Call me crazy, but I don’t really understand the appeal of bump stocks. To me, they’re just an expensive gimmick that needlessly sacrifices accuracy and ammunition. However, with some gun owners looking for a way around the regulations against automatic weapons, the stocks have proven to be a convenient option.
Until now, bump stocks have received very little scrutiny. For most gun owners, the stocks aren’t particularly useful for hunting or self-defense. Since they hand’t turned up at crime scenes, regulators have had a pretty passive attitude about the device as well. But now that it appears Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock used bump stocks during his concert killing spree, the once mostly-unknown device has received national attention.
Predictably, the use of bump stocks in Las Vegas has resulted in calls for them to be banned. As usual, the charge is being led by Democrats, but even some Republicans have expressed a willingness to cooperate. If gun control advocates are going to pass any legislation during this period of outrage, it looks like bump stocks are the prime target.
Of course, calls to ban bump stocks have resulted in some unintended consequences. Whenever a mass shooting happens, there are always calls for more gun control. Whenever there are calls for more gun control, gun sales go through the roof. This time, the same appears to be happening for bump stocks.
From the Houston Chronicle:
The Texas-based manufacturer of “bump stocks,” the accessory used to accelerate gunfire in the Las Vegas massacre, has temporarily suspended its online sales due to overwhelming demand.
Slide Fire, based in Moran, 40 miles east of Abilene, posted a notice on its website that it was no longer taking orders “to provide the best service with those already placed.” The company is the largest producer of the device.
Bump Fire Systems, also in Moran and operated by the same owners as Slide Fire, also posted on its website that it was temporarily halting orders “due to extremely high demands.”
Considering how slow Washington is to act, tens of thousands of bump stocks are likely to be purchased before any legislation has passed. Once sold, the government is unlikely to be able to keep track of them in the future.
Of course, this is one of the fundamental flaws of any gun control effort. Even if there were a full scale ban on all guns, authorities would never be able to keep track of the 300 million privately owned firearms already in the country. With bump stocks, the federal government would run into the same problem.
Considering that, until now, bump stocks have not posed any danger to the public, it’s hard to understand making rash political decisions while emotions are running high. While a bump stock ban might make politicians feel better, it is unlikely to save any lives. After all, reports indicate that Paddock was also in procession of illegal explosives, proving that passing laws is an ineffective solution.
Moreover, we all know how much damage a mad man with a truck can do.
Perhaps, Congress could focus on making the lives of every day Americans better — not just on writing laws that will have very little impact on their safety.
[Note: This post was authored by Michael Lee. Follow him on Twitter @UAMichaelLee]