Gun Control

Rapid-Fire News Cycle Leaves Bump Stocks Behind

So, too, have the politicians who said they really, really wanted a ban on the firearm accessory.

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Sen. Diane Feinstein
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

One month ago today, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded another 500 at a country music concert in Las Vegas. Out of the inevitable gun control debate that followed, politicians from both major political parties came to a rare and unusual agreement. We'd all be better off without bump stocks.

A rather obscure and gimmicky weapons modification found on several of the weapons in Paddock's Mandalay Bay Hotel room stockpile, bump stocks, in a matter of a few days, came to represent a way out of an endless stalemate.

Everyone from Sen. Diane Feinstein (D–Calif.) to the leadership of the National Rifle Association was on board with some form of restriction and a flurry of bills were introduced to prohibit them outright.

Today, people seem to have forgotten all about them.

Google search trends show a near-complete leveling off of interest among the general public. Politicians have moved on too, at least for the time being. No hearings have been scheduled on any the bump stock bill currently in Congress. Republican lawmakers have become increasingly cagey about what they plan to do about the device.

Witness Ron Johnson (R–Wisc.), the first Senate Republican to endorse a ban, who now can't seem to decide if that ban requires legislation or if regulators can handle it on their own.

When a bipartisan bill requiring background checks for bump stock purchases was introduced in the House of Representatives yesterday, the New York Times failed to run a story on it. This despite the paper previously running editorials and op-eds calling for everything from a bump stock ban to the abolition of the Second Amendment.

What little coverage of bump stocks there has been from major news outlets has been to ask where all the coverage is of bump stocks.

"It's Been One Month Since The Las Vegas Shooting And Bump Stocks Are Still Legal," the Huffington Post complains. "A month after Las Vegas carnage," a USA Today editorial says today, "bupkis on bump stocks."

Most of the stories predictably blame the gun lobby for the lack of action. CNN Editor-at-Large Chris Cillizza, interestingly enough, blames the news cycle itself, saying that "amid the everything-all-at-once nature of news under President Trump, things get lost. Many don't matter. Others should. A lot."

There's a lot truth in Cillizza's observation.

Since the Las Vegas shooting, we've had our national attention diverted to post-hurricane suffering in Puerto Rico, sexual harassment allegations against what seem like thousands of famous Hollywood and media personalities, charges in the neverending Russiagate investigation, and a terrorist attack in New York City.

What Cillizza misses, however, is the same vapid news cycle is responsible for supposedly serious politicians taking a bump stock ban and its impact seriously in the first place. Reason, among a precious few others, questioned whether a device derided as an ineffective novelty by serious gun enthusiasts would have any effect on gun crime in America. Reason's Jacob Sullum asked whether a device that sacrifices accuracy for speed could have added to death toll in Las Vegas.

Spitting out of the whirling news cycle were demands for spur-of-the-moment responses which lawmakers were only too happy to provide. The results were bans and the submitting of sloppily drafted bills focusing on a device nobody had ever heard of.

A month from the deadliest mass shooting in American history Slide Fire, the Texas company that suspended shipments and withstood withering scrutiny for having claimed to have invented bump stocks, announced that it is taking orders again.

It will be interesting to see if any of the authors of those dormant bump stock ban bills took notice.

NEXT: Behold the Work of Russia's Evil Advertising Geniuses

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  1. Is there a single other instance of somebody using a bump stock in a murder? Just give me one. Anyone?

    1. A bump stock once bit my sister…

      1. A bump stock once stole my heart…

        1. It wasn’t the bump stock, it was you.

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      2. A bump stock once bit my sister…

        + (something truly worthy) for the reference to Monty Python and the Holy Grails opening credits.

  2. Bump stocks are not exactly obscure if you live in a rural area. I don’t think I have a neighbor that doesn’t have one. Also that stuff that blows up.

    It’s how rednecks have fun.

    1. Also that stuff that blows up.

      I assume you mean tannerite?

    2. Bump stocks are not exactly obscure if you live in a rural area. I don’t think I have a neighbor that doesn’t have one.

      I live on a farm. None of my neighbors have one that I know of. Everyone in my immediate family owns firearms, and between the 30+ firearms between us, none of them have one.

      Because, as the article says, they’re not very useful. They shouldn’t be banned, but they’re a stupid gimmick nonetheless.

      1. Similar gimmicks have been around for decades. They’ve never been popular with the gun crowd because they mainly waste ammo without adding any safe, reliable functionality. If you just want to kill a bunch of random people, you could do just as much damage with 5 gallons of gasoline and a book of matches.

