NRA Throws Bump Fire Under the Bus
Jon Stokes 10.05.17
In a statement on the recent Las Vegas shooting, the NRA has given the finger to bump-fire stock makers, asking the ATF to take another look at whether these devices comply with federal law, and talking vaguely of “additional regulations.”
“In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. This is a fact that has been proven time and again in countries across the world. In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law. The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations. In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities. To that end, on behalf of our five million members across the country, we urge Congress to pass National Right-to-Carry reciprocity, which will allow law-abiding Americans to defend themselves and their families from acts of violence.”
Here are my thoughts on this, in no particular order:
As readers of this site likely know, bum- fire stocks are widely despised as range toys for YouTube yahoos and wannabe operators. If you have one of these things on your AR, it’s best not to tell anyone if you don’t want to get laughed off the range. In short, bump fire is widely considered a terrible fad that will hopefully pass soon.
So the NRA figured they could throw these guys under the bus because there’s no real hardcore gun owner constituency for them. We gun owners were all just hoping they’d go away on their own, anyway.
There are two things the gun guys on my feed seem to be worried about with the NRA’s latest move, though.
First, there’s a concern that the NRA may be backsliding to the bad old days of the 90’s, when the org was still populated with FUDDs who had yet to be dragged kicking and screaming into Gun Culture 2.0. That version of the NRA supported the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban, albeit with the sunset provisions thankfully inserted.
Second, there is a very real fear that any legislation banning bump fire will also ban competition triggers and possibly even all semi autos. This was the major concern with Dianne Feinstein’s poorly-worded attempt at a bump-fire ban, which was released just hours after the massacre in Vegas.
Finally, there’s a reluctance to give even on inch to the gun-grabbers, even if that involves giving up devices that most if us don’t care for anyway.
I’m taking a wait-and-see attitude towards pretty much all of these. I think the NRA was strategically vague about the source of the “additional regulations” they referenced. I took it that they’re calling for some new ATF rule-making, which has gone their way lately, and not asking for congress to step in and pass new laws. So I feel like they’re probably going to handle the concerns above pretty well.
It’s also the case that we had real forward momentum on the SHARE Act, momentum that the Las Vegas shooting is widely understood to have halted. The NRA is hoping to start that back up by offering up bump fire as a way to get the SHARE Act back on the table. I have to admit I don’t think it’s a bad trade. I’m a huge supporter of the SHARE Act, and as I said above I have no use for bump fire, so I’d take that trade assuming that we’re not subject to new rules that act as a backdoor ban on things like lighter triggers and/or semi-autos.
Update: The Firearms Policy Center says I’m wrong about the rule-making, and that it’s pretty clear they’re asking for new legislation:
And even asking for rulemaking is not affirmative stmt "devices [ ] should be subject to additional regulations". Pretty clear position.
— Firearms Policy Coalition (@gunpolicy) October 6, 2017
Also, Sebastian over at Shall Not Be Questioned has a post on this topic that comes down pretty close to where I’ve come down, above, but with a few additional wrinkles and considerations laid out. Go read it.