Reader JP writes:
I don’t particularly care for bump fire stocks. They’re silly, waste expensive ammo, decrease control and accuracy, and have absolutely no practical purpose. That said, their existence and legality cause no harm to me so I refuse to sit while they’re demonized and regulated.
Now the NRA and other pro gun rights groups as well as several manufacturers have come out in favor of regulation (and therefore legislation, as much as they might claim otherwise). They’re signalling to squishy Republicans and blue dog democrats that it’s OK to pursue such, and so now we have a Republican-sponsored bill in the House that’s so poorly worded that I fear for the future of gun rights.
The bill states that any device that increases the rate of fire of a semi auto rifle is illegal to either own or produce. Since words mean things, if you go by this language, it actually wouldn’t affect anything at all. Because rate of fire on a semi auto rifle is mechanically limited by how fast the gun can cycle. Nothing can change it short of changing the gas system or spring weights etc… Certainly no external device could affect it.
However the intent of the law is clear, and if the intent of the law is how it’s applied, it will lead to serious trouble for gun owners. Not only bump stocks, but binary triggers, crank triggers, and even basic lighter competition-style triggers could be outlawed because they’re modifications that let you pull the trigger faster.
Want to take your gun to your favorite gunsmith and have him install a 4.5lb spring to replace your 8lb stock trigger? Illegal. Have him stone the surfaces for a smooth even break? Illegal. And our champions of gun rights have given lawmakers carte blanche to do it.
But really this is just the tip of the iceberg. Already there are videos out there with guys good enough to outrun bump fire stocks. So what happens when the other side points out that since a semi-automatic firearms can fire that fast without any aid, obviously semi-autos are the real problem?
What’s more, they’d be right, and our side won’t have an argument to counter them (aside from the Second Amendment, but since when have they ever cared about that?). And that’s because we’ve already ceded the position that bump stocks are bad.
I’m not one to panic over possible legislation, but I dont see this going anywhere good. There are entirely too many supposed “good guys” in Congress who only vote our way because they rightly fear the political wrath of their constituents and our lobbying groups, and we’re voluntarily giving them permission to leave the reservation and join their buddies on the other side of the isle.
Forgive my pessimism, but I don’t see how this ends in a net win for freedom.