The National Rifle Association is attempting to clarify its position on bump stocks — watch the videos — following an announcement Thursday that the group was in favor of tougher restrictions on the popular accessory.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” said the nation’s gun lobby in the statement.
It further called for the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.”
While that’s not technically supporting Feinstein’s Automatic Gun Fire Protection Act, it is sending mixed messages to members of Congress. Sometimes it’s not what a person or group says, it’s what they don’t say that tips their hand. In this case, the lack of specificity is alarming.
What do they mean by “additional regulations?” Do they want to slap the bump stock with NFA restrictions? Make it a Class III device? If so, that’s effectively a ban.
Sure, you can get one if you jump through a million hoops, wait forever and pay $200 to the federal government — and that’s if they aren’t classified as post-’86 machine guns. But I thought the nation’s gun lobby was against this process precisely because it is tantamount to a ban.
The whole point of the NRA-backed Hearing Protection Act/SHARE Act is to remove suppressors from that unnecessary and burdensome process. I’d even say unconstitutional process.
When the NFA was passed in 1934, that $200 tax stamp was the rough equivalent to $3,500 today. The government was telling the common man that machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns and suppressors are only for elites! The original intent of the NFA was to keep certain firearms and accessories out of the hands of the people.
But back to bump stocks. Remember what Alan Korwin says, making lawfully owned firearms and firearm accessories unlawful is infringement. So, do I need to recount the last four words of the 2A?
Yes, additional regulations on bump stocks are infringement. Gun shops and department stores all over the country sold these accessories for almost an entire decade with no problems. Zero. Some idiot misuses them and now the NRA is jumping on the ban wagon. Sorry, the “additional regulations” wagon. I don’t think so.
The NRA has always argued that gun control laws make zero difference. Bad guys, or to use Wayne’s word, “monsters,” don’t follow the law. They didn’t in Nice, France, they didn’t in Newtown, Connecticut and they didn’t in Las Vegas, Nevada. By the organization’s own logic, what do they think further restricting bump stocks will accomplish?
The answer is nothing. You can easily build a homemade bump stock. You can also lighten up the trigger pull on your black rifle and achieve a higher rate of fire. You can install a drop-in auto sear. You can 3D print a similar device. You can even bump-fire with a rubber band! The workarounds are endless. When it comes to criminals, gun bans aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. That’s what the NRA has said for years. Until now.
“The Obama Administration a couple years ago approves this device called a ‘bump stock’ — if you take a look at it, I mean, any look at it, it takes a semi-automatic firearm and makes it perform like a fully-automatic firearm. It makes it function like one. And what the NRA has said is we ought to take a look at that, see if it’s in compliance with federal law and if it’s worthy of additional regulation,” LaPierre told Sean Hannity of Fox News.
Let me circle back to the point about the message it sends to Congress. By leaving the door open for “additional regulations” they’re sending a signal to weak-kneed Republicans that they won’t be penalized for supporting Feinstein’s proposal. Already too many Republicans have intimated that they would consider the bump stock ban. Even the president has said he wants to be “part of the conversation.”
What all this adds up to is that bump stocks are going the way of the dodo bird. The NRA isn’t going to stand in the way of a bipartisan bill that bans them nor are they going to hold a lawmaker’s feet to the fire when he or she votes for it. I just hope that Chris and Wayne get something in return, like national reciprocity or suppressor deregulation. If not, they are making a move I’m not sure they can come back from.