Gun Control

Can the Trump Administration Ban Bump Stocks?

The president may want to act, but he may need Congress to go along.

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President Trump apparently wants to ban "bump stocks." Specifically, he has instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have the Department of Justice interpret existing federal law to include bump stocks in the definition of a "machinegun." It may well be a good idea, but it's not clear the Department has the authority to do what the President wants.

The President first instructed the Justice Department to consider whether bump stocks can be regulated as fully automatic weapons last December. Pressed to take action on gun control, he now wants the Department to finish up and has called for the Department to propose "a rule banning all devices that turn legal weapons into machineguns."

The potential problem for any effort to ban bump stocks through unilateral executive action is existing federal law. 26 USC §5845(b) defines "machinegun" as follows:

any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

At first it may seem that bump stocks can be covered because the definition expresslys include parts that can be used to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully automatic one—but not so fast. The problem is that the language of the statute also specifies that what makes a weapon a machine gun is the ability to fire more than one shot automatically "by a single function of the trigger." This describes how fully automatic weapons work, but it does not describe how bump stocks operate.

While bump stocks facilitate rapid firing, they do so by rapidly and repeatedly engaging the trigger, not by enabling true automatic fire, a point Robert VerBruggen makes at NRO. In other words, a bump stock is not something that enables true automatic fire as defined by the statute. It is for this reason that bump stocks of the sort used by the Las Vegas shooter were not regulated as machineguns by the Obama Administration, which considered the question in 2013.

The Justice Department could try and argue that the relevant statutory text should be read functionally, rather than literally. That is, the government could say that this language should be understood to cover anything that simulates the rapid fire of an automatic weapon, even if it does so by the repeated function of the trigger. Further, the Department could argue that the intent of a bump stock is to "convert" a semi-automatic weapon into a fiarearm with automatic functionality, even if it does not actually "convert" a semi-automatic into one that can "shoot, automatically more than one shot . . . by a single function of the trigger." Finally, the Department could claim that while the trigger is repeatedly engaged with a bump stock, the shooter only acts to engage the trigger once. These arguments are clever, but perhaps too clever, as they take liberties with the relevant statutory text.

If the Justice Department goes forward, and the new interpretation is challenge, these arguments might hold up in federal court, but it's a calculated risk. If the Adminsitration truly wants to see bump stocks treated like those devices that do convert semi-automatics into machine guns, the safer and more direct route is to seek action by Congress.

NEXT: The Two Sides of Collective Bargaining: A Way of Looking at the First Amendment Question in Janus

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  1. the safer and more direct route is to seek action by Congress.

    Well, safer for the opponents of such a ban, anyway, since there is no way Congress will do this any time your GOP controls either House.

    I appreciate the point about the wording of the statute, but what exactly is a “single function of the trigger?” Suppose someone has a gun that has no trigger to pull, but is fired electronically, perhaps using a smartphone and bluetooth. If the relevant app needs to be activated each shot I guess this wouldn’t meet the definition of “machine gun.” But it would be trivial to modify the app to keep shooting, or create software that would activate it repeatedly some number of times. The former could probably be considered a “single function,” but the latter?

    1. Letters from BATFE have specified that electronic triggers are disallowed on firearms capable of semi-automatic operation. If a semi-automatic-capable firearm is equipped with such a trigger, it is considered a machinegun.
      Thus, the wording in the statute is specific to mechanical triggers. Not much wiggle room there. Cranks (a la Gatling gun) are OK, as are bump stocks (for now), but other attempts to introduce novel mechanisms to accelerate semi-automatic rates of fire have been rejected (look up AutoGlove for one example).

    2. In case you don’t know the basics of how a bump stock works, I’ll describe it: it’s a stock with a spring in it that the rest of the firearm can recoil against. You fire the rifle, and the rifle slides backward in the stock. This allows the trigger to return forward, resetting it. Then, the spring pushes the rifle forward again, and your finger again presses the trigger.

      Each time the rifle fires, it’s because your finger presses the trigger.

      I’ve seen people bump fire with no extra parts, just a normal rifle and some practice, and make it through a 30rd magazine in what appeared to be full auto but wasn’t.

      ATF has previously defined the trigger pretty broadly: if you take an electric drill, put a cam on it, and use that to automatically pull and release the trigger, the trigger on the drill is now legally the trigger (and you have a machinegun).

      1. Springs in bump stocks are illegal. They’re entirely unassisted?you have to provide the forward motion to actuate the trigger again by pushing forward on the forward grip.

        1. Right. The Akins Accelerator was essentially a bump stock with a spring in it, and the ATF determined that that was a machine gun several years ago. Current bump stocks use no springs.

      2. I’ve “bump fired” an M4 that way myself. It’s a great way to waste ammunition and burn up a barrel while not being able to hit a damned thing.

    3. The latter would obviously be a machine gun under current law. A hand-cranked Gatling gun is currently not a MG, since it requires that the shooter turn the crank for each shot. An electrically driven Gatling gun where the shooter can simply hold down the button for continuous fire is a MG. Pretty sure the same principle would apply.

      1. Thanks for the replies and explanations.

        I assume any BATFE rule can be overturned by either Congress or the courts.

        The latter would obviously be a machine gun under current law. A hand-cranked Gatling gun is currently not a MG, since it requires that the shooter turn the crank for each shot. An electrically driven Gatling gun where the shooter can simply hold down the button for continuous fire is a MG. Pretty sure the same principle would apply.

        What if you didn’t need to hold down anything? Press once, fire thirty times. These are silly distinctions, of course. The idea is to prevent rapid fire, not to ban some specific mechanism.

        1. But gun laws almost always hinge on silly distinctions, as they are generally written by people who know virtually nothing about guns, and have utter contempt for anybody who does.

          And what are you proposing? That every gun in the country be banned, and replaced by guns that can’t be manually fired faster than some fairly slow rate?

          1. Brett,

            I am not proposing anything here. Just asking questions. You say gun laws are written by people who know little about guns. Then why get upset when those of us who don’t know much try to learn something?

            I do think there is merit in banning devices such as, apparently, bump stocks, that enable very rapid fire. The point you make below about being able to do something similar manually with practice is fine, but the fact that it requires practice is itself a deterrent.

            1. As somebody who actually cares about the right in question, I would be concerned with the slippery slope; Bump stocks don’t actually allow you to fire any faster than you can manually. Ban them, and the obvious next step is to ban guns that can be fired rapidly manually. which is all of them except single shot guns.

              I don’t like pointless laws that have the potential to lead to truly offensive laws.

              Bump stocks have no particular value, they’re not even the best way to make a gun simulate full auto fire. But as banning them actually accomplishes nothing while setting a bad precedent, I oppose it.

              1. I don’t think there’s a slippery slope potential here. Let’s be honest, banning bump stocks is simply a sacrificial lamb served up to gun control proponents to make them think that something is being done. Most gun owners don’t care at all about bump stocks, so there’s really no potential blow back by gun owners to this ban.

                The REAL issue on the gun rights side, is that the progressive play book on gun control is well known (yes, there is an actual playbook that you can find on the internet somewhere). The plan is to systematically chip away little by little until they achieve a full ban. That’s why any victory, no matter how small or insignificant is still a victory. And most of all, they want to condition the general public to believe that notorious act of gun violence should be followed by a legislative change to further restrict guns. That’s why, it doesn’t even matter if the legislative change is worthless and doesn’t solve the problem. The next time there is a mass shooting, the public will be conditioned to believe that the proper response is to enact additional legislation to further restrict gun rights.

