Bump Stocks, Political Cowardice, and Urinary Incontinence

 

The dam broke on Thursday and now everybody and their brother is now in favor of a ban on bump stocks. Word went out to politicos in DC that it was “safe” to support such a ban, and now everyone loves it.

And why shouldn’t they be? Banning bump stocks is politically palatable and easy. After all, everyone agrees that they’re to blame for what happened in Las Vegas. If it weren’t for bump stocks, there would’ve been no massacre.

Except that’s nonsense and we all know it.

That guy in Las Vegas was bent on killing people. If he couldn’t use bump stocks, he would’ve found another way. Another device perhaps or some kind of jury rig with chicken wire. Look around, there’s probably something out there.

If a man wants to kill somebody, he’ll find a way. If there are no guns, he’ll use knives. If there are no knives, he’ll use baseball bats. If there are no baseball bats, he’ll use hammers. If there are no hammers, he’ll use a board with a nail in it. And if there are no boards, he’ll use a tree branch.

Whatever his motivations were, this guy wanted to kill people. One way or another, he was gonna do it. If a man wants to kill people and doesn’t care if he lives or dies, it’s very hard to stop him.

I’ll be genuinely surprised if Congress doesn’t quickly pass, and the President doesn’t immediately sign, a ban on bump stocks. The problem will be fixed. The nation will rejoice. Then will ensue an orgy of self-congratulation. And the doctors of DC will have to treat an epidemic of orthopedic injuries caused by lawmakers patting themselves on the back.

Except they won’t have solved anything. Bump stocks are a novelty. They’re used for entertainment purposes. Nobody had heard of them until this week because they’re not used in crimes. They just allow guys standing in fields to waste a whole bunch of ammo.

A bump stock ban is like peeing yourself while wearing a dark suit: it feels good for a little while, but nobody really notices. It doesn’t fix anything. Because there just isn’t an easy, elegant solution to the problem of spree shootings. If there were, we would’ve done it already.

That’s why its so appealing to everyone in Washington. It looks like they’re doing something urgent and immediate and important. It is, in the end, and act of cowardice. It is the easy way out.

It would take bravery to stand up to this tide. To say that the worst time to make new laws is in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy. To say that mass shootings are terrible but sometimes terrible things happen in a free society. To say that there’s a limit to what you can accomplish with legislation in a free society. To say that this solution is anything but. To say that banning things, be they bump stocks, or guns, or liquor, or opiates, or, yes, even bump stocks, isn’t the answer. To say that in order to keep our society free, we need to resist the urge to create a new law to try to solve every problem.

What a ban will accomplish, what it has already accomplished merely by talking about it, is to move a ton of bump stocks. They’re selling like crazy right now. Prices are skyrocketing and people are still buying. Because even if they don’t like it or use it, people don’t want their freedom taken away.

There are 19 comments.

  1. Member

    They won’t pass anything. And they shouldn’t try. Stay focused on Taxes guys.

    • #1
    • October 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm
    • 1 like
  2. Member

    What you say is accurate and irrelevant. Better this than almost anything else they will come up with. See Kevin’s post below.

    • #2
    • October 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm
    • 2 likes
  3. Coolidge

    I say, thank goodness he used a bump stock or it could have been a lot worse. There’s no way to be accurate with those things.

    I’m disgusted by the NRA signing on to efforts to ban the stupid things.

    • #3
    • October 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm
    • Like
  4. Member

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’m disgusted by the NRA signing on to efforts to ban the stupid things.

    Something was getting sacrificed in the fires of leftist rage after Las Vegas. Better the bump stock than the whole rifle.

    • #4
    • October 6, 2017 at 2:19 pm
    • 3 likes
  5. Member

    The King Prawn (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):
    I’m disgusted by the NRA signing on to efforts to ban the stupid things.

    Something was getting sacrificed in the fires of leftist rage after Las Vegas. Better the bump stock than the whole rifle.

    Doesn’t work that way. It’s called appeasement. Who cares it’s small insignificant, doesn’t matter, why fight the fight here, on this right? Don’t even address the issue. invite them in for a discussion of gun violence, urban, black on black, terrorists, suicides, and these occasional crazies. What can work toward what? Be serious. Don’t give in mindlessly to the mob. Make them make a case. They don’t want to because they can’t.

    • #5
    • October 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm
    • 4 likes
  6. Member

    Bump stocks were legalized under B. Hussein so handicapped people could enjoy shooting again.

    I dont think you need special equipment to convert a gun to rapid-fire.

    Americans are right to object to any infringements on their constitutional freedoms. Period. Homicidal maniacs we have always with us.

    • #6
    • October 6, 2017 at 4:23 pm
    • 1 like
  7. Member

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Be serious. Don’t give in mindlessly to the mob. Make them make a case. They don’t want to because they can’t.

    It’s called choosing battles. If it’s one you’re likely to lose (and I think this a tough row to hoe in the immediate aftermath of Vegas) then pick one you can afford to lose.

    • #7
    • October 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm
    • 1 like
  8. Thatcher

    We have already conceded that guns are only for hunting and under certain circumstances self defense. Everyone seems to agree they aren’t useful for either of those purposes. Therefore bump stocks are fair game.

    (I am not part of the “we”.)

