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A Prospective Bump Stock Ban Shows How Disconnected Gun Control Politics Is From Reality

The device's ineffectiveness and unpopularity make it an easy sacrifice.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/NewscomBill Clark/CQ Roll Call/NewscomA bump stock, you probably can't help but know by now, is a special rifle attachment that harnesses the natural recoil of a semi-automatic weapon to repeatedly "bump" up against the shooters trigger finger, dramatically increasing the rate of fire.

Last Saturday the device was an obscure novelty, dismissively regarded in gun circles. The next day it was a prime suspect in the killing of 59 people, and injuring of over 500 more in Las Vegas, Nevada. By midweek, bump stocks were the bullseye of our repetitive shooting match over gun control.

Finally, Democrats like Sen. Diane Feinstein (D – Calif.), who had introduced a failed bill to ban them in 2013, and Republicans found something in this debate they could agree upon. Not previously knowing what they were almost seemed to provide a rationale for supporting a ban.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R – Wis.) said Thursday, "I didn't even know what they were until this week, and I'm an avid sportsman. Apparently, this allows you to take a semiautomatic and turn it into a fully automatic, so clearly that's something we need to look into." Rep. Bill Flores (R – Texas), a gun-owner, told The Hill, "now that I've studied up on what a bump stock is — I didn't know there was such a thing — there's no reason for it."

Predictably, talk of a ban has made bump stocks one of America's fastest selling gun accessories. "Oh, God, yes, it's been insane," one Texas gun store owner told CNN Money. "Since this story has broke, we've been getting about 50 people a day asking for them." Another from Maine said that he had five bump stocks gathering dust for months, before a post-Vegas buying spree saw them all snatched them up.

The buying blitz has overwhelmed bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions. Operating out of the tiny town of Moran, Texas (pop. 270), Slide Fire has done steady business since founder Jeremiah Cottle first set up shop in 2010. A post-Vegas surge in demand, however, has forced the company to suspend taking new orders. If the political winds keeping blowing the way they do, Slide Fire might never take any new orders.

No one seems more mystified by the sudden enthusiasm for bump stocks—from both gun nuts and gun grabbers—than gun store owners. Because bump stocks sacrifice accuracy for speed hunters, sportsmen, and most other enthusiasts have little need for them, some experts say.

"I've always thought these bump stocks were just a novelty," Andrew Wickerham, owner of the 2nd Amendment Gun Shop in Las Vegas, told The Christian Science Monitor. "They're not that good, and they're hard as hell to control."

"I will order them if someone wants one, but I highly discourage them from purchasing. It's not safe, they don't work, and it's a gimmick," Tallahassee gun retailer Will Dance told CNN Money.

Even with the sudden sales surge, the rarity of the devices raises the question of the real impact of a ban, other than to allow for some bipartisan political posturing. Banning bump stocks is something that can be done without pissing too many people off, placating the crowd that after every shooting in America screams for somebody to do something.

This sort of logic is only questionable outside of politics.

Photo Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

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  • BYODB||

    Classic case of:


    We must do something!

    This is thing!

    We do this!

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Not really. This is the rare case where they're proposing to ban something that was integral to the massacre and not really useful for any other purpose.

  • Sevo||

    "Not really. This is the rare case where they're proposing to ban something that was integral to the massacre and not really useful for any other purpose."

    I'm sure I'm not alone in not giving a shit regarding your opinion on the matter.
    If I want one, MY opinion matters, yours is background noise; NWS.

  • Longtobefree||

    Actually, a firearm with a high rate of fire is just a lot of fun to play with.
    Like a high-powered car.

  • ||

    Integral? I'm a former infantryman. I can do three rounds a second easily with my finger. Bump stock isn't going to increase that much.

  • Warren||

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha

  • ace_m82||

    I'm NOT former infantry (cannoneer) and I can make an M16 sing like a 240G. It's not hard, especially for those of the video game generation. It's totally useless if you're shooting anything at any range at all, but shooting a semi-auto really, really fast is no difficult thing.

