The Michael Bloomberg-funded gun control propaganda organization The Trace seems to have once again proven that their raison d’etre is not (as their writers have claimed) to provide fair and accurate reporting on guns and the issues surrounding them. Instead they exist to regurgitate the same illogical emotional arguments the civilian disarmament crowd have been using for decades in an attempt to convince Americans that they’re better off without guns, except this time wrapped in a false promise of impartial reporting. The focus of their recent article was on bumpfire stocks, and while the tone is pretty much what you’d expect the difference is that they seem to be trying to use our words (TTAG’s, specifically) to argue for outlawing them . . .
You don’t even get past the title before you know where this is going: “AR-15 Lovers Are Getting Fully Automatic Thrills with Barely Legal Gadgets.” RF may be more familiar with that phrase “barely legal” in other contexts, but in this case it foreshadows the argument they’ve generated quite nicely. And I quote:
Though an AR-15 fitted with a Bump Fire stock can fire hundreds of rounds per minute, the ATF found the add-on doesn’t turn a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun. The devices are just this side of legal.
The payday loan business may be accurately characterized as “barely legal,” but there’s there’s nothing even marginal about bumpfire stocks. After enduring years of ATF scrutiny they have been pronounced 100% kosher in the form of FTB letters. But The Trace paints these perfectly legal devices as something that should have been banned from the word go.
The bumpfire stock concept is every bit as legal as Michael Bloomberg dumping millions of dollars into political campaigns across the United States trying to influence voters to embrace his notions of “common sense” gun control (that they didn’t want in the first place).
Hint to The Trace‘s “journos”: if you’re goal is to appear impartial and fair, you might want to leave the self-righteous contempt out of your work.
The rest of the article is all too predictable. They make the argument that since these accouterments make it easy for the average person to fire really really fast (which is very scary for the writers apparently) then the ATF should consider it a machine gun and ban it. There’s just one problem: a complete lack of legal basis to make that judgement.
There’s a very specific definition of a “machine gun” that the writers at The Trace seem to have completely failed to investigate which would have cleared up this whole question of legality for them. Instead they try to use one of our snarky comments about the device against us.
Some experts are puzzled over how newer add-ons like the Bump Fire stock have passed government scrutiny. Robert Farago, who runs the pro-gun website The Truth About Guns, wrote in 2010 with some amazement that Slide Fire’s SSAR-15 was legal “for the rest of the day, anyway.” He called the company’s disclaimer (which said the device “does not increase the rate of fire” on its own) “disingenuous.”
And here Robert thought that I was the only one who’d be quoted in the article. In case you couldn’t tell, Robert’s crack about the Bump Fire’s legality was a shot at the ATF whose determinations as to the legality of firearms accessories can be, shall we say, arbitrary and capricious. He clearly wasn’t commenting on the device itself, but instead whether the ATF was going to step in and put a stop to the fun no matter what the law says. It was a rap on the ATF, not that The Trace cares much.
They contacted me for a quote last week before the story was written, and in furtherance of my aforementioned long term strategy of talking to even the anti-gun media in hopes of showing them the errors of their ways. I cooperated and reiterated exactly what I had stated in the review. To their credit they played it straight…well, mostly.
Gun writer Nicholas Leghorn, who reviewed the Bump Fire for The Truth About Guns, tells The Trace that he thinks it would appeal most to shooters who “want something to show that they’re the cool guy on the range.” According to Leghorn, that’s one of the main reasons that people buy so-called “black rifles” like the AR-15 in the first place. He compares the rifle to another classic American toy: “The point of the AR-15 is that it’s a Barbie doll for guns,” says Leghorn. Just as Barbie fans need playsets, wardrobes, and cars to maximize their Barbie fun, so AR-15 owners need to customize their rifles to fully convey their rugged self-image.
Some gun experts question the zombie-slaying efficacy of bump firing. In his review of the Bump Fire Systems stock for The Truth About Guns, Leghorn wrote that “the entire concept is a gimmicky toy.”
“There’s nothing you can really use it for,” Leghorn adds. “It’s not reliable enough to use in a self defense situation. It’s not going to give added benefit in a hunting situation.”
I actually corrected myself during the interview, saying that an AR was really more like a Lego set than a Barbie doll, but close enough for Bloomberg-funded work. Just because something is a scary looking gimmick doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.
In support of their thesis The Trace pulled out one solitary example of a “mass shooting” in which the attacker had a bump fire product attached to his gun, but failed to connect the dots that the carnage was increased specifically due to the existence of the device. I meant it when I said there’s nothing you can use it for — mass killing included. The fine motor skills required to make a gun bumpfire simply disappear under the dump of adrenaline felt in a real life shooting situation.
What The Trace is trying to do is lay the groundwork for a push to include bumpfire devices in a future gun control proposal. They weren’t able to prove that these devices increase the body count of murders or are used widely in mass shootings (because they don’t and they aren’t) so they are trying the back door.
Just the notion that the average American can buy these things and make their gun shoot faster is enough to give the average New Yorker the vapors. Add in just a little bit of color using selected (out of context) comments from prominent gun rights advocates and you’ve got yourself a gun control campaign. The truth is that these devices don’t pose a danger to the public, but The Trace won’t let facts like that get in their way.