            2. > I do think there is merit in banning devices such as, apparently,
              > bump stocks, that enable very rapid fire.

              You can bump fire, easily, with nothing more than a belt loop.

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

              Will we require gun owners to wear and purchase loop-less pants? What about shooters who have enough practice and skill to bumpfire with a bare finger? Do they need to register their trigger finger as an NFA device with the ATFE?

              1. More importantly, are we going to ban rubber bands over a certain length and tensile strength

        2. That would be thirty shots for one action of the trigger, and therefore legally a machinegun.

          In some cases, ATF has removed components of guns and seen whether they’ll run away like that, and if they will, declared them to be machineguns.

        3. Laws are not “ideas”, though.

          They are specific language with specific definitions and wordings (or are void for being overly vague).

          Your “silly distinction” is our “necessary to make the law clear about what it does and does not cover, so that one can know whether a given armament is an NFA machinegun or not”.

          Congress could write a new law to amend the NFA to define “machinegun” as “something that fires really fast”, sure.

          (Of course, there are problems there, in that people who practice and pull a normal trigger really fast – is any gun a machinegun if they hold it? Is their hand a machinegun? Is this all a pointless waste of our time?)

        4. See Sputter Gun: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sputter_Gun
          1982 Someone came up with the idea of building a Sten gun with no trigger mechanism at all.
          You cocked the bolt and moved the handle into the safety notch, inserted the magazine, and pushed the handle out of the safety notch and the gun emptied the magazine.
          No trigger, said the builder, therefore not a machinegun.
          ATF ruled pushing the bolt handle out of the safety notch was triggering fire, therefore yes a machinegun.
          The Sputter Gun was advertised by York Arms as a work-around of the NFA definition. Among machinegun experts, runaway slamfire with no trigger control is a design defect. There were no sales from 1982 til it was banned 1985.

    4. “Well, safer for the opponents of such a ban, anyway, since there is no way Congress will do this any time your GOP controls either House.”

      A bump stock ban would easily pass, even the NRA supports it.

      After Las Vegas, your side declined to support a clean bump stock ban, they wanted other unacceptable things included in the legislation.

      1. The NRA does not support such a ban. They called on ATF to regulate the stocks, most likely as a sort of strategic fallback intended precisely to keep the issue out of Congress.

        1. They support a ban but really do not because you know their secret thoughts. ok.

          Still does not change the fact that a clean ban bill was not offered, just one with several poison pills.

          1. Personally, life member since the 90’s, and I don’t need to read minds to agree with that, it’s the NRA’s usual approach to these things.

            And, of course a ‘clean’ bill wasn’t offered, the anti-gunners know as well as anybody that banning bump stocks is pointless, they wanted to leverage a momentary panic into a real gain, not a meaningless one.

          2. I didn’t read their mind.

            I read the statement on their web site. They called for “regulation,” and offered no support for legislation.

            1. The problem with all of the legislation is that it is never clean, i.e., it does not simply address the problem under consideration but casts a broad net to cover issues not even within the scope of the real issue. This is almost reflexive given the way Congress works. If anyone really wants to test the NRA, propose a clean bill and see what happens.

              1. An unconstitutional gun control measure?

                It will be shot down like all gun control should.

      2. After Las Vegas, your side declined to support a clean bump stock ban, they wanted other unacceptable things included in the legislation.

        Yes, this is called compromise. You want something banned that we don’t? Then we need something that you don’t want.

        1. “Yes, this is called compromise.”

          What?

          GOPers indicated a clean bump ban would be ok. Dems, instead of doing that, introduced other things.

          1. In fairness, bump stocks were, like, one huge horrible gun massacre ago.

            1. … and only used in the one, and arguably to no particular effect in it.

              Gotta Ban Them Because Reasons.

              1. From what I heard in the Las Vegas aftermath the guns equipped with bump stocks did not fire particularly effectively and did not add to the body count.

              2. Here’s a reason: They serve no purpose except to fire bullets more quickly. There is no redeeming value to a bump stock, including for self-defense.

            2. Gotta pretend you’re doing something so gun-nerds can get a good sneer in until the next school massacre.

            3. It is like banning the model of truck used in the Nice France terrorist massacre.
              And making criminals of all persons legally owning the same model before the ban.

              1. No, Naaman, if the van had scythes ? as in the sharp blades on the wheels of some chariots back in the day ? on its wheels, banning bump stocks would be like banning those. Your example would require banning the weapon type itself, not the add-on.

              2. It’s exactly like that except in the way it’s exactly nothing like that.

          2. Sorry misread your email.

            SOME GOPers indicated they wanted a clean bill. Not all.

            1. Email? Jeez. Meant post. I’m batting 1000 today.

          3. Because as we all know it is only the minority party in Congress that is allowed to submit bills for consideration. The Republicans simply aren’t allowed to write their own bill banning bump stocks.

            Thats how this works right?

            1. No, the problem is that within the GOP congressional contingent there was only minority support for a bump stock ban. There weren’t enough GOP votes to pass a ban without Dem support.

              But the Democrats wouldn’t support a bill to only ban bump stocks and nothing else, so it couldn’t pass and there was no point in the GOP members introducing it and potentially facing political fallout from their base over it.

              1. That is certainly an interesting argument, but not what I was talking about. Bob indicated that Democrats refused to submit a clean bump stock ban and so Republicans couldn’t vote on one. Completely missing the fact that Republicans actually do have the ability to submit their own clean ban.

                1. Yeah, if they wanted one. But it’s mostly Democrats who want such a ban. They could likely even have had it, if they’d settled for just that.

                  But they got greedy, and got nothing at all.

                  1. So, claims aside, the Republicans don’t want one.

                    1. Republicans don’t want a gun control bill because gun control is unconstitutional.

                      it also detracts them from rolling back government.

                    2. How dumb must one be to figure Republicans — micromanagers of abortion facilities, ardent drug warriors, advocates of white nationalism and severe immigration restrictions, defenders of torture and government secrecy and surveillance, enthusiastic gay-bashers and vote suppressors — want to limit government?

                      The comments at this site illuminate precisely how dumb.

                    3. There is no need for one. How many crimes can bump stocks be tied to, maybe 1? Yes, lets ban a stock and sit back and watch, well, nothing.

                  2. Progressive Dems are just like Palestinian Arabs, who reject any deal because they are greedy and think they will get more.

                2. “Completely missing the fact that Republicans actually do have the ability to submit their own clean ban.”

                  Sure, but they have a lot of incentives not to stick their necks out and do so, even if they would vote for one if it came up.

    5. Bernard,

      For an AR to be converted from a semiautomatic to an automatic takes one small part however that part cannot be sold to civilians except those that have gone through all the checks and expense to receive permission from the US gov’t to own automatic firearms.

      BTW: I can fire faster using my finger than a bump stock. I’ve also fired automatic firearms. There is a difference not to mention that even the military teaches that select fire (semiauto mode) is more effective and efficient than full auto. It takes a lot of practice and skill to control full auto firing as the barrel moves, often dramatically, even with the .556 or 223 round. One can easily see this movement (usually up and slightly to the side) when one is firing a handgun. While a rifle or shotgun are not as dramatic with smaller rounds, it increase with the more powerful rounds. AR type firearms have buffer springs in the butt end to lessen the recoil.

  2. The basic problem here, beyond the statutory issue, (Which ought to preclude any such regulation, but the courts are always a crap shoot.) is that bump stocks merely make it easier to do something you can do by pure technique, simply holding your gun loosely in the right way.

    You might as well outlaw pulling the trigger really fast. Which I suppose would be the next move after outlawing bump stocks.

    I’m hoping that Trump has merely directed that this be looked into, in order to run out the clock while people get their minds back. But I’m not at all confident of the matter.

    The real constitutional issue here is that the original ban on machine guns was constitutionally illegitimate, because the 2nd amendment is, per Miller and Tench Coxe, a guarantee of the right to own military weapons. But I have even less hope of the Court ruling that way, probably only Thomas is on board for that.

    1. When Justice Thomas is the sole Justice who buys your argument, that’s when you most know that you have identified the one true way.

      (After Justice Thomas departs, being on the wrong end of a shutout will be the conservative true believer’s strongest sign.)

      1. Dred Scot was a 7-2 decision. Sometimes the truth is a minority position, it doesn’t by virtue of that cease to be the truth.

        I don’t always agree with Thomas, but he is by far the most principled Justice, and even where I disagree with him, I don’t think he’s being unreasonable.

        1. Justice Scalia got all the attention but Justice Thomas is the true MVP.

          1. He just has to be careful not to take vacations on any Texas dude ranches.

      2. if you look into US v Miller, the case that decided that NFA was constitutional, they said that 2A only protects military weapons (and then decided short barrel shotguns weren’t, because Miller’s lawyers didn’t show up to argue otherwise)

        1. They didn’t even decide that sawn off shotguns weren’t. They just sent it back to the lower court to determine that factual question and rule accordingly.

          Mind, they did it knowing it wasn’t going to happen. Miller was after “the switch in time that saved 9”, there wasn’t any way the government was going to lose. Miller being dead actually saved us from a worse ruling, because the government WAS going to win that case, no matter what it took.

          1. Actually, I think that the procedural/factual situation with Miller may turn out to have been beneficial. Short barreled shotguns had been in military use in WW I, less than a generation earlier, as a trench clearing device. So what would have happened if the Miller side had been able to show that? The case involved the NFA, which had been enacted to get machine guns out of the hands of gangsters (and several of the most popular, notably the Thompson and BAR, were weapons then in the US military arsenal, where they remained at least into the 1970s). The legislation was popular, given the bloody accounts of their use by famous gangsters of the era, and with the Supreme Court at the time (after the Switch that Saved Nine), the law was going to be upheld, the question being using what logic. The ultimate result was that Heller may have been an easier decision, since the Supreme Court never really had to get to whether the 2nd Amdt guaranteed an individual right in Miller

            1. That’s my own position: Miller not being represented allowed the NFA to be upheld with the least possible damaging precedent being established.

              Except, that the Supreme court DID get around to whether the 2nd amendment guaranteed an individual right in Miller, because without an individual right, Miller’s challenge to the law would have been struck down for lack of standing.

              The only reason it hinged on the military utility of a sawn off shotgun was that the Court accepted, as had been ruled in the lower court, that it was an individual right.

    2. The National Firearms Act was written as a tax law to avoid (or blunt) constitutional challenge. What I wonder is can the Congress impose a tax on something which an individual merely possesses? The NFA tax is collected when an NFA weapon changes hands. What would have been the outcome had someone possessing such weapon before the effective date of the NFA had challenged it on that basis? Does the Congress have the power to impose a property tax?

      1. We’re in the age of the penaltax. Congress can tax anything.

  3. If they were banned it wouldn’t bother me. And I say this as a person who thinks the NFA registry is BS. You’re taking a fairly accurate rifle, the AR15, and making it more inaccurate and essentially only useful as a range toy. Or to open fire on a densely packed crowd of unaware victims. Now you could say the same thing about an M16 except that it is inherently accurate in its functioning.

    After all, we’re supposed to be a nation of citizen rifleman. Ready at any time to repel enemies, foreign and domestic. All other uses for firearms have to take a back seat to that. So if mag dumps with a bumpstock at the range are the sole positive activity with that particular piece of technology, how do we justify defending them?

    1. I’ll agree on that. Bump stocks are a stupid gimmick for people who have too much money to spend on ammo.

      I own a Calico carbine, and bought a Hellfire trigger go to with it because just the gun wasn’t enough of an upraised finger to my Congressman, David “comrade” Bonior. Used the trigger only once, and then put it away, because, who’s got that kind of money? Not me.

      Was cool as heck firing it that one time, with Vector ‘illuminated ammo’, though. Like firing a ray gun.

      Even the military has moved away from full auto fire, out of the recognition that its mostly a waste of ammo.

      1. Was cool as heck firing it that one time, with Vector ‘illuminated ammo’, though. Like firing a ray gun.

        I remember when I saw the world through that lens. I was about nine year old.

        1. A nine year old wouldn’t have put it away, instead of buying more of the Vector ammo. Even adults need an occasional stupid thrill.

        2. Too bad you lost your sense of fun.

          1. I no longer devote much time to Lincoln Logs, plastic army men, Strat-O-Matic baseball, or The Visible Man, but I do not sense that this greatly reduces the fun component of an adult’s life.

            1. That doesn’t, but no longer finding the above fun does.

            2. reminds of a conversation I had with my wife 2 days ago:

              HER: I can’t imagine why anyone would need a semi automatic rifle.
              ME: Agree. Can’t see why.
              HER: We should ban them
              ME: No.
              HER: Huh ? why would you need one?
              ME: I don’t know , but many people pay good money for them , and they obviously don’t use them to kill innocent people. Maybe they have a reason?
              HER: We should still ban them.
              ME: ( goes about my other business)

              1. Truly sad although you were probably smart to go about your business. 😉

                Funny thing is that semiautomatic firearms have been around for civilian use since ~1905.

            3. Using your electronic computer toy to troll internet comment sections is so much more “mature”, isn’t it?

      2. Full auto fire except for military machine guns and auto canons?

        1. They retained the capacity, but discourage its use except for specialized circumstances. Burst mode is preferred, because aimed fire is just a lot more effective.

          1. Machine guns are still integral tactics for squad warfare.

            Suppression fire is a valid use of unaimed auto fire. Of course aimed fire tends to kill more effectively but discounting full auto is a mistake.

        2. I believe he means for shoulder fired rifles. Actual machine guns (not just the ATF’s definition) can be reasonably controlled in full auto, automatic rifles good luck hitting anything after shot 2.

          1. That’s why actual assault rifles now have burst mode, so a single trigger pull can fire two or three shots, and then cut off before you climb off the target.

  4. First they came for the bump stock……

    If you don’t understand the stupidity and danger of eroding constitutional protections, there’s little to discuss.

    1. It’s not like the grabbers even pretend this is more than merely a “first step”. But when a bump stock ban utterly fails to reduce violence, they’ll still use the ban as precedent for further controls.

      1. I think part, only part, of your confusion is that people calling for a ban on bump stocks did so two or three mass shootings ago, and that nobody thought it would end or reduce violence. To most, bump stocks just seem like a bad and unnecessary device that eventually, and probably quite predictably, made a nasty national tragedy more nasty and more tragic.

        To my eyes, Trump has stumbled onto this idea because he’s been taking a ton of flack for providing little to no leadership in the wake of the current nasty national tragedy, and because it’s a fairly non controversial position to hold that will possibly enjoy the NRA’s grudging acceptance.

        And I wouldn’t get too worked up about any slippery slopes here. Any effort to ban bump stocks will likely begin and end with an effort to ban bump stocks (though there is also talk of shoring up background checks, an effort of which I am hopeful for, but am not particularly optimistic about).