  • AndyWingall||

    Are you for a soft approach to violent offenders? Do you believe in reducing felony charges to misdemeanors even in cases when a weapon is used? Do you believe in early release programs even for those convicted of violent offenses? What do you think of Ibonds for those who commit violent assaults with a gun? All of these things most Leftist states attorneys support, and are in fact a continuous platform used by the Democrat party. Yet these very same people--the people who support the staunchest anti-gun policies--also staunchly stand by these "progressive" criminal justice models. The sick ironic twist is these progressive criminal justice models actually boost gun sales because the public feels that the government has failed to protect them.

  • SIV||

    The next day it was a prime suspect in the killing of 59 people

    The bump stock killed the killer too?

  • Rich||

    "They're not that good, and they're hard as hell to control."

  • Episteme||

    It's still bouncing across the landscape on absorbed kinetic energy to this day, wiping out entire small towns.

  • ElDuderino||

    So it accidentially ate the pile of Acme earthquake pills it had intended for the Roadrunner?

  • ||

    Its been hypothesized he accidentally killed himself, so maybe.

  • Sevo||

    Accidentally killed himself with a rifle?
    Rose Marie Woods would be proud!

  • Longtobefree||

    point, set, and match!

  • SIV||

    I will order them if someone wants one, but I highly discourage them from purchasing. It's not safe, they don't work, and it's a gimmick," Tallahassee gun retailer Will Dance told CNN Money.

    They don't work? That's news to 558 people in Las Vegas, well 500 of them anyways.

  • BYODB||

    Yeah...that's an interesting disconnect. Maybe he should have specified what they don't work at achieving, because apparently speed-firing into a dense crowd they work just dandy.

    I'd suppose that since this guy is a gun retailer he probably means you can't hit jack shit intentionally with one of them, but you will hit a whole lot of things you may or may not be actually aiming at. Usually, that's considered a downside.

  • DenverJ||

    Aiming is for pussies. Just point in the general direction and keep bumping until you achieve your goal. Works for sex, too.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Leave your 1-ton gangbang fantasies out of this.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Spray n Pray, bby.

  • Agammamon||

    I really don't think there's much of a difference between 10 shots a second and 3-4 as far as lethality goes.

    So, yeah. They're a gimmick. You can burn through a lot of ammo fast, aren't any more dangerous. Point an AR-15 in the general direction of a packed crowd and pull the trigger as fast as you can and you'll get the same results.

    Which is why they weren't 'integral to the massacre' as LIberty up there says.

  • Agammamon||

    Plus, you can, seriously, do the exact same thing with a rubber band.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5XzQ1BS7gU

    So the ban would eliminate *from the legal market but not the black market* something which had little effect in the first place, inconvenience otherwise law-abiding people, and not stop the problem when a rubberband or hairband could be used for the same effect.

  • uunderstand||

    . . . when a rubberband or hairband could be used for the same effect.

    Can you get those in pink? My son-in-law's AR-15 has pink furniture.

  • Johnny B||

    I was going to say the same thing about a belt buckle!

    Kevin Williamson at National Review linked to this:

  • Johnny B||

  • Bubba Jones||

    I like how that clown kept sweeping his buddy with the barrel.

  • Brendan||

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    I really don't think there's much of a difference between 10 shots a second and 3-4 as far as lethality goes.

    Did you type this on purpose?

  • dchang0||

    Agammamon is correct. Here are a few things to consider:

    1) Rate of fire does not mean the shooter is actually hitting human targets. You can shoot 10 shots a second that go flying wildly off target (a common occurrence with full auto) or 3-4 well-aimed shots that miss as well. Or, the 3-4rds/sec could hit while the 10rds/sec miss, and so on.

    2) Hitting the target does not necessarily mean killing them. Graze wounds, for instance...