        1. “you could do just as much damage with 5 gallons of gasoline and a book of matches.”

          And, now you’re on a watchlist.

    3. I don’t think I have a neighbor who has a bump stock. .50 Cal, yes, collapsible bipods, yep, suppressors, sure, but I’ve never seen or heard of any of my neighbors using a bump stock. You have a weird neighborhood.

      1. You have a weird neighborhood.

        Nah, I’d agree with him. Not that I know lots of people with lots of bump stocks but there are regions and a tribal or clan-like mentality to it. Some regions still view silencers as despicable and underhanded tools. Others value large calibers or holes. Some are long distance, high precision others are ‘practical’ (and the two groups sometimes hold some animosity towards each other). Some, typically affiliated with or an offshoot of military historical firearms tribes/regions (for obvious and/or practical reasons), are rate-of-fire fanatics.

        Kinda like any other consumer artifact culture (I’m thinking specifically cars here), there are lots of stripes of functional purists and anyone not of a particular stripe is de facto wasting money on gimmicks.

  3. I had a feeling this would happen. Everyone, myself included, was looking for The Reason why Paddock slaughtered so many people, even though such a reason, even if adequately evidenced, would never adequately bring peace of mind.

    The people and politicians who focused on bump stocks as The Reason did so out of mental convenience. So when the need to think about such unthinkable things dissipated, so did the animus to ban them.

    1. The Reason only focused on bump stocks in reaction to politicians and media talking non-stop about bump stocks. Reason always said that the ban was useless and useless talk that wouldn’t amount to anything.

      1. Also it’s just Reason. Although I might start calling it The Reason.

        1. I took ‘The Reason’ to be ‘The *Definitive* Reason’ rather than ‘Reason Magazine’. I could be wrong.

        2. Haha, I meant the over-arching reason for the slaughter, not the publication whose website we’re talking on. So, double drink?

          1. Bahahaha the capitalization in the second reason threw me off. Drink.

  4. the leadership of the National Rifle Association was on board

    Fuck the NRA! Fucking sellouts!

    Heard a radio commercial the other day that had the NRA supporting LEOs. Nothing will get me to pull my support faster.

    1. To be completely fair, technically the NRA just recommended the ATF do what they had already done 2-3 times: review if bump stocks qualify under the existing laws. I think they were sandbagging and knew that even if their recommendation was taken it would have the same result as the previous reviews.

      Plenty of reasons to knock the NRA but I wouldn’t say they were on board with a bump stock ban.

      1. Meh, bump sticks aren’t new. Oh, bump stocks! The distinction makes all the indifference. Because plywood and broken brooms are hard to find. What’s next bans on Miculek finger?

    2. Yep, heard that too, made me sick.

      I’ve been a Life Member for 40+ yrs, but the last time I was happy with them was when they called the ATF “jack-booted thugs”.

      Now their cheering the LEO’s that murder people.

      They haven’t gotten any money from me in near 20 yrs. And won’t ever get any more.

  5. A month from the deadliest mass shooting in American history Slide Fire,

    Is there a comma shortage? Should we donate so you can afford more of them?

  6. There was something about Trump’s administration and meeting somebody in Russia too, but it seems to have gone missing.

  7. This is why I’m advising all of you accused of groping to hold off on any admissions of guilt.

    1. Personally, part of what makes my self-groping exciting is knowing others know.

      1. Remind me to take you off the guest list for my niece’s birthday party.

        1. As much as I’m saddened to hear this news, I must admit that I am surprised I was invited in the first place.

    2. It’s the cover up that always gets you. Freely admit it but don’t apologize. Say something like “those sluts had it coming” or “I bet you want it too whore”.

      1. Great, another Palin’s Buttplug sock.

        1. No one has a sense of humor anymore

          1. Satire is dead in this post-Buttplug era.

            1. Shouldn’t that be ‘buttplugs are dead in this post-satire era’, or have I, thankfully, missed something?

      2. “that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to let everyone know I’m a furry”

  8. Why do so many DEA patches have skulls and “yep, we’re definitely assholes” mottos on them?

    1. And “Special Operations Team” abbreviates as SOT, an old term for a drunkard.

    2. Well yeah, Definitely Extreme Assholes. What did you think DEA stood for?

    3. I wonder what patch they’ll get for totally losing the war on ‘marihuana’?
      The motto should be, “I profited from pissing on liberty, and I’m still an asshole”

    4. The skull is broad with a pronounced brow ridge. Perhaps it’s an homage to their Neanderthal ancestors?

      Drug enforcement , so stupid, even a caveman can do it.