        1. Background checks are fine, but useless if not followed up on which is an aspect of each of the last two shooting sprees. The problem is not that safeguards are not in place, but enforcement of those safeguards is lacking, to say the least. And since the way the feds want to expand the safeguards is to extend them to mental health cases I am very much opposed to it. The last thing any of us need is for the federal government to use mental health as an excuse for statist intrusion into our lives any more than it tries to do already.

          What I want to hear from the gun grabbers is not the emotional and vacuous call to “do something”, but a calmly reasoned presentation of a law and a rational exposition of why it would be a benefit in the situation. Haven’t heard it yet.

          1. The term “gun grabbers” suggests a shortfall in you own “calmly reasoned presentation,” and “rational exposition.” If you actually want to engage, make some effort, and stop posing to enhance your tribal cred.

            1. Well gun grabbers is much better than ignorant idiots!

            2. How about “confiscationists”? Don’t try to deny that there are at least a few of those, some admitted, and some not.

            3. The number of gun owners who support a range of regulation belie this stereotype and yes it is hard to take seriously. True believers in various movements use similar language, of course.

  5. Since all gun control is unconstitutional, any BATF rule or Congressional law banning bump stocks would infringe on the protected right to keep and bear arms (armaments). No background checks. No bans on weapons or anything.

    Trump is just trolling gun grabbers anyway.

    Even the prohibitionists knew that you needed a constitutional amendment to ban alcohol. That there is zero authority in the US Constitution to ban products or substances. Congress can regulate products, business, and substances that result in interstate or foreign commerce but it needs to be in keeping with this:
    We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    1. Trump is just trolling gun grabbers anyway.

      Trump only does Good Things. Anything that looks bad is just trolling.

      1. Perhaps you should actually read the POTUS memo on what Trump asked the DOJ to do.

        It certainly does look like an empty political ploy/troll. We’ll see how it evolves.

        epic trolling would be for Trump/DOJ to push an interpretation of law to ban bump stocks that then gets over ruled by the courts. Having proggy gun grabbers complaining about activist judges, while Trump goofily shrugs for the cameras would be quite funny.

        1. Empty political ploy != troll. Unless you’re using some sorta newspeak.

          Your Trump fan fiction is weird.

          1. Your delusion is sad. Not a Trump fanboy, and in no way was promoting his ‘genius’.

            Just making a simple assessment of obvious evidence and history. He has shown a solid skill at trolling the media and using their typical over-response as a lever to shift the center-point of the discussion. The Dems have done this for years, trolling the right in the exact same way. Trump isn’t uniquely skilled at it….he’s just the first Repub that has used the same ploys in many years.

            and yes, the memo doesn’t commit to anything other than following the law and reassessing what can be done. It’s empty on many levels giving the appearance of nothing more than a political ploy. Prior actions suggest Trump will use it as a troll in some way. I look forward to the comedic reactions.

            1. Just noting that your assessment makes Trump unfalsifiably correct in all he does.

          2. Castro, you Trump hatred is weird.

            Pointing out what Trump does well does not equate to loving Trump.

            Trump does plenty of bad things. The media could focus on those things but instead mainly go after Trump for things that are good for America but the lefties don’t like.

            1. I don’t care for Trump. I don’t see how that has anything to do with pointing out the ridiculousness of ‘Trump looks to be doing something I disagree with – must be trolling.’

              In other words, nothing like what your comment addresses.

              1. Your premise is that people saying that Trump did something good makes someone a fan of Trump. Your premise is incorrect.

                1. Where did I say anything that might give you that impression, lovecon?

                  Or do you not know what fan fiction is?

    2. Since all gun control is unconstitutional … assumes facts not in evidence.

      No, “shall not be infringed” is not an argument, because we have not decided what infringement is.

      “Prohibiting prisoners from having guns” is a restriction on “the people” [as prisoners are still The People] “bearing arms”, yes? It is at least in principle “gun control”, since it is a restriction on gun ownership or possession.

      That has, however, literally never [to my knowledge, at least, and never successfully or widely even by the most-extreme libertarians] been considered infringement of the right to bear arms, from when the ink wasn’t yet dry on the ratification of the Bill of Rights until right now.

      I am sympathetic to the idea that all modern, meaningful propositions for “gun control” schemes are unconstitutional, but that’s not what those words claim.

      Indeed, it’s not remotely clear that original public meaning of the 2A would prohibit a “no felons” background check as an “infringement”, assuming said check was, like the modern NICS system, no practical bar to people being armed.

      You’ll have to try a lot harder on your analysis.

      1. “We have not decided what infringement is” — how very Clintonesque of you. I know, let’s go back and find the common meaning of the term when the Constitution was written. That would work. Or you could simply reference the Cambridge English Dictionary: “If something infringes on/upon someone’s rights or freedom, it takes away some of their rights or limits their freedom.”

      2. in?fringe?ment
        noun
        1.
        the action of breaking the terms of a law, agreement, etc.; violation.
        “copyright infringement”
        2.
        the action of limiting or undermining something.
        “the infringement of the right to privacy”

        We know what infringement means. The 2nd Amendment prohibits government from trying in any way to stop Americans from having any armament they want.

        its really simple actually. Only people who want to violate the Constitution find Constitution language difficult or confusing.

        You’ll have to try a lot harder on your analysis.

      3. Prohibiting prisoners aka felons from having firearms meets the Constitutional requirement because they received Due Process unlike gun bans.

    3. I’d say literally nobody thinks this is a good faith effort on his part, but whether he is LOLing at victims of a gun massacre, which would have your approval, or this is a predictable result of his tender ego being stung by the negativity of the coverage, is another question. He doesn’t quite have the fortitude to stand up for this expensive hobby in the face of the publicity associated with lots of dead children that the NRA and its supporters have, at least for this news cycle. I’d give it a week before he’s retweeting conspiracy theories about the young survivor/activists.

      1. Just what a gun grabber would say.

        I feel for the kids killed and their families. It was a real shame.

        I also blame gun grabbers for not allowing any adult at or near that school to have a gun to stop that shooter.

        Furthermore, I would never trade the right to keep and bear arms even if every kid in America died. The socialists would then kill every adult that not a socialist.

        1. ‘Furthermore, I would never trade the right to keep and bear arms even if every kid in America died’

          Yeah. You’re making that abundantly clear.

      2. What is it with the Progressive whining about the NRA? Are they still pissed that the NRA taught blacks about their 2A Rights and trained them so they could protect themselves against the Progressive Democrat KKK and Jim Crow laws?

        1. And the NRA being so strong on the issue of Black Lives Matter.

          1. BLM? You mean that Progressive agitprop group that started based on the “Hand Up, Don’t Shoot” lie that not even AG Holder could support?

            It is truly sad that you can’t see the basic facts that NRA supports the Constitutional 2A Rights of all people nor the fact that it was Progressive Democrats that started the KKK, Jim Crow laws, denied MLK his 2A Rights, and continue today trying to ban blacks and minorities from having firearms for self defense. Note that every city where there are BLM issues also happen to be controlled by Progressive Democrats for decades; making and enforcing the laws that are so hated by POC.

            1. The NRA hates black people, it seems, except the ones safely in the rosy nostalgic past when Republicans actually supported civil rights that didn’t require regular infusions of the blood of children to maintain.

      3. Less than a week for his son, who jumped right on it.

  6. “…the relevant statutory text should be read functionally, rather than literally.”

    Congress could literally change the statute to say what the gun control people want rather than these stupid end arounds. “Living Constitution” is going to change to “living statutes” and the nation will slowly collapse toward tyranny as the rule of law is replaced by what people “feel” should be the law.

