when we have a supposedly pro-2A president in office).
As gun owners, we seem to be getting complacent. It seems to me that gun owners have taking a passive role in politics after placing so much trust in organizations like the NRA and president Trump to stave off anti-2A assaults. Fact is anti-2A politicians have taken control of the House of Representatives. Fact is many anti-2A bills are being introduced in pro-2A states. If this complacency continues, gun owners will continue to see an erosion of gun rights. Gun owners need to organize and get active – attend peaceful rallies and demonstrations, actively contact your representatives, and take an active role in local chapters of gun rights organizations. Sending a donation and casting a vote is not enough.