  9. If we’re going to be honest about Trump, it isn’t just calling him out on his bullshit and his bad policies.

    If the bumpstock issue died, it might be attributable to Trump not jumping on board that issue.

    If Hillary Clinton were at the bully pulpit, she’d probably have made it about a lot more than bumpstocks.

    1. Probably? She’s not at the bully pulpit and did publicly knee-jerk to silencers.

  10. No, they couldn’t have any affect on American gun crime in general.

    Yes, when you’re spraying fire into a crowd from an elevated position, rate of fire is king and accuracy is basically irrelevant, so they contributed to the death toll.

    No, they aren’t even useful for fantasy defense-against-rioting-crowd scenarios, so they’d be a perfectly reasonable amendment to the suppressor bill to give as a compromise to get it passed and something useful into general circulation.

    1. No, they aren’t even useful for fantasy defense-against-rioting-crowd scenarios, so they’d be a perfectly reasonable amendment to the suppressor bill to give as a compromise to get it passed and something useful into general circulation.

      If giving them up got us suppressors, I’d say ok, but it looks like it isn’t going to be necessary. The anti-gun crowd wouldn’t make that trade in a million years, for one, which means they will probably get nothing. And two, as soon as the furor fully dies down I think the HPA will pick up steam again, since it’s pretty demonstrable that suppressors wouldn’t have made a difference either way and had nothing to do with this incident. So we probably won’t have to make that trade.

    2. Would it have been worse without them? I think it easily could have been.

      The inconsistent rate of fire meant unpredictable recoil and varying rates of muzzle climb. Even though he was firing at a dense crowd from elevation, small amounts of muzzle climb/drop can mean that he was shooting around the target area more than he would have been just shooting as fast as his finger would let him.

      1. Perhaps more importantly, he might have gotten more head/torso shots instead of limb/abdomen shots.

      2. I think it absolutely would have been worse without the bumpstock. It’s not like the bumpstock was preventing him from making headshots or hitting individuals. It’s more accurate to say that it was preventing him from consistently hitting the city block that he was aiming at. For a while they were investigating the damage from some of his shots that were hitting on the airports property and trying to determine if he was trying to shoot and explode some fuel tanks. Ultimately, they concluded that he was simply so inaccurate with his shots that they were unintentionally going that far off target.

        1. It’s more accurate to say that it was preventing him from consistently hitting the city block that he was aiming at.

          Ultimately, they concluded that he was simply so inaccurate with his shots that they were unintentionally going that far off target.

          Not knowing Paddock personally, this is patent bullshit. He was firing 5.56. It’s trivial for children in Africa to get trained up to put bullets on targets, reliably, with the 7.62 or they wouldn’t do it or bother.

          Considering the way they fucked up the timeline in the hallway of the hotel and the fact that they’ll never know which shots were fired standing, sitting, lying down, etc., I’d consider it beyond their capabilities to determine whether he was intentionally spraying erratically, blindly (between flashes and smoke) searching for targets once people reached some manner of cover, or unable to hit a given target due to muzzle climb.

          I think, if Paddock had been planning on going in without bump stocks we’d be not talking about two incomparable scenarios. Much the same way we aren’t comparing Paddock’s practices to Adam Lanza’s or Tim McVeigh’s.

          1. “It’s trivial for children in Africa to get trained up to put bullets on targets, reliably, with the 7.62 or they wouldn’t do it or bother.”

            Because the *adults* in that region have such a reputation for putting rounds on target. Or knowing anything about firearms training or usage beyond what they saw in a 25-year-old VHS tape of Commando played in the village .theater” (eg, Panasonic on a wooden crate in disused donkey stall).

        2. unable to hit a given target due to muzzle climb

          One thing that I think does need to be clear is that muzzle climb is not a non-issue but is a bit of a red herring. If you’re susceptible to it with a given weapon then full auto, bump stock, or just pulling the trigger really fast in semi-auto doesn’t really or exactly matter. Considering the overwhelming majority of the time muzzle climb can be effectively combated by the shooter leaning into the rifle, getting a better grip, or plain-old just expecting it (whether they are taught to or learn it) the idea that it’s some manner of unalienable truth or foregone conclusion is absurd. There are plenty of weapons out there where full-auto or burst fire will be *more* accurate in the hands of any given shooter specifically because the action will put two rounds down range with less climb than the shooter could do themselves. There are plenty of abandoned weapons and rounds throughout history that exacerbated muzzle climb no matter what the shooter did.