    • #8
    • October 6, 2017 at 8:31 pm
    • Like
  9. Coolidge

    The King Prawn (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Be serious. Don’t give in mindlessly to the mob. Make them make a case. They don’t want to because they can’t.

    It’s called choosing battles. If it’s one you’re likely to lose (and I think this a tough row to hoe in the immediate aftermath of Vegas) then pick one you can afford to lose.

    Really? You might lose so you give in before they even try? How about fighting and if they corner you, then you can toss this out? Make every concession feel like a major one, even a stupid bump stock that is worthless. How about forcing the issue in court? How about taking aim at the GCA and NFA instead of always accepting those unconstitutional monstrosities as untouchable?

    How about not quitting before the fight even starts?

    • #9
    • October 6, 2017 at 9:12 pm
    • 3 likes
  10. Member

    The King Prawn (View Comment):

    I Walton (View Comment):
    Be serious. Don’t give in mindlessly to the mob. Make them make a case. They don’t want to because they can’t.

    It’s called choosing battles. If it’s one you’re likely to lose (and I think this a tough row to hoe in the immediate aftermath of Vegas) then pick one you can afford to lose.

    My point is they want to make this one thing into a battle, win it and move to the next. That’s letting them choose the battle field. Instead try to get them into a real battle about gun violence, not about guns. We must choose the narrative, not let them define the issue, nor use their words. That is why they always win the PR battles. It’s not just that they own the press they write the questions. We must answer their questions with better ones. In the case of gun violence and other narratives they take up, we own the truth.

    • #10
    • October 7, 2017 at 3:59 am
    • 1 like
  11. Member

    I never heard of the term until now and when I saw your original post, I thought it was about the stock market! Yes it should be banned – a no brainer – we need to get something right in this insanity.

    • #11
    • October 7, 2017 at 5:57 am
    • Like
  12. Inactive

    If it is illegal to internally modify an AR-15 to fire repeatedly, it should be illegal to externally modify an AR-15 to fire repeatedly.

    If you are arguing the libertarian line that fully automatic weapons should be legal, argue that, but I would not argue for pedantic work arounds like bump stocks.

    Having said, I freely concede the absence of bump stocks would not have stopped the Vegas massacre, it would have simply lowered the body county by low single digits. I also conce that bump firing can be done without a bump stock. But that, in and of itself, does not imply that bump stock modifications should be freely allowed.

    • #12
    • October 7, 2017 at 7:20 am
    • Like
  13. Coolidge

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    If it is illegal to internally modify an AR-15 to fire repeatedly, it should be illegal to externally modify an AR-15 to fire repeatedly.

    If you are arguing the libertarian line that fully automatic weapons should be legal, argue that, but I would not argue for pedantic work arounds like bump stocks.

    Having said, I freely concede the absence of bump stocks would not have stopped the Vegas massacre, it would have simply lowered the body county by low single digits. I also conce that bump firing can be done without a bump stock. But that, in and of itself, does not imply that bump stock modifications should be freely allowed.

    I wish people would learn about something before making absolute pronouncements.

    The bump stock is not automatic weapons fire. You have to pull the trigger for every shot. It is not a no-brainer to make it illegal. We don’t even know why this crime happened and people are already trying to change laws hoping to prevent it from happening.

    We need fewer emotions and more reason.

    • #13
    • October 7, 2017 at 7:50 am
    • 3 likes
  14. Inactive

    Meh.

    I am aware of how bump stocks work and what they do.

    • #14
    • October 7, 2017 at 8:25 am
    • Like
  15. Coolidge

    A-Squared (View Comment):
    Meh.

    I am aware of how bump stocks work and what they do.

    Then why are you wanting to make them illegal?

    Instead, the pressure should be on to make the purchase of machine guns easier, and make us free men again.

    • #15
    • October 7, 2017 at 11:16 am
    • 1 like
  16. Inactive

    As I said initially, I would prefer the argument that both should be legal. At least it’s consistent.

    I don’t see the legal distinction between the internal modification to true automatic fire and using an external modification to accomplish effectively the same thing (recognizing that bump fire has a slower rate of fire than an M-16 though modern M16A2 only fires in 3 round bursts, not full auto.)

    Personally, I would be fine with allowing 3 round bursts in civilian life.

    • #16
    • October 7, 2017 at 12:24 pm
    • Like
  17. Member

    Fred Cole: If he couldn’t use bump stocks, he would’ve found another way.

    Having used one he would have been better off just aiming and firing the regular way. Rate fire slightly lower, accuracy far higher.

    and with 3D printing any ban will be futile.

    • #17
    • October 8, 2017 at 6:59 am
    • 1 like
  18. Member

    I still don’t understand what a “bump stock” is, and neither does most of Congress. I stand athwart history and demand that things that no one had ever heard of until a few days ago should not be banned. I demand congressional hearings to elucidate the meaning of this new term. I demand to know why the Obama officials decided it was legal. I’m not saying I disagree with them, but it would be nice to have some facts and some bipartisan crow-eating.

    • #18
    • October 8, 2017 at 8:28 am
    • 1 like
  19. Member

    For a moment, I thought we were talking about some version of the stock market as implemented by Thaler and Sunstein.

    But Fred does have it right. The real goal is to confiscate guns exactly as in the UK and Australia, and Richard Epstein is a proponent.

    • #19
    • October 16, 2017 at 5:39 pm
    • 1 like