A lot of anti-gun campaigners were left with egg on their faces last Tuesday, after the Trump administration banned bump stocks. Lefties often complain that the Republican party never does anything about gun safety because it’s in the pocket of the NRA.
President Trump just dramatically proved them wrong. A ban on bump stocks probably won’t save any lives, but it won’t inconvenience serious shooters either – and it sends a strong message that if the president wants to ban something, lobbyists aren’t going to change his mind.
President Trump first signaled his ambition to do something about bump stocks after the Las Vegas shooting last year, when 58 people died after a madman opened fire on a concert venue. There was a delay because the BATF had ruled the stocks were accessories, so not subject to federal regulation, but Trump asked them to give it more thought. This is the result.
- Bump stocks don’t turn rifles into machineguns, but they do sort of simulate the effect. With a bump stock fitted, the shooter just has to hold the trigger down, and the weapon’s recoil will keep firing it.
- They’re pretty terrible, though. The way the stock slides between shots gives a less stable firing platform, so accuracy suffers badly. There’s a reason armies spend more money on proper automatic weapons instead of using bump stocks. No serious shooter would fit one on a rifle – they’re not in a high accuracy category.
- The NRA, usually vigilant about any suggestion of unnecessary gun control, hasn’t objected to this move so far. In fact some NRA spokespeople have said similar things – last October one asked the BATF to review the devices and make sure they comply with the law.
- The new rule banning bump stocks was signed on Tuesday morning by acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.
There’s not much chance banning bump stocks will really achieve anything. They don’t make guns more effective; although they were allegedly used in one high-profile crime – the Las Vegas massacre – the shooter would probably have done more damage with aimed fire. It does send a message though, which is that the current administration will do what it believes is right and not what pressure groups say it should. Can the Democratic Party say the same?