  7. Is a Gatling gun (and it’s modern electrically driven descendants) a machine gun? There are multiple trigger mechanisms each of which is fired in sequence. The original gun had a hand crank which needed to be continuously turned, not a “a single function of the trigger”. I think the argument may have a better chance of success than Professor Adler gives it credit for.

    In any event why not give it a try and see if the courts buy it. This seems a case that the Supremes would be sure take up and meet Justice Thomas’ demand to further develop their Second amendment jurisprudence.

    1. Manually operated Gatling guns aren’t machineguns.

    2. The Gatling gun crank can be turned slow enough to fire one shot at a time. It is not a machine gun. Crank-operated .22LR Gatling guns (built around two Ruger 10/22 receivers) are commercially available today. Their descendant miniguns (and similar) are, however, considered machineguns, full stop, since they generally can’t fire less than six rounds at a time:
      https://www.atf.gov/file/83561/download

      1. But there’s nothing stopping you from owning a Gatling gun AND a cordless drill.

        1. Similarly, there’s nothing stopping me from owning a shotgun and a hacksaw. Using it the wrong way is illegal, but you can’t ban everything that can possibly be misused.

        2. Generally not, but if you’re up to no good, then I believe you could still be prosecuted for what’s referred to as “constructive possession,” and I suppose it wouldn’t be hard to prove if the drill was found next to the gun and appeared to be modified for the purpose in some way. It would be even easier to prove if you post a fun YouTube video. I don’t know how often citizens, who are otherwise law-abiding, get prosecuted for NFA violations, but I would wager that when they do, it usually involves some really stupid broadcasting of their crimes.

          1. For machineguns, constructive possession is explicitly written into the law:

            (b) Machinegun
            The term “machinegun” means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

            as well as silencers and destructive devices, but not short barreled shotguns, short barreled rifles, or “any other weapon”s.

            and yes, if you get caught with a drill with a cam and a way of attaching it to a firearm so the cam would pull the trigger, or a drill and a way of attaching it to your Gatling crank, you could absolutely be prosecuted for possession of a machinegun.

            1. Yup, that’s why your Gatling gun just has the crank secured with a standard hex bolt, and you have a standard hex socket for a power screwdriver in your tool box.

              And absolutely nothing special purpose that would convict you.

        3. True.

          And if you combine them to make a machinegun, you’re looking at a felony conviction for unregistered possession.

          1. The National Firearms Act and the subsequent gun control laws are unconstitutional so people are not looking at any conviction.

            You cannot have a valid law based on a violation of a constitutionally protected right.

  8. Silly political theater. Summer before last I watched a friend bump fire his AR in a gravel pit using his belt loop. It’s a gimmick, and the ban would be a gimmick.

    The fact is, the Vegas shooter would have been more deadly if he had taken his time and taken aim rather than wildly bump firing thousands of rounds. Which raises the question – why did he choose to do that? Seems plainly intended to maximize theatrics over lethality. Will we ever learn anything about motive or anything from the FBI’s investigation?

    1. Not sure that’s really true, he was after all firing into a packed crowd from a distance.

      1. Not sure that’s really true, he was after all firing into a packed crowd from a distance

        It could be. If the gun was less than controllable, he could have been putting rounds over the crowd’s head. Where as without a bump stock, all rounds could have landed in the crowds.

        1. Firing down into a crowd with a .223 seems like that’s not going to be a huge issue.

          (Admittedly, someone with a bench-rest and a Lee-Enfield could fire about 200-300 rounds in the same amount of time he fired 1,100, aimed, per the known rate of fire of the SMLE.

          If it was me, I’d certainly rather have someone rando-firing .223 at me than aiming .303 at me.)

          1. I’m guessing you might reconsider if you knew the range would be 500 yards, and the shooter would be Adam Lanza.

        2. Arguable I guess. Bump firing seems incredibly chaotic and inaccurate. Without delving into the numbers, his huge target wasn’t so huge at such a great range, I’m guessing bullets were landing well outside the crowd with the constant recoil. But there were more bullets of course.

    2. ML, you’re criticizing a mass murder for his poor tactics?!?

      1. Critiquing, not criticizing. You can be glad that somebody doing something bad was doing it stupidly, and still notice they were doing it stupidly.

      2. No – analyzing the actual effects of this firearm accessory.

  9. Legislation by reinterpretation, just as the founding fathers envisioned.

    1. The Founders were smart guys, but they would not envision being used as blind talismans of civic virtue.

      1. They did predict people like you trying to undermine the foundation of the USA.

        In that event, they advocated patriots watering the Tree of Liberty.

        1. Thanks for the threat against someone you disagree with; it underscores your impotence.

      2. Actually the Founders were smart guys that provided a method to change the Constitution via Amendment Process not legislation.

  10. To answer the question, yes, he can, and probably will.
    Is it constitutional? No.
    Will the supremes uphold it if it ever gets there? Who knows?
    The proper method for gun control is to change the constitution. Period.

    1. Correct.

  11. Which means that the Democrats will go decimate the 2nd amendment next year, and Trump will run in front of them.

    1. Not very likely. Dole tried that, McCain, too. Remember their administrations?

      Democrats can get elected with the NRA hostile to them, if a lousy Republican runs, but Republicans who alienate the NRA are pretty much DOA. You’re pissing of too much of your base if you do that.

      Trump isn’t doing anything here that the NRA isn’t ok with. He’s running out the clock by suggesting that they’ll “look at” doing something meaningless.

    2. I thought they decimated that between 1992-1996? Or was it 1996-2000? No, wait, it was the black guy. 2008-2016.

      Sheesh, no wonder they can’t win elections. Dems keep forgetting to decimate the second amendment!

      1. Obama certainly, who didn’t believe in private firearms ownership, and likely Clinton would have gotten rid of the 2nd Amendment, if they could. When President Clinton was asked at the conclusion of his two terms why his administration didn’t pass more gun control, and he said in that same interview that it was due to lack of support from Congress. In his autobiography, he partially attributes the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress to the gun control he championed and signed into law:

        “On November 8th, we got the living daylights beat out of us, losing eight Senate races and fifty-four House seats, the largest defeat for our party since 1946?the NRA had a great night. They beat both Speaker Tom Foley and Jack Brooks, two of the ablest members of Congress who had warned me this would happen. Foley was the first Speaker to be defeated in more than a century. Jack Brooks had supported the NRA for years and had led the fight against the assault weapons ban in the House, but as chairman of the Judiciary Committee he had voted for the overall crime bill even after the ban was put into it. The NRA was an unforgiving master: one strike and you’re out. The gun lobby claimed to have defeated nineteen of the twenty-four members on its hit list. They did at least that much?(629-630)”

  12. I’m happy for Congress to ban bump stocks, but I worry about the scope of language that may be used. Many modifications to guns affect trigger pull, and different models have different trigger pulls. In creative hands, I can see a bump-stock ban morphing into a statutory requirement that all firearms have heavy and long trigger pulls.

    1. Congress can’t avoid this, even if acting in “good faith” (yeah, right) because most members of Congress know absolutely nothing about guns any more than they knew anything about the real issues involve in medical care when they passed ACA.

  13. As Junkie points out above, redefining the bump stock itself as the trigger is consistent with some BATFE precedents and the least objectionable approach.

    No matter what Congress does, we will still be at the mercy of BATFE interpretation. There is no way to define a bump stock broadly which does not suck in a whole host of other things like competition trigger springs (which can be as light as 1lb) and a whole host of other devices. So, the BATFE will still have to interpret the new rules.

    I really don’t want Congress getting involved, they are simply going to make a mess of it, and in the end we will be at the mercy of BATFE and no better off.