    3) Rate of fire doesn't necessarily increase probability of death, even if all the bullets hit one human. For instance, the 10rds/sec can hit the person's foot while the 3-4rds/sec can hit the person's head. Another possibility: assume the first round kills the person instantly. Whether the shooter pumps another 9rds in to the body or another 3rds into the body in the remainder of that 1 second doesn't matter. He's dead.

  • Sidd Finch v2.01||

    This is full fucking retard.

    Nobody in the world is putting 3-4 rds/sec on moving targets from 500 yards.

  • marshaul||

    "Nobody in the world is putting 3-4 rds/sec on moving targets from 500 yards."

    True, but however many they are getting on target, you can safely say that with a bump stock the figure would be lower. Mostly because the gun doesn't wait until multiple rounds are fired to begin recoiling.

  • LarryA||

    Look at the videos. Lots of people weren't moving. As in:
    "I waited to see if he would resume firing. Then he started firing, so I didn't move."

    Competent rifle shooters, at 300 yards, who can see the people they are shooting at (like by looking down on the area) can absolutely get more hits with aimed semiautomatic fire than they can with true full-auto fire, much less bump-stock fake automatic fire.

  • XM||

    That was a turkey shoot, you didn't need accuracy to kill that many in a crowd that big. A gun expert actually said that he could have killed even more people without bump stock.

  • Jimothy||

    I doubt that his customers come in saying, "Hey, I'm looking to indiscriminately kill a large number of people. Would a bump stock work?" I also doubt, despite what gun control proponents may say, that he intends to sell weapons and accessories for that purpose.

    So, when he says they don't work, it should be understood he's not referring to mass shootings.

  • Chasman1965||

    Firing at a crowd of 20,000 is probably the only way they would work well. From what I've seen (and I didn't just learn about these last week), bump stocks weren't a way to increase accuracy--they were just a way to waste a lot of ammunition playing soldier.

  • Lily Bulero||

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Well it's a good thing we have the Brits to explain to all us colonists what the 2nd Amendment is about.

  • Lily Bulero||

    If only we had the English version of the Bill of Rights:

    "That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law"

    So to have gun rights, not only do you have to be a Protestant, you have to limit yourself to what's "allowed by law" and of course your rights depend on your "condition" i. e. social status.

    That's how it is in New York City and Chicago (except the Protestant part). You have whatever rights are allowed by law, and the law allows weapons to the rich and well-connected rather than the ordinary low-ranking schmoe.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Their bill of rights dates back to the 1600s, so the weren't even talking guns. Although it would be cool to walk around town carrying a halberd nowadays.

  • Lily Bulero||

    They had guns in 1689, though I presume they were also alluding to swords, which no gentleman would be without.

  • Longtobefree||

    Cool, yes; but expensive. In many states, you need a concealed carry permit for edged instruments 'designed for fighting'.

  • rudehost||

    Fortunately just like abortion it is settled law. Sorry fascist proggies you can't do anything about this except clench your tiny little fists in rage and hold your breath. As far as you know my record is 15 minutes. Please try to break it.

  • dchang0||

    The fascist proggies have managed to infringe quite far on law-abiding gun owners' rights in California and other Democrat-run states like NJ, CT, and NY.

    The fight for the restoration of the 2nd Amendment isn't over yet; settled law can be bad if we're talking about state laws.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    "The militia were at that stage almost exclusively a slave-control tool in the south," he said. "You gave Congress the power to arm the militia – if Congress chooses not to arm our militia, well, we all know what happens."

    Wow.

  • DenverJ||

    It's not untrue.

  • L.G. Balzac||

    Someone yesterday posted a link of a guy sticking his through the trigger guard and into a belt loop and bump firing. I think he killed some catfish. This accessory truly serves no purpose. Less useful than a selfie stick.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bump fire modifications are apparently an acceptable sacrifice to toss into the progressive volcano to shut it up for a while. Appeasers should use caution. There's no going back once you give ground. The slope doesn't stop being slippery until you hit bottom.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Until someone realizes you could create the automatic fire effect with an electric motor and a rotating cam that fits inside the trigger guard.

