But they're not coming for your guns…

October 16th, 2017

Another mass shooting, another opportunity to politicians ignore the root causes and just exploit it for pet legislation.  Here's the rundown of what has been proposed on the federal level so far.

HR 3998: the Protect America Act of 2017.  What an inspiring name! This one claims its purpose is to deny firearms sales to "known or suspected terrorists."  So, if you're on a vague, unconstitutional list with no notification or due process, you can be denied the right to own a gun.  This has nothing to do with the Las Vegas shooter.

HR 3999: the "bump stock" bill.  This would outlaw "bump fire" stocks, as well as "any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but does not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun."  That language is vague enough to include any replacement trigger, even one that simply makes a hunting rifle more accurate or a pistol easier to shoot for someone with weak hands.  While it might seem to be relevant to the shooting, bump fire can be performed without the silly stock, and the language about triggers is vague enough to snare innocent people in a statutory trap.  And that's exactly the idea.

HR 4018: a 3-day waiting period for handguns.  Waiting periods have never been proven to do anything, and several states have repealed them.  Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Las Vegas shooting.

HR 4025: Multiple Firearm Sales Reporting Modernization Act of 2017.  Currently, licensed dealers are required to report multiple handgun sales in a 5-day period to a single person.  This act would apply that requirement to all firearms.  I've seen no indication that the Las Vegas shooter bought multiple guns at once, so this is pretty much more burdensome paperwork for dealers and nothing more.

HR 4052: a ban on transfer or possession of "high capacity" magazines.  This one outlaws all magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of centerfire ammunition.  Notice it bans possession.  That means all magazines currently lawfully owned would have to be turned in or destroyed.

S 1945 is basically the Senate version, charmingly titled the Keep Americans Safe Act.

S 1923: Background Check Completion Act of 2017.  This outlaws what Hillary Clinton referred to as the "Charleston loophole."  Currently, the FBI has three business days to conduct a background check and determine if a buyer is prohibited from taking possession of a firearm.  If they can't provide a result within that period, the buyer is assumed to be legal and the dealer can transfer the gun.  This bill would make it so the buyer cannot take possession until the dealer receives a definitive "proceed" result from the FBI, a process that can sometimes take months, and sometimes never happens.  This one's easy:  simply shut down the NICS system, and nobody gets a gun.  Again, this has no connection to the Las Vegas shooting.

HR 3962: Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act of 2017.  This one's fairly obvious, and like the others, does not seem to have anything to do with the Las Vegas shooting.  What it does do is make it very diffivult for people in areas without nearby gun shops to get ammunition.

HR 3987: Protecting Americans from Gun Violence Act of 2017.  Oh, this one is great.  It stipulates a fee on background checks (which we were promised was never going to happen as a condition of getting the Brady Act passed in the first place), the funds from which will go to funding CDC research into "gun violence."  It also requires lost or stolen firearms to be reported to the police within 48 hours.  Failure to do so is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to a year in prison for each firearm.  Again, this has nothing to do with…well, you get the point.

Something needs to be clarified about "bump stocks" at this point.  They've been around for quite some time.  In 1996, the ATF grudgingly ruled that the Akins Accelerator was not a "machine gun."  They were technically correct.  The National Firearms Act has a very specific definition, to wit:

Any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.

With bump stocks, the trigger is being cycled rapidly, but it is still only firing one shot per pull.  Therefore, it's not a machine gun, and the ATF can't classify it as such.

Lately, we've been hearing that the Obama administration is somehow to blame for this because the ATF offered similar approval to the Slide Fire stock in 2010.  This had nothing to do with politics; it's a matter of technology.  The ATF cannot change the definition under the law.  That's the job of the legislature.

And therein lies the problem.  There are several different mechanisms to allow bump fire, and outlawing them all is going to require specific wording.  HR 3999 gets around that by being so vague as to be dangerous.  Furthermore, you don't need to buy an aftermarket product to bump fire a gun.  French revolutionaries rigged guns with wire to do so in World War II, and many shooters are aware of a trick involving rubber bands and belt loops.

Are we then to ban the practice of bump firing as well as the hardware?  We're going down a pointless rabbit hole here, all based on the same asinine assumption that we can stop malicious actors by banning certain pieces of hardware.

None of the legislative proposals listed above would have done anything to stop the Las Vegas shooting, and even if passed, they won't stop future shootings.  It's nothing but virtue signaling for gun-control advocates and "concerned" celebrities.

  1. Alexander wrote, running Mozilla Firefox 56.0 on Linux

    Interesting blog, glad to have found it. Got here through the window maker website but the other content seems cool. wew lad.

    Comment on November 6, 2017 @ 12:04 am

  2. Shinpai wrote, running Safari 537.32 on Mac OS

    It seems every country with strict gun laws has problems with outsiders blowing them up. If not, then insiders (Mexico).

    Comment on November 21, 2017 @ 4:36 pm

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