    I’d like to see SBRs and supressors come off the NFA list. But in the current climate, I am not willing to risk Congressional action to get it.

  14. There’s a guy named Jerry Miculek out there who can fire a double action six shot revolver much faster than the Browning .50 cal machine gun cycled and equal to the firing rate of the .45 Thompson tommy gun that gangsters loved. And he does it reloading every sixth shot!

    How does BATFE slow him down? Were he a pianist, he would finish finger-breaking Tchaikovski selections in half the time of other concert ivory-ticklers.

    1. Oh, and Miculek isn’t hosing down the whole world with lead. The bullets group in small circles on target.

    2. Are you just giving props to Jerry Miculek, or are you making some point relative to the discussion?

      1. I’d say the latter: Why are bump stocks objectionable? Because they let you fire fast?

        You can fire fast without them, just takes a little practice. So, what happens when you ban bump stocks, and it’s suddenly discovered that people can just, like pull the trigger fast?

        1. “A little practice”? You think Jerry Micunek gained that ability with a little practice? Or that the average individual could? And we are supposed to base our gun laws on the example of one man who can shoot really really quickly?

          Well, I know some guys that can drive their vehicles over 200 mph for hours on end. Maybe we need to rework some of these onerous speed limits, too?

          1. Jerry Micunek is an exceptional case, but anybody who doesn’t suffer from a neuromuscular disease can learn to repeatedly pull a trigger fast, and likely end up as accurate as using a bump stock.

            1. You know, I bet that at least some of these mass murderers are unwilling or even psychologically unable to practice to the degree needed. Further, practicing is likely to attract notice.

              So while the bump stock may not be required for rapid fire (why the big objection to the ban, if they are useless, by the way?) they almost surely do enable some of the lunatics who could not, in fact, do it any other way.

            2. I can pull the trigger fairly fast and it is much more accurate than a bump stock or full auto.

        2. So they do, in fact, make it easier to fire fast.

          1. The bump stock makes it easier to fire fast, but it is generally ineffective fast fire when it comes to hitting specific targets. It is better suited to covering fire. If in fact it improved the effective kill rate the body count at Vegas would have been far higher.

            1. So focusing on bump stocks is an act of political cowardice and chicanery to waste political energy without addressing the problem. No surprise.

              1. Of course it is. Did you expect something else from Progressive Democrats?

                1. At least Republicans don’t even pretend to give a shit about school massacres, I suppose.

        3. As Ian Malcom once said, “You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you wanna sell it.”

  15. The federal government does not have general police powers.

    There does not seem to be an enumerated power that would give the feds the power to ban bump stocks in toto.

    1. And that argument, while certainly true, is now DOA at the Supreme court.

      It’s heck being right about a Constitution the nation’s highest court doesn’t feel like following, isn’t it?

      1. What would be the Supreme Court’s rationale for upholding an in toto bump stock ban in the absence of enumerated powers (as opposed to such bans in the federal maritime jurisdiction or in the District of Columbia, which would be within the enumerated powers)?

        1. Probably some random verbiage about not second guessing Congress in their consideration of the potential of bump stocks to in aggregate with other things to have some influence on interstate commerce.

          Assuming they took the case at all, which at present they wouldn’t.

    2. “There does not seem to be an enumerated power that would give the feds the power to ban bump stocks in toto.”

      Observe the power of a fully operational Commerce Clause.

      1. It only regulates interstate commerce.

        The mere possession of a bump stock does not constitute commerced, much less the interstate kind.

        1. Agreed. Don’t matter, the courts will allow it.

          1. So then courts are intellectually dishonest.

        2. Bob was engaging in sarcasm. Alluding to a line by Emperor Palpatine in Return of the Jedi.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7-tskP0OzI

          1. Correct allusion but not sarcasm.

            The claimed basis for all federal gun legislation is the Commerce Clause.

            1. Even the mere possession of a banned firearm (as oppose to sale or purchase across state lines)?

              1. Yes. The firearm, or some component that went into making it, crossed state lines at one point or another. And the use of firearms affects interstate commerce.

                1. This sounds like ForWantOfANail logic.

            2. So is the law that lets retired cops carry concealed regardless of jurisdiction, and so is the proposed CCW reciprocity law. The sword cuts both ways on this one.

        3. And the 1994 “Ban” on assault weapons didn’t attempt to ban possession of anything.

          Merely stopping them being sold out of the state they’re made in would count as a win for a gun-controller, especially a propaganda win.

          1. At least then, Congress knew its limitations.

        4. According to several sc rulings it does. The bump stock you posses reduces the chance of you buying one in interstate commerce, thereby affecting interstate commerce.

        5. However the Commerce Clause has been used to regulate intrastate commerce and personal usage by claiming that it could affect interstate commerce.

      2. Think you could convincingly argue that mere possession of any item is an “activity”. and/or that it, mere possession, (in the aggregate)has a substantial effect on interstate commerce? Not manufacture, sale or actual use, but mere possession?

    3. The right to regulate interstate commerce? That would get most of them, wouldn’t it?

      1. Every state would build its own guns.

        That would completely eliminates Congress’ enumerated power to regulate interstate commerce only not intrastate commerce.

        Luckily, we have the 2nd Amendment which prohibits Congress and thru the 14th Amendment states from infringing on the People’s right to keep and bear arms.

        1. A bump stock is not a gun.

          And why do you think every state would have someone manufacturing them?

  16. I’d say this has about the same value as the thoughts and prayers.

  17. No new statute is required. No new regulation is required.

    All that’s required is for the Trump Administration’s BATFE to reverse an internal BATFE position that resulted in a private ruling of the Obama Administration’s BATFE that overturned the Bush BATFE’s prior internal position regarding the interpretation of the statute as applied to bump-stock like gizmos. There’s already an implementing regulation, 27 C.F.R. ? 479.11, which I’m surprised that no one here has even mentioned, but its language merely tracks the statute.

    IMHO, if you pull the trigger one time and the weapon goes bang-bang-bang-bang without you having to make another conscious effort to pull the trigger — and that describes the actual operation of a bump stock and its analogs (some of which use springs, some of which use other gizmos) — that’s a “single function of the trigger,” and you’ve therefore got a firearm that’s been converted to a “machinegun” within the meaning of both the existing statute and existing regulation.

    1. If you want a really thorough look into both the law and technology, I highly commend the opposing briefs on still-pending (as of yesterday, the last time I checked) cross-motions for summary judgment in Freedom Ordinance Mfg., Inc. v. Brandon, No. 3:16-cv-243 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division. Brandon is the head of the BATFE, so keep in mind that although this represents the current legal position of the BATFE, the Bureau has been, charitably put, inconsistent in its internal policies and public prescriptions.

      Here are the first two relevant briefs, to save you the PACER fees:

      * FOMI’s brief in support of its motion for summary judgment;

      * ATF’s brief in support of its cross-motion for summary judgment.

      Next two below.

        1. Finally, you also need to read Akins v. United States, No. 08-15640 (11th Cir. Feb. 4, 2009)(per curiam, unpublished), which sustained the Bush BATFE’s position that the Akins Accelerator, a bump-stock-like product, could indeed be considered an illegal machinegun conversion kit:

          The Bureau acted within its discretion when it reclassified the Accelerator as machinegun. A machinegun is a weapon that fires “automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” 26 U.S.C. ? 5845(b). The interpretation by the Bureau that the phrase “single function of the trigger” means a “single pull of the trigger” is consonant with the statute and its legislative history. See Staples v. United States, 511 U.S. 600, 602 n.l, 114 S. Ct. 1793, 1795 n.l (1994); National Firearms Act: Hearings Before the Committee on Ways and Means, 73rd Congo 40 (1934). After a single application of the trigger by a gunman, the Accelerator uses its internal spring and the force of recoil to fire continuously the rifle cradled inside until the gunman releases the trigger or the ammunition is exhausted. Based on the operation of the Accelerator, the Bureau had authority to “reconsider and rectify” what it considered to be a classification error. See Gun South, 877 F.2d at 862-63. That decision was not arbitrary and capricious. See id. at 866.