    Not me, of course. I wouldn't even propose such a thing.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You can bump-fire with just your finger. Even my first attempt rattled off 3-4 shots, After several magazines, I managed a full one. But it's an incredibly expensive way t not hit anything you aim at.

    I'd guess the bump stock makes for better aiming than just a finger, but only barely.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    Until someone realizes you could create the automatic fire effect with an electric motor and a rotating cam that fits inside the trigger guard.

    That's already considered to be a "machine gun" by the ATF. A hand-operated crank is fine, but by using an electric motor, you move the "trigger" to whatever it is you use to activate the motor, which thus allows more than one shot at a time with a single trigger pull, making it a machine gun.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    And anyone with a modicum of skill could build one.

    What I was trying to say was that technology has pretty much rendered these laws obsolete. If someone wants to do it, nothing is going to stop them.

  • Wasteland Wanderer||

    True. Hell, this guy owned two airplanes. If he hadn't had any guns, he might have just decided to go all 9/11 on the crowd instead. That could very well have been much worse.

  • Alcibiades||

    According to some reports he was trying to take shots at commercial jets fuel tanks. Something's sure riled this guy up.

  • SIV||

    The jet fuel tanks were just behind his targets. It's kerosene. Go shoot a can of kerosene and you'll get bored quick.

  • dchang0||

    I'm surprised he didn't. Take off from Las Vegas airport, drop glass jars of any kind of internationally-banned chemical weapon on the crowd, fly away below radar to a car in the desert for the getaway.

    Imagine chemical weapons WWI or WWII militaries used to use and that can be made out of easy-to-get chemicals. He had the money (to build the proper laboratory) and nerves of steel to do it without accidentally killing himself. And he certainly could have kept it secret from his family and law enforcement.

    We kinda lucked out that he used bump-fire stocks.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    That's like saying we should legalize credit card fraud because technology has failed to prevent people from making copies of yours.

  • Agammamon||

    No its not like that at all.

    Its like saying we shouldn't bother to make illegal something *just because* it can also be used illegally because the making it illegal won't stop the illegal uses of that thing while preventing the legal ones.

    Murder is already illegal. Trying to ban specific means of murder is a waste of time.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Better analogy is banning credit cards because sometimes they are used fraudulently.

  • Agammamon||

    And now that the ATF has made them illegal they'll no longer be available for criminals to use. Just like you can't find illegal narcotics anymore./sarc

  • Cloudbuster||

    If you're intent on massacring a crowd of people at a concert, I don't think a fear of criminal consequences for building a motorized trigger device are at the top of your list of concerns.

  • ThomasD||

    But why bother? A template and drill press will allow you to modify the lower to accept an auto sear. Auto trigger groups are relatively easy to come by. Auto bolt carriers are less common. But if you can't find any then a bench top hobby mill will let you modify the existing ones.

    This stuff is paint by numbers easy if you don't fear the consequences.

  • ThomasD||

    Hell, if this guy had done his homework he could have been using a belt fed .30 cal machine gun. It's the side plate that determines how it fires.

    Had he done that the dead could number ten fo!d.

  • ThomasD||

    If he wanted to go old school he could have commissioned the construction of a drop feed hand crank Gatling gun in .30-30 caliber.

    Just like any other hand cranked firing device, they are not classified as machine guns or destructive devices.

    Tough to sneak upstairs, but not impossible.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Auto bolt carriers are actually common.

    http://www.brownells.com/rifle.....78714.aspx

  • Sevo||

    "Bump fire modifications are apparently an acceptable sacrifice to toss into the progressive volcano to shut it up for a while. Appeasers should use caution. There's no going back once you give ground. The slope doesn't stop being slippery until you hit bottom."

    Yeah, I have no investment in the product, but I do have a LARGE investment in keeping what remains of the Constitution in working order.

  • Robbzilla||

    The place you went wrong was assuming there's any shutting up to be had in regard to progressives. Every victory emboldens them to strive for more.

