Bump Fire / Bump-Stock – WTF is up with *that*, Folks?

I’m something of a Second Amendment (2A) absolutist

All of this was settled back in 1783 upon ratification of the Constitution (and its’ hefty and heavily revised attachment, the Bill of Rights), etc.  I distinctly remember reading how private citizens supplied the artillery (cannons in the proper parlance for the day) that helped free us from the British during that period of unpleasantness in the late 18th Century.  If you can afford a main battle tank (annual and preventive maintenance is a real bitch on these), in my world – go right ahead.  I mean – hell, it’s not like you could roll out and start committing crimes with it.  They’re somewhat easy to track.  Roll across your neighbor’s yard and I hope you own a sod company.  That’s sixty or seventy tons of awesome that leaves its mark on soft terrain.

That being said, we’re in a world today where there has been some natural encroachment on the absolute meaning of the Second. We’ve largely and relatively collectively said “OK, convicted felons who haven’t petitioned courts for reinstatement of their rights shouldn’t have guns.”

Most legal gun owners (and others not exercising their Second Amendment rights) are in favor of the mentally ill not possessing some firearms – even if we have very different definitions of “mentally ill”. There’s some subset of that class we all agree on.  There’s also a bunch of other not mentally ill folks who are either combat veterans (you couldn’t sleep so good after that third tour in Iraq and were evaluated for PTSD, oops) or have been prescribed some sort of anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic medication at some point in time (you needed and were prescribed a couple dozen Xanax after your house was broken into while you were on vacation back in 2003, all good).  These folks become pawns between the “gun grabbers” who simultaneously erupt in a chorus of #GunControlNow and want to start taking every gun they can out of the hands of lawful gun owners.  We’ll leave it as “really mentally ill folks” for now.

So, we largely agree that convicted felons (extended to people currently standing trial for, tbh), and the really mentally ill shouldn’t have firearms.  A lot of places extend that to folks convicted of other violent crime (e.g., domestic abuse) that doesn’t rise to the level of felony. No worries – still criminals.  It does bring up something of an important point which we’ll return to in due time – criminals, like honeybadgers, just don’t give a f***.  But we pretty much all agree on putting our foot down and saying “No. No, Mister (or Missus) Criminal.  You may NOT legally purchase a firearm.”

Then the whole discussion goes sideways – mostly about a comma of all things.  I’m not going to recreate all of the arguments found in myriad websites and comment sections and public forums – suffice it to say, most Americans have agreed “all people can’t have all weapons.”

Ahhh yes, the slipperiest of slopes – and the Second Amendment has probably been on it your whole lifetime

At some point in the 1930s, people started legislating about which guns the Government could have and which guns the Citizens could not have (i.e., machine guns).  I very badly want to not agree with this – but there is probably some degree of common sense in not allowing Mike Tyson to buy a small nuclear weapon (which he might have been able to afford in his heyday).  We’re probably all going to agree that letting some random rich guy in the Nevada desert buy an F-14 (with four Phoenixes and four Sidewinders) is a bad-to-very bad idea (even though they’re all surplus at this point if any of them are even airworthy).

We have segregated some weapons and said “citizens can’t do this, the Government can.”  Whether you agree or not, there’s precedent.  Unless you have NRA-style deep pockets (and even the NRA’s pockets aren’t this deep), you’re not unringing that bell.  Nuclear attack submarines, cruise missiles, jet aircraft with combat loadouts, automatic weapons…

Aha. Automatic weapons.

That brings me to the point – we’ve (in my mind, unfortunately) defined automatic weapons out of the hands of the citizenry (via the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended in 1986), there’s zero doubt about that.  Are we really going to be a nation of assholes in finding “fine print” style ways around this, so that this sort of technology can and will easily find its way into the hands of lunatics?  Enter a concept known as “bump fire”.  Meh.

I’ve fired an M-16.  I’ve even humped the pig (aka the ubiquitous M-60 machinegun).  They always seem to drop the 60 on the little guy…sigh.  I know how it feels to imagine that cluster of 5 or 6 folks every time the right index finger pulls back a couple millimeters.

It…well…it feels kinda like this, I imagine…sigh



So, due to a missing comma somewhere or more likely a lobbyist-driven and oddly favorable interpretation of a piece of legislation (aka a “loophole”), a piece of technology now exists in the sub-$100 price range that allows the scariest of black rifles to be fired in a mode that very much resembles a fully automatic rate of fire.

Vegas Shooter Had ‘Bump Stocks’ To Give Rifles to Full-Auto Firing Rates

The way to fix this kinda thing is to revisit the legislation that banned machine guns in the first place – not to use today’s technology to find a neat and easy (not to mention cheap) way to circumvent the law. Criminals won’t think twice at a Franklin to take their legally purchased (or straw purchased) rifle from semi-automatic to fully automatic. Sure, they’ll have to steal more ammunition but hey – they’re criminals, what do they care?

I’m rarely in favor of anything that restricts a right as absolute as I feel the Second Amendment is – but the law’s the law…and we just shouldn’t be dropping technology (that cough…”simulates” automatic fire…cough) like this in the hands of millions of folks – law-abiding and not – in this country.