          1. Thanks for the reading material.

            1. You’re welcome, silver. I think the Akins decision is incredibly important to this discussion: It answers Prof. Adler’s question in the title to this post, actually, as to whether the Trump Administration could effectively ban bump stocks without even having to do a formal rulemaking.

              I’d bet $10 that Akins was written by Eleventh Circuit Judge William H. Pryor, Jr., by the way, just from the writing style and method of reasoning. Judge Pryor, whom Bush-43 recess-appointed to the Eleventh Circuit when the Dems were filibustering judicial appointments, is on Trump’s “List of Twenty[-one]” potential SCOTUS nominees.

    2. It might give you some pause about the defensibility of that internal BATF position, that it got reversed during a notoriously anti-gun administration.

      1. BATFE has actually gone back and forth and back again. Read Akins, in which that was an issue. Then read the briefs in FOMI v. Brandon.

      2. I find the whole concept of executive agencies defining policy to be disagreeable. They can establish superfluous notions to perpetuate their own enforcement efforts, and they’re well beyond the reach and influence of citizens.

    3. The text of the law does not mention “conscious effort”.

      It says “function of the trigger”. The trigger is not your will or your mind; the trigger is a physical object, part of the gun’s firing mechanism.

      Your opinion does not change anything, let alone the meaning of statutory law.

      1. “Function” of the trigger is the important word here, Sigivald, not the word “trigger.” And “function” isn’t a physical object, but rather, a matter of interpretation regarding actions applied to physical objects.

        You’re right that my opinions have no force of law within the BATFE or the federal courts; see above, however, re the Eleventh Circuit’s Akins decision.

        1. Also, before you go all ad hominem about me and my opinions, for context, you might consider that I’m a fourth-generation Texas Republican, and uncountable-generations Texas gun-owner, who believes in and supports the right to bear arms as a personal constitution right, and who presumes (as did Justice Scalia in Heller that some existing gun regulation, including section 5845(b), is constitutional. (Some Second Amendment absolutists don’t, but I’m not an absolutist, and neither was Justice Scalia.) From that point of view, the very last thing I want to see are either debates on the floor of the House and Senate on further gun control legislation, nor even a formal rule-making procedure within BATFE, either of which are likely to let more of the camel than its nose under the tent.

          1. Obviously some existing gun regulations are constitutional. Start with all the laws (At the state level, anyway.) that prohibit using guns in crimes. Add negligent discharge laws. Some of the regulations of gun ranges, the ones that aren’t intended to just prohibit them. Consumer safety laws that aim at guns not going off when dropped, or exploding in your hand when fired. Laws prohibiting bearing arms while intoxicated.

            Where the laws get unconstitutional is when they aim to discourage people from owning guns, or prevent people from using them in ways that are either harmless or (self defense) constitutionally guaranteed.

            It’s always good to pull out the old 1st amendment analogy. The 1st amendment doesn’t protect hitting somebody over the head with a printing press. Or the use of toxic ink. Or running excessively loud printing presses at night in a residential neighborhood.

            That doesn’t mean you can tell people what they can print, prohibit them from owning a printing press, prohibit them from having large quantities of ink and paper on hand, outlaw libraries…

    4. I gather the link to the private ruling I mentioned above isn’t working, but the referenced letter is among several similar such BATFE letters that are exhibits to FOMI’s initial brief as linked just below.

  18. First, they ban machine guns (for the most part). Then, when someone uses a gimmick to approximate full auto fire, they say that those should be banned too. Now, they’re calling for a ban on “assault weapons,” which are really just scary semi-auto rifles. When the manufacturers remove the offensive featuers (as they did in 1994) then the left will argue that the revised model is functionally the same as what we’ve agreed (their words) can be banned. In other words, their goal is to ban all magazine loaded semi-autos, or virtually every gun that is useful. Don’t let them get away with their lies.

    1. Useful for shooting up schools, anyway.

      1. No, useful for defense. A gun that only shoots a few rounds is

        1. not useful.

          1. In other words, you’re a lousy shot?

        2. To defend yourself against unarmed schoolchildren.

  19. I think that from these comments it would be safe to say that a bumpstock ban would be at most a symbolic gesture that had no real effect on mass shootings. I’m curious as to what people who are in favor of gun control think would be an effective law to prevent mass shootings and wouldn’t just be to make people feel good about doing something.

    My own position is that any new gun control law short of an outright ban would be symbolic. I also think that the political reality is that an outright ban is a non starter. So what law should we pass to prevent these tragedies?

    1. The left’s leaders know that. They just figure that they can ban incrementally by starting with “assault weapons,” then all semi-autos, then pump action shotguns, and so on.

    2. We could pass a law banning ‘gun free school zones’.
      We could pass a law saying the second amendment means what it says.
      We could teach all children about how firearms actually work, and how to properly use them.
      We could pass a law setting ‘reasonable’ restrictions on free speech; say no one can support gun control until the second amendment is repealed.
      We could pass a law banning all social media. Any guesses as to what percent of mass shooters had social media accounts?
      We could pass a law dissolving congress, and all state legislatures, and appoint Trump philosopher king.
      We could pass a law eliminating all schools. No schools, no school shootings. Simple.

      1. ‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

        1. Is that nation Brazil?

          Mexico?

          Jamaica?

          Russia?

          South Africa?

        2. Per capita rates are higher in several countries.

          Deaths per million people from mass public shootings from 2009 through 2015:

          Norway: 1.888
          Serbia: 0.381
          France: 0.347
          Macedonia: 0.337
          Albania: 0.206
          Slovakia: 0.185
          Switzerland: 0.142
          Finland: 0.132
          Belgium: 0.128
          Czech Republic: 0.123
          United States: 0.089
          Austria: 0.068
          The Netherlands: 0. 051
          Canada: 0.032
          England: 0.027
          Germany: 0.023
          Russia: 0.012
          Italy: 0.009

          1. I would like to quote this. Where did you find it?

            1. Allutz, my query was directed to you.

              1. https://crimeresearch.org/
                2015/06/comparing-death-
                rates-from-mass-public-
                shootings-in-the-us-and-europe/

                URL Broken up because of comment limits.

    3. Your position is wrong.

      1. Fantastic. Are you saying that my position that anything short of an outright ban would be symbolic is wrong?
        If so, please tell me what law we can pass that will prevent these tragedies. As a gun owner who is very jealous of my rights as I see them I desperately want to have a conversation about gun laws with people on the other side. Unfortunately the best that I can seem to get from anyone willing to engage is that I have blood on my hands or that we just have to do something because reasons. So please help me out here. What do you believe we should do that will prevent these tragedies?

    4. With regard to, “no real effect on mass shootings.” Of course it’s easy to make the bump stock issue seem trivial, because for bump stocks and massacres, it’s early days still. Las Vegas may be the most spectacular spree shooting incident yet recorded in the U.S., but so far, it’s only one example of the kind. However, it’s spectacular toll of carnage can’t have escaped attention by lunatics across the nation. Why should anyone suppose it won’t be emulated, and amplified, in future attempts.