  • Robbzilla||

    Sorry...read it again, and you were repsponding to someone else.

  • Alcibiades||

    Don't favor any further gun control measures of any description but the NRA stating they are amenable to banning bump stock maybe even via some kind of ATF review perhaps even without any new legislation is being called a smart move by some and as running circles round the anti-gun crowd.

    If so, then great.

  • wingnutx||

    You don't even need a special stock to bump-fire a weapon. You can do it with nearly any semi-auto firearm.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Your thumb and a belt loop will do the same thing albeit from the hip and not the shoulder. Although when Diane Feinstein was making the AW argument concerning pistol grips she said they made guns more deadly because you could shoot them from the hip.

  • AlmightyJB||

    As opposed to using the sights

  • Alcibiades||

    The NRA also needs to get out there and make their case and forcefully, the NRA's Chris Cox did a great job doing that on Tucker Carlson Tonight yesterday.

  • DesparateReasoning||

    You mean the NRA that actively building steam on a ban?

  • SIV||

    They're not. Remember their video game ban cosmos got so bent out of shape about?

  • Alcibiades||

    If you mean a ban on bump stocks they're suggesting there be some kind of review on their legality without coming right out and saying ban them. Politically, there may be no easy choices here and it's a case of "how do we come out of this with the smallest concessions possible".

  • AlmightyJB||

    From a purly legal standpoint they could make the argument that the bump stock is circumventing batf rules concerning full-auto weapons and should therefore be subject to the same $200 tax, background checks, waiting periods, fbi fingerprinting, and other restrictions.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would agree however that it would not have made a difference. This guy could have easily purchased full auto weapons legally and no doubt could have afforded the extremely high price tag. He also could have easily set up his own rig to bump fire.

  • Agammamon||

    Last Saturday the device was an obscure novelty, dismissively regarded in gun circles. The next day it was a prime suspect in the killing of 59 people, and injuring of over 500 more in Las Vegas, Nevada. By midweek, bump stocks were the bullseye of our repetitive shooting match over gun control.

    I've got a question that a (admittedly cursory) search hasn't answered.

    In a lot of these shootings a shooter has multiple weapons, the press and others focus on one specific one as 'exceptionally dangerous, this even shows that it needs to be banned' and all that, and then it turns out the shooter never used that weapon. Like a shooter with an AR-15 in his car - and he ends up using a shotgun to do the deed but the AR-15 is held up as needing to be banned.

    So, was a bumpfire stock *even on* any of the weapons he used? Actually used, not just 'were in the room with him'.

  • Johnimo||

    We know that he used the bump stocks from the audible rapidity of his gunfire. Perhaps, some of the rifles he used had been otherwise modified for fully automatic functioning, but I've not heard or read that to be the case.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Another thing I keep seeing is a focus in how many guns he had, but did he even use most of them?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I'll bump your stock!

  • Mike Laursen||

    I assume a bump stock is also something that can be easily 3D printed.

  • Sevo||

    In looking at images, it seems a guy (or gal!) who was handy with wood-working tools and had a drill press could knock one out from some hardwood scrap.

  • Brendan||

  • AlmightyJB||

    You can bump fire a weapon using your thumb and belt loop.

  • Sevo||

    BTW, now that we've added one more irrelevancy to the "crisis", has anyone yet heard why it took an hour for the cops to leave the station and knock down a door on the 32nd floor?
    Does the LVPD station the cops in St. Louis, MO?

  • AlmightyJB||

    They were waiting for him to run out of ammo.

  • ThomasD||

    Reportedly he had ceased firing within ten minutes of starting. And his last shots were at the security guard and cops out in the hall.

  • ElDuderino||

    They were concerned there were multiple shooters so they had to clear 32 floors of an absolutely massive hotel.

