Some of my friends are very, very upset at the NRA for this announcement, and I can see their point. What’s the use of giving money to an organization to help secure our right to keep and bear arms if said organization caves in quickly and throws a relatively innocuous rifle part under the bus?
I can understand that, but here are a few other points to consider:
- After the horror in Newtown, the push from the gun control crowd was to ban “assault rifles” and standard capacity AR mags. Here, the push is to ban one rather silly, limited-use gadget.
- There was no pro-rights legislation in Congress after Newtown. Today, however, we have the SHARE Act and national reciprocity winding their way through Congress. What was at stake after Newtown was the status quo. What’s at stake here are expanded gun rights.
- The announcement came out unusually quickly after the tragedy in Las Vegas, and if I’m guessing, (and I have to) I think the NRA saw that there was little upside to digging in their heels on this one and lots of downside.
Things are different now. We’re winning. The NRA is no longer playing a defensive game, and that means it need to use different tactics. Think of this move by the NRA as, oh, the Battle for Caen, where the Allies held the Nazis fixed in one point while Patton went on his merry romp across Northern France. Things were hard for Brits, Poles, and Canadians at Oden and at Mont Ormel, but in the end, the battle for France had shifted decisively towards the Allies.
Look at it from the NRA’s perspective: What they have recommended isn’t that bump stocks be banned, they have recommended, and I’m quoting here, for “the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.”
So what might happen next?
Best Case Scenario: The ATF looks at the regs they wrote up during the Obama era and says “Yep, we got it right the first time, people. Move along now,” and the NRA is free to lobby for reciprocity and the SHARE Act.
Worst Case Scenario: Bump fire stocks will be subject to NFA regulations, and the NRA is free to lobby for nationwide concealed carry reciprocity* and the SHARE Act.
Without this? The NRA burns up all its political capital for the foreseeable future fighting a really, really bad piece of legislation** and tries to defend a silly little toy that nobody really likes.
Yes, it’s lousy situation to be in. But it’s the situation we have, not the one we want.
* What, you think it was a coincidence that the NRA mentioned that issue by name in their press release?
** How lousy? Feinstein’s bill would ban anything that would “drastically increase the rate of fire” of a gun, which could be defined as improving how the trigger feels or installing an aftermarket trigger or even lubing up the gun so it cycles faster. As I said, it’s a really, really bad law.