Reflecting the growing split within the pro-Second Amendment community, Mark Larue of LaRue Tactical has let it be known he won’t be sad to see bump fire stocks go the way of the dodo. Staunch gun rights supporters like the Military Arms Channel aren’t happy about it. To recap . . .
Bump fire stocks have been widely available for six or seven years, since the ATF made the [entirely proper] determination that they aren’t machine guns. The Bureau ruled that bump fire stocks merely aid the shooter in pulling the trigger faster — without altering the firearm in contravention of the National Firearms Act and previous ATF interpretations.
But with video and audio from Las Vegas showing a man with a bump fire stock murdering more than 50 people and injuring another 500, the once-obscure range toy — SlideFire’s tag line: “Prepare to change the way you play” — made a push to outlaw them inevitable.
Eventually, a puff of white smoke emerged from Fairfax when the NRA handed down its official position on bump fire stocks:
To be fair, the NRA powers that be were in a difficult position. The average American can’t or won’t distinguish between a bump fire stock and a proper fully-automatic machine gun. It’s difficult to defend something most people thought was already illegal, a device just used to increase the death toll of innocent Americans.
So the NRA assumed what many thought was the only politically tenable position: a preemptive call for bump fire stock regulation. But by trying to head federal legislation off at the pass, they alienated gun rights advocates and ended up with a PR mess on their hands.
Since the Clinton assault weapons ban, the pro-gun side has taken a largely absolutist stance, steadfastly opposing any move to limit gun rights in any way. After a quarter century of almost un-interrupted success, rolling back unconstitutional carry laws and expanding the number and demographics of gun owners, the bump fire issue has bifurcated the gun rights community.
Yesterday, ten Republicans signed on to the House version of a vaguely-worded bill making it a felony to possess any device that “increases the rate of fire” of a legal firearm. More than a few gun owners blame the NRA for providing them the political cover to do so.
In our wildly un-scientific Twitter poll, opinions of the NRA’s position were split. Some 45 percent of respondents are dead set against the NRA’s “the ATF should do its job” stance. The remaining 55 percent agree — to one extent or another — that the NRA didn’t have many good options.
Mark LaRue’s support for bump fire stock regulation — if not an outright ban — further highlights the split. Will more gun companies and gun right supporters signal their willingness to jettison bump fire, either through regulation or in a poorly crafted bill? Will guns rights absolutists be saying “I told you so” down the line, when a legislatively-emboldened ATF wields the ban hammer on other gun parts? Or the guns themselves?
Watch this space.