  • Wizard4169||

    I'm usually happy to rag on cops, but they appear to have handled this case correctly. Once the asshole stopped shooting, it became a "barricade" situation instead of "active shooter". The cops thus switched to a slow and cautious approach, checking for possible booby traps or ambushes. If he'd still been shooting, the cops should (and probably would) have gone barreling in full-tilt. Since he wasn't, there was no reason to endanger the cops (and possibly innocent bystanders) with a head-on assault.

  • confusedobjectives||

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The 2nd amendment begins with WELL REGULATED.. and this is about guns, so it means gun control and gun ownership aren't bedfellows. Is that why people are so uptight on here. because they know they are full of BS when opposing gun control?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Piss off, troll.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed' is the primary sentence (and the only complete sentence) in the 2A. Everything else is merely a modifier to that sentence, not indicative of a limitation to it. The Amendment could easily be written as follows with the exact same meaning.

    "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, for a well regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state."

  • Vernon Depner||

    This would be more accurate: "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, for a militia supplied with standard weapons is necessary to the security of a free state". They wanted militiamen to show up to muster with their muskets, not pitchforks and meat cleavers.

  • Longtobefree||

    Regulated = trained. As in you have to be able to buy lots of ammo for your private practice.

  • Vernon Depner||

    That's not what "regulated" meant in those days. It meant uniformly supplied or equipped. This sense of the word survives today in our use of the term "regulars" to refer to soldiers equipped with standard military weapons and ammo. The word did not mean "controlled" or "supervised" like it does today.

  • Juice||

    It's a good idea for a militia to be well regulated. That's one part.

    The right of the people shall not be infringed. That's the other part.

  • Bubba Jones||

    My interpretation is that a state could regulate this item as unnecessary for their militia but that all federal gun regulations are unconstitutional.

    State firearms regulations need to pass muster under the 14th amendment. States have a history of disarming undesirables so they can more easily persecute them.

    I am not offended by a state choosing to ban bump fire stocks.

  • Deep Lurker||

    It's an attempt by the anti-gun forces to set another precedent that, like religious beliefs, "gun control" laws do not have to be "logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others."

    It's like the old assault weapon ban that Charles Krauthammer supported - not because he thought it would do any good, but precisely because it established a precedent that the government could arbitrarily ban an arbitrary class of firearms because FYTW.

  • Longtobefree||

    Like full auto?
    The process is in place, it just needs longer in the USA because of that pesky constitution.

  • Juice||

    Operating out of the tiny town of Moran, Texas

    That town needs to get a brain. Go USA.

  • Johnny B||

    Perhaps you should go there and convince the locals. I'm sure with your articulate reasoning, they will buy into your arguments in no time at all.

  • Juice||

    Get a load of the brain on this moran. Go USA.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Screw the bump stocks. I want an echo trigger.

  • HTuttle||

    Bumpstock? BAH! Easy to convert to 70000 round per minute in your kitchen!

    Only where do I buy a 70000 round magazine?

    (49) FULL AUTO - part of the how to be tacticool series - YouTube
    https://youtu.be/ChdOmIb2_Us

  • Devastator||

    Who cares, it's completely ineffectual. He would have just bought an illegal one or made one of his own or bought a real sub-machine gun; he was a millionaire after all.

  • Quo Usque Tandem||

    That is true; in addition to not having a criminal record [he did not] the only other obstacle to legally owning a full automatic weapon is money. They start around $20,000 because of the limited supply.

  • tlapp||

    Outlawing these mostly useless devices gives politicians the win they want after the shootings. Actual security, defense and safety need not be addressed. In the end we are probably better off with the politicians chasing this nonsense otherwise they would be attacking our natural rights.

  • Longtobefree||

    Because actually writing a law to ban certain actions by individuals is much harder than writing laws against 'things'.
    And maybe things don't have constitutional protections.

    AND we need to point to "accomplishments" next election.
    Not so much effective accomplishments, just accomplishments.

  • ||

    I saw a Youtube video of someone using a belt to as a bump stock. Time to ban belts! Sure, we will have to see more plummer's cracks, but we have to do something!

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