Gun Control

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's Proposed Bump Stock Ban Is Mostly Pointless

It's more about sending a message to Congress

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Lorie Shaull/Flickr

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a plan yesterday to introduce local legislation banning the possession and sale of bump stocks in the nation's capital. The policy's net effect would be close to zero, however.

For one thing, D.C.'s longstanding assault weapons ban makes the great majority of firearms which can accept bump stocks—AR-15s, AK-47s, and their variants—already illegal to own or possess. Moreover, bump stocks operate on recoil, which you can't get without firing a gun. Guess what? Legally owned or not, firing a gun is also illegal within city limits, except in self defense.

Bowser's proposed ban would merely outlaw a part that helps an outlawed gun do an outlawed thing, faster.

So what's the point of banning bump stocks in D.C.?

When Congress gave the District limited autonomy to pass local laws in 1973, it reserved the power to review and veto the Council's decisions under most circumstances. When District law implicates issues of national political concern, such as abortion and marijuana prohibition (and, these days, gun control) Congress often intervenes to block the Council's typically-progressive maneuvers.

Local leaders generally resist this meddling, but in this case, they're actually hoping for it. Kevin Donahue, the Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, told The Washington Post that Bowser's administration hopes to force members of Congress to go "on the record" regarding bump stock prohibition, either letting the District's symbolic ban stand, or stepping in to veto it. "They could actively disapprove a bump stock ban, or they could tacitly approve," Donahue said. "Either way, they'll be on record."

Presumably, Donahue and Bowser want to force pro-gun politicians who have tentatively voiced approval of a bump stock ban to put their money where their mouth is, or not.

D.C., which has one of the strictest "state-level" gun control regimes in the country, had 116 homicides in 2017, of which 89 were fatal shootings. A spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Forensic Services, which processes illegal guns recovered by police, said that their office received 2,191 firearms last year, but could not say how many of those were rifles that would be capable of accepting a bump stock attachment. According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Report, rifles of all kinds accounted for 3.27 percent* of gun homicides from 2011-2016.

*CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that rifles accounted for 2.28 percent of gun homicides. They accounted for 2.28 percent of all homicides, and 3.27 percent of gun homicides.

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NEXT: Jeff Sessions Backs Bump Stock Ban, Trump Names 2020 Campaign Chief, and Jared Kushner Has Security Clearance Downgraded: P.M. Links

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  1. A spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Forensic Services, which processes illegal guns recovered by police, said that their office received 2,191 firearms last year, but could not say how many of those were rifles that would be capable of accepting a bump stock attachment.

    Emphasis added. “I don’t know that but I’ll get back to you”, or “You know I’m not permitted to discuss that”?

    1. It most certainly does NOT mean “researching that issue sounds too much like work and I’m going on break.”

    2. Let us not forget the likely option that they do not have the knowledge to make that sort of determination. They are just the D.C. Department of Forensic Services, not a real lab full of scientific experts qualified to testify is a court case.

  2. But Bowser said it should remain legal to cough up fireballs.

    1. Hello Paul,

      Thank you for the link.
      I had not realized that the license plates in D.C. had “taxation without representation” upon them. I think that “No Taxation Without Representation” is more appropriate given what I have read about a certain revolution that occurred somewhere on Earth…. If I recall correctly, this particular revolution seemed to involve an odd number of colonies and the British Empire.

      From the article to which you linked: “President Obama announced Tuesday that the District’s politically charged “taxation without representation” license plates will be placed on all presidential limousines this weekend, a move city leaders have been waiting on for four years.”

      Telling.

      1. Well, after a couple hundred years of experimentation, I am not so sure about taxation with representation. Turns out what is represented is mostly rich lobbyists.

  3. No it’s not, Reason. They don’t care about it’s effectiveness, all they want is one step closer to gun confiscation. At least the honest leftists will admit that.

    1. Reason didn’t write this article.

      1. Technically, Reason doesn’t write any of the articles.

      2. Surely you’re not suggesting that the articles are written by individuals with their own points of view, are you? That’s just crazy talk.

    2. all they want is one step closer to gun confiscation. At least the honest leftists will admit that.

      BULLSHIT!
      Even pathetic.

      This sucks up to gun goobers, claiming only about 2% of gun homicides are by a rifle.
      But his own source says over 24% are an unknown firearm.

      Apparently, anything less than french-kissing Wayne LaPierre’s ass is confiscation conspiracy to you people.

      At least the honest (everything) will admit that,

      1. Bot Michael Hihn!

        Mr Putin is recalling you for bot re-progamming.

        His orders to you bot:Michael Hihn, was to ‘troll librarian websites,’ and not ‘libertarian,’ web sites.

        You are hereby ordered to return to Russia for re-programming !

        That is all !!!

        1. Gun goober defends FAKE NEWS.
          Claims ABSOLUTE PROOF is trolling.
          Thus proving me correct!

          Just one libertarian’s perspective: left authoritarians = right authoritarians
          (BOTH seek to impose their own tribe’s agenda by force of law, i.e. statism)

          1. I found Trump’s troll account!

            Narcissist? Check.
            Incoherent babbling? Check.
            Superiority complex? Check.
            Resistance to reason? Check.