          1. Generally, I agree with most of what you say (although people with AK’s in 3rd world aren’t really known for accuracy). But, I think bumpstocks are fundamentally different in design. They work by allowing almost the entire weapon (upper and lower) to move back and forth. I haven’t shot one so i don’t know how much you can really compensate for that. But, it doesn’t seem like it would be solved by the tactics you would use for something like ak, m16, or mp5. I would expect a weapon like that to be far more accurate than bumpstock on ar15.

            I imagine the concept isn’t something that would stand the test of time… instead it’s something that would end up on the stack of abandoned weapons that you mention. Except for the fact that, right now, it’s one of the ways that Joe Blow can have fun shooting full auto (kinda, sorta).

          2. “There are plenty of weapons out there where full-auto or burst fire will be more accurate in the hands of *an incompetent marksman* specifically because the action will put two rounds down range with less climb than *said nincompoop* could do themselves.”

            FTFY. And it sounds like Paddock had more than enough time to practice.

    3. But he had plenty of time up there to shoot just as many bullets without a bump stock. Could it have increased the death toll by like 10%? Sure, but it would not have made a significant difference.

  11. Rapid-Fire News Cycle Leaves Bump Stocks Behind

    It’s time we have in this country a serious conversation about rental truck control.

    Stop the madness!

      1. Not to pick nits but as long as it isn’t full auto or over .50 cal, probably a non-issue. Given the past few days I was actually expecting this to be the link.

        1. I will say that at $19 for 75 minutes the NYC driver would have been better off with $19.95 per day at U-haul. Less pressure would have allowed for more precision. I guess that’s why they call them “radicalized” not “measured”. OMG! ban Uber!

  12. Today, people seem to have forgotten all about them.

    That’s because not enough little children were killed.

  13. Just fyi, all you bitches, it’s my professional opinion that Paddock would have killed a lot more had he not relied on a bump stock.

  14. Google search trends show a near-complete leveling off of interest among the general public.

    The American Militia is going to need a lot of bump stocks because of the coming Russian invasion. Get with the times he-who-desperately-needs-a-vowel.

    1. He last saw his vowels on the carpet, stop complaining and help him look for them!

      1. Oh, great, you stepped on an “a.” Well, maybe it can pass for an “o.”

  15. If you could get Stephen Paddock and Saipov in the same room, you’d have a pretty good Predator vs Alien movie.

  16. I hate to pile on, but you can rearrange the letters in “Christian Britschgi” to spell “Irish crab stitching,” “baths hiring critics,” or “chic shitting briars.”

  17. Can we talk about the distant gunfire caught on video by the cabbie?

  18. Speaking of not letting crises go to waste. From the BBC story on the NYC truck attack:

    “The mayor of New York City and the governor of New York state have both praised the resilience of New Yorkers – and urged people not to “politicise” a tragedy that took eight lives.

    Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio also suggested New York’s strict gun control laws had ensured that high-powered weapons could not get into the hands of terrorists.”

    1. Do you know that sixty percent of all deaths in America are caused by guns?
      Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of windows?

      1. I can’t tell if you’re trying to be flamey or making a joke. What’s this about pushing little girls out of windows?

        The leading causes of death in the US are as follows (from CDC 2016):

        Heart disease: 633,842
        Cancer: 595,930
        Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
        Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
        Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
        Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
        Diabetes: 79,535
        Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062
        Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 49,959
        Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193

        Most of the deaths “caused by guns” are suicides, so the alternative would be to push themselves out of windows.

        Accidents are apparently dominated by drug poisoning, car crashes, and falls. I see a couple things we can ban here too. Wait a minute, falls from windows…?

        1. I can’t tell if you’re trying to be flamey or making a joke. What’s this about pushing little girls out of windows?
          Showing my age. It is a quote from All In The Family.

          1. Holy crap! Are you typing this from hospice care?

            1. Work, all the pain without the drugs. I’m generation X, but older than the series.

  19. How is it that nobody commented on the headline??? “Rapid-fire” news cycle… “bump stocks”… that’s gold Jerry. Gold!

  20. I called this exact thing! I said that TDS would distract the media from bump stocks by November.

  21. [pedant]
    I just wish writers would quit saying “killed 58 people and wounded another 500.” I’m guessing a lot of the “wounded” were hurt in the crowd, not by being shot.
    [/pedant]

  22. The window of opportunism (not opportunity) has passed. Politicians know that these reflexive, half-baked “let’s do something” stages after a tragedy are, as far as results and reality, meaningless. After the political benefits are past their shelf-life in front of an increasingly hysterical, ill-informed and distracted public, of course they’re going to forget about it.

  23. The ongoing public debate is the mood of the mob.

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