Biden Calls on Congress to Pass Bump Stock Ban

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As expected, Joe Biden is demanding Congress adopt a bump stock ban after the Supreme Court ruled the ATF overstepped its authority in imposing a ban on the devices on its own after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas. In fact, Biden used today's decision to once again call on Congress to ban semi-automatic rifles arbitrarily labeled "assault weapons" as well. 


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he's ready to move on legislation, though he noted that it will take several Republicans to get the bill out of the upper chamber. 

There are 51 senators who caucus with Democrats, so even if they all were in support of the ban Schumer would need to convince 9 Republicans to get on board in order for it to clear the Senate. The GOP senators most likely to do so, in my opinion, are Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins, but that would still leave Schumer a half-dozen votes short of passage. 

But can Schumer rely on every Democrat (and "independents" like Angus King, Joe Manchin, and Kyrsten Sinema) to back a ban? Yeah, probably. Embattled senators facing a tough reelection fight like Jon Tester might not be willing to vote for a semi-auto ban before November, but a bump stock ban would be a different story, especially with his fellow Democrats fearmongering about the decision.


Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) had strong words for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s decision on Friday that struck down the ban on bump stocks.

During a segment with CNN anchor Brianna Keilar, Heinrich said Thomas was “not being honest” in the majority opinion he issued on the case and called the decision “incredibly offensive.” Keilar pointed out that Thomas wrote heavily on the mechanisms of bump stocks and how they worked compared to firearms without one, quoting his decision: “A bump stock does not convert a semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun, any more than a shooter with a lightning-fast trigger finger does.”

Heinrich never did explain what was dishonest about Thomas's decision. Instead, he maintained "street gangs and cartels and mass shooters" are going to use the devices to slaughter American citizens. 

Of course, Heinrich wants to go much further than a ban on bump stocks. He's also the author of the Gas Operated Semi-Automatic Firearm Exclusion Act, which would prohibit the sale and manufacture of the vast majority of semi-automatic rifles and impose a ban on ammunition magazines that can hold more than ten rounds. 

I don't think Biden's call for an "assault weapons" ban is going to get far in the Senate. His demand for a ban on bump stocks faces an uphill fight as well, but there's at least a slim chance that 9 Republicans will fall in line and back prohibiting the sale and manufacture of bump stocks going forward. "Republicans want gang members to use machine guns" is total B.S., but there's a lot riding on how much fear Democrats are able to gin up over the Cargill decision, so expect more full-throated freakouts from Heinrich and other Democrats in the days ahead.


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