            Hihn-Mask=Trump

            1. How DARE I state a PROVABLE fact?

              Aggression The action or an act of attacking without provocation

              ad hominem (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining

              Cyberbullying The act of bullying someone through electronic means (as by posting mean or threatening messages about the person online)

              Stalker A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention

              psychopath
              1. A person suffering from chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behaviour.
              2. The Authoritarian Left
              3. The Authoritarian Right

  4. LOL no one is going to take your bait you dumb bitch. If she actually believes that, people should vote her out of office for failing even DC standards of intelligence.

  5. but could not say how many of those were rifles that would be capable of accepting a bump stock attachment

    Considering the bump stock is, or can be, an exceedingly custom fabrication, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to question what percentage were semi-automatic and/or self-loading? If they’re unable to provide the numbers, it should really cast some serious shade on a forensics unit that’s collecting firearms but is incapable of determining their legality.

    Honestly, some real journalist should hold their feet to the fire over this. I’d guess they’re collecting lots of legal guns that they don’t want people knowing they don’t have to surrender; but even if they aren’t, all the people bitching about how “People can’t study gun violence!” should be beating down their doors with FOIA requests for public access to public data/information.

  6. banning the possession and sale of bump stocks in the nation’s capital

    Yeah, all the gun shops will go out of business now. Oh wait…

  7. Idjits. If they’d google up bump fire they’d realize there are numerous ways to bump fire any semi auto without any alterations or aids. Thumb in the belt loop one of the best.

  8. Gun control actions as posturing?

    Well, that’s novel.

  9. FAKE NEWS

    According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, rifles of all kinds accounted for 2.28 percent of gun homicides.

    Yes, but dishonest AF …. 24.3% were “Firearms (type not stated)”

    Will there be a correction of this blatant falsehood?

    Just one libertarian’s perspective:
    Left- Right=Zero (BOTH seek to impose their own tribe’s agenda by force of law, i.e. statism)

    1. Do you have any evidence that the “Type not stated” category breaks down in a way that is different from all of the stated firearms, i.e. that it contains an unusual amount of rifles?

      1. Umm, ANY percentage would still make the claim a lie. Ask any 12-year-old math student.
        UNLESS, the EXACT SAME ratios apply to ALL the gun type’s listed. That one may need a 16-year-old
        That means YOU need the proof.

        Anything else?

        1. UNLESS, the EXACT SAME ratios apply to ALL the gun type’s listed.

          It might not be the exact same, but it’s almost certainly likely that the percentages are very similar, i.e. that only around 2-3% of those unknown 24% are rifles. Unless you believe that there’s something special about rifles that make them harder to distinguish from other types of firearms (which is not the case – the ballistic signature of a rifle is very easy to distinguish from other types of firearm).

          So, again, do YOU have any actual reason to believe that the percentage is different? Anything to back up your apparent belief that those unknown firearm types are hiding a massive number of rifles?

          1. Don’t feed the troll.

          2. but it’s almost certainly likely that the percentages are very similar,

            Totally unknown,. You’re done.

            1. Totally unknown,. You’re done.

              Totally unknown. You’re done.

              1. ad hominem (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining

                Cyberbullying The act of bullying someone through electronic means (as by posting mean or threatening messages about the person online)

                Stalker A person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention

            2. Come on, its not just likely, its almost certainly likely. Thats just common sense. Science party!

    2. Will there be a correction of this blatant falsehood?

      What falsehood and corrected by whom? The depiction is as accurate as can be portrayed by the people actually doing the investigation. Even if you take everyone of the murders as a result of the ‘Firearms (type not stated)’ category and add it to the ‘Rifles’ category, without question, it’s still less than half the deaths from handguns.

      As I pointed out above, asking the professional forensic experts sitting on a cache of almost 2,200 guns even relatively trivial questions about the guns you get a deer-in-the-headlights response. I admit that the questions are going through a reporter who may have no real experience with firearms or basic mechanics or whatever, but the experts still utterly fail to demonstrate any greater illumination.

      Further complicating the issue is the FBI’s methodology as filtered through the ATF/NFA’s tortured legal definitions of firearm. If a witness sees a shoulder-fired weapon with a barrel 26.5″ long and the victim is found to be full of 9mm handgun rounds, does that go into the rifle or handgun category? More importantly and relevantly, 9mm carbine rifles (even those built around the AR-15 action) aren’t generally used in these mass shootings.

      1. his sucks up to gun goobers, claiming only about 2% of gun homicides are by a rifle.
        But ,b>his own source says over 24% are an unknown firearm.
        Will there be a correction of this blatant falsehood?

        The depiction is as accurate as can be portrayed by the people actually doing the investigation.

        Umm, so why lie about their data here????

        Did you screw up AGAIN?

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  11. “D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Proposed Bump Stock Ban Is Mostly Pointless”

    Which would be no different than anything else she has ever done in her life.

    1. It may be factually pointless, but not politically pointless, Which is the motivation for any of them to do anything.

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  13. How is it pointless to send congress a message? Isnt that what federalism is all about?

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