      The demonstrated ability to conduct mass killing at a range of 500 yards enormously increases the area within perimeters which security forces must defend. Take the biggest crowd you can imagine?perhaps a presidential inauguration?and add 500 yards around it on all sides, and you have a defensive problem better suited to an army corps than to the secret service and the D.C. police. Then add the possibility of multiple shooters, deploying coordinated tactics, feints, distractions, etc., and you open the door to truly gigantic catastrophe.

      Why would anyone suppose, given the capabilities already demonstrated, that such incidents will not multiply in our near future? What is there, other than wishful thinking, to rule it out?

  20. Probably not, but I love the idea of just pursuing a blatantly unconstitutional non-reform that won’t happen anyway to appease the “DO SOMETHING” idiots.

    1. Its actually great because while they are screaming about Florida whatever whatever, the unconstitutional gun control on the books gets rolled back or repealed.

  21. Here’s the list of the 10countries with the top death rate per million people from mass public shootings from 2009 through 2015:

    Norway: 1.888
    Serbia: 0.381
    France: 0.347
    Macedonia: 0.337
    Albania: 0.206
    Slovakia: 0.185
    Switzerland: 0.142
    Finland: 0.132
    Belgium: 0.128
    Czech Republic: 0.123

    1. Country A has 100 shooting incidents resulting in 1000 deaths, or an average of ten deaths per event. Country B has one event resulting in 35 deaths, or an average of 35 deaths per event.

      I am so moving to Country A. It’s much safer.

      1. Pity Country A only has 2000 people to begin with…

        1. Had. Had 2000 people. Silver lining: lots of housing.

  22. Banning bump stocks would presumably have cut down on the number of Parkland gun deaths, but not to zero.

    Banning all guns would have cut the gun deaths in Parkland to zero, but there is no reason to believe that the perpetrator would not have chosen some other manner and means to cause mass carnage.

    A more useful discussion would concern ways that the shooter could have been kept away from the school altogether (and indeed away from everyone else). This would have cut the number of Parkland deaths to zero.

    1. “Banning bump stocks would presumably have cut down on the number of Parkland gun deaths”

      No it wouldn’t, the Parkland shooting didn’t involve a bump stock. The only mass shooting involving a bump stock was the attack on the concert in Vegas.

  23. Stop thinking mass “shootings.” See what I mean in:

    “Gun Control and Mass Killers”
    https://relevantmatters.wordpress.com/
    2016/06/30/rush-draft-why-gun-
    control-fails-against-mass-killers/

    Join the url and delete the spaces.

  24. I think we ought to have stringent background checks for voting. Require ID and maybe raise the age requirement, too.

    Meanwhile, FL shooting survivor Colton Haab’s questions for CNN’s town hall were rejected because he’s pro-2nd amendment and wanted to talk about armed security, CNN wanted scripted questions that furthered their political agenda instead.

    1. And limit voting to those who pay federal income taxes, have IQs above 100, and have never had an illegitimate child.

      1. Seems fair and prudent. The Constitution doesn’t say that the right of the People to vote “shall not be infringed,” so I don’t see how gun control advocates can argue legitimately that such voting restrictions are unconstitutional.

        1. Its a living document.

          /lefty rationale

        2. Exactly.

        3. ML, check the XXVI amendment. Seems pretty clear, at least for US citizens 18 and older.

          1. You are of course correct with regard to the age requirement, that would require an amendment. But not the others.

            1. (It would require an amendment, to the same extent that infringing the right of the People to keep and bear arms should require an amendment.)

  25. About one hundred casualties occurred over 90 years ago without a semi – auto rifle, which at that time had been available for well over 20 years.

    “The Bath School disaster, sometimes known as the Bath School massacre, was a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927, in Bath Township, Michigan, which killed 38 elementary schoolchildren and six adults and injured at least 58 other people.[Note 1] Kehoe killed his wife and firebombed his farm, then detonated an explosion in the Bath Consolidated School before committing suicide by detonating a final device in his truck.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

  26. Michael Hihn is a troll. Time to stop engaging him.

    1. Or he/she/it is just a normal Progressive Plantation serf doing what his/hers/its Elitist Masters and Uncle Tom Overseers tell him/her/it to do!

  27. Why would a section of the Internal Revenue Code that defines “machine gun” for purposes of the tax on transferring firearms be relevant to whether or not the President can ban bump stocks?

    Is there a more relevant statute?

    1. Internal Rev. ch. 53 taxes machine guns. Under the Obama adm. guns with bump stocks were ruled to not meet the definition of a machine gun, I.e., more than one shot with a single trigger pull. Somehow there may be a revision of the ruling.

      Apparently If the ruling is revised then a bump stock on a gun would make it subject to the rules on machine guns.

  28. Trump said that he “signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations” after noting the Obama Administration concluded they were legal. But, was sure to counsel patience, so the administrative process carefully is followed. As seen in various other areas, how long this will take or if it even will happen is far from clear. Anyway, if the Obama “can’t trust them with our guns” Administration was correct to say current law doesn’t allow it, sure, we should wait until Congress acts.

  29. He certainly seems to be having difficulties with grind stocks.

  30. I have a couple of questions for the folks who view school shootings as primarily a hardware question.

    First question: what’s your Fermi estimate of the likely benefit of the laws you are proposing? For example, consider:

    Scenario A: a man walks into a classroom full of 2nd graders and opens fire with an AR, vs…

    Scenario B: a man walks into a classroom full of 2nd graders and opens fire with a double barreled shotgun (or a bucket of gasoline)

    If I understand the argument, it is that Scenario B is going to typically result in fewer casualties. I’m curious how much of a reduction people are envisioning?

    1. I suppose if you ask any parent of one of the murdered children that they would accept a reduction of one.

      1. The ‘if it saves just one…’ argument raises a couple of things:

        From the wikipedia ‘List of School Shootings’ page, there have been 156 deaths (I added them in my head, apologies if I’m off by a couple) from 2010 to the present. The majority of those have just one or a couple of victims, where presumably any kind of gun would have worked, but lets count them all. For 2010 to 2016 (shorter period, but most recent data) WISQARS reports 19582 ‘Transportation Related’ deaths of 6 to 18 year olds. That’s 125 times as many deaths. There were 4X as many bicycle deaths (645).

        Those deaths are tragic as well, aren’t they? I’m sure we can come up with laws that would save just one of those students – speed governors, or horsepower limits, or something. Those seem like they would save many more lives. How do you explain a lack of support for those restrictions to a parent whose kid was run down in a crosswalk by a speeding driver? Don’t their children matter?

        I’m a numbers guy, so I really struggle to understand the distinction.

      2. Second point: when you start talking very small numbers, don’t you have to look at the benefit side of things, as well as the costs? You can find defensive uses of e.g. AR-15s. There aren’t comprehensive numbers, but there are sure anecdotes. Doesn’t ‘if it saves only one…’ also apply to victims defending themselves?

  31. Second question: when thinking about solutions to complex problems, I try to think through various possible outcomes. For the people who think that banning AR-15s, or all semi-auto rifles, etc will result in a large reduction in school shootings, what’s your plan if you succeed with a ban but killers just use the kind of ordinary guns used at e.g. Va Tech (or perhaps worse, discover gasoline)?

    More bans? Start addressing the contagion effects of wall to wall media coverage? Something else? Are you 100% confident your current plan will work, or do you have a Plan B?

  32. As I see it, the danger is that any Bump fire ban has the potential to be enforced like NYC’s infamous “Gravity Knife” law.
    If an officer gan get a firearm with any type of aftermarket trigger or spring to fire quickly, has the owner committed a felony?

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