nra constitution

For the past few days, the focus on potential legislative action in the aftermath of the Mandalay shootings in Las Vegas has focused on “bump stocks.” Most of the conversation sounds very much like this

If you want to understand what a bump stock is, watch this video:

A lot of folks have been willing to trade this away for reasons that escape me. First, you should never negotiate with yourself and unless and until the gun grabbers offer up some kind of concession, f*** them and their concerns. They hate firearms and I’ll be damned if I’m going to help them outlaw guns just so I can feel good about my own high-mindedness. Second, trying to define this device creates another “assault weapon ban.” Remember when you could change an illegal AK-47 knockoff to a completely legal on simply by changing out out the stock so it no longer had a pistol grip and removing the flash suppressor? One of our commenters point out where this train is going:

BATF currently distinguishes these accessories from actual fully automatic weapons by the fact that with each actuation of the trigger, one bullet is fired from the weapon. This is how they technically separate a semi-automatic weapon from one that is fully automatic. Now consider banning bump-stocks. If you focus on the design of the device and only this design you still haven’t eliminated the problem. “Hellfire” type triggers and crank actuators will still remain and there is always the possibility of some entrepreneur developing a new technology which does basically the same thing. So what we are really talking about here if we are honest is a “rate of fire” issue.

Ok, lets discuss rate of fire on a semi-automatic weapon. Who determines at what point a semi-auto firearm becomes a fully automatic weapon? You just eliminated the basis of the determining standard used for decades by the ATF. Is it one shot per second? Two shots per second? As you indicated, trained persons with rifles equipped with light triggers can bump-fire without the stocks. Are they now machine guns? I know guys who can squeeze off 3 rounds per second without any assistance of any device except a rapid reset trigger. Shall we now ban rapid reset triggers?

I am not trying to be flippant but I am trying to demonstrate that once you kick open the door to regulating the speed at which a semi-automatic firearm can be fired, the net result will eventually be that they cannot be regulated, and if they can’t be regulated they must be eliminated. As Dianne Feinstein ones famously quipped – “Turn them all in, Mr. and Mrs. America!” The elimination of the bump-fire stock technology by law will open up a door big enough to drive a Mack truck which will eventually lead to the elimination of semi-automatic firearms that exceed some government proscribed standard of rate of fire. That likely means all of them. Just be prepared for the eventual outcome.

This is spot on. The only reason to outlaw bump stocks is to reduce rate of fire because other devices will be developed that do the same thing but evade BATFE definitions. The question then is what rate of fire are you willing to accept?

Now the NRA has issued a statement:

“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.”

I think this is the correct approach. Let BATFE develop regulations, that will give gun owners and not just the Brady Campaign and Everytown for Gun Safety input on the outcome. Keep it in regulatory channels so if you don’t like the outcome you can mount a legislative as well as a legal challenge. And in return for neutrality on the rule making, demand something concrete: reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders.