While it’s understandable that people are freaked out by bump stocks, they’ve been around for years and we have exactly one instance of anyone using them for anything other than just good, clean fun. While Las Vegas was horrific, it doesn’t undermine the positive track record for the blasted things. Too bad it doesn’t stop some people from trying to ban them.
In Virginia, new Governor Ralph Northam and his gun control agenda took another hit when a bump stock ban bill died ingloriously in a House subcommittee.
A House subcommittee shot down multiple gun control bills Thursday despite a tear-filled statement from a survivor of last fall’s Las Vegas shooting who urged legislators to ban bump stocks.
Cortney Carroll of Henrico County was one of several citizen lobbyists who attended the meeting of the Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee. She urged delegates to support HB 41, which aimed to ban the sale of bump stocks, devices that significantly increase the number of rounds that can be fired per minute.
Carroll had been at the country music festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 when Stephen Paddock, using rifles fitted with bump stocks, killed 58 people and injured about 550.
“I believe in guns, but I just don’t think these are necessary,” Carroll said. “Think of your children, your family, your friends. Please don’t let [Las Vegas] happen again, not in our state.”
The subcommittee chairman, Republican Del. Thomas Wright of Amelia County, said that while he empathized with Carroll’s perspective, he did not think banning bump stocks was the answer.
“Until the evil in people’s hearts changes, the laws we pass cannot fix that,” he said.
The same committee heard testimony on the state’s HB 602 which would require people applying for a concealed carry permit to demonstrate “competence” with a firearm. It died as well.
While Northam was elected governor, Republicans in the legislative branch were also elected, and they have a duty to their constituents. Part of that is to protect the right of ordinary Virginians to keep and bear arms with as few hassles as humanly possible. Northam, however, will not be deterred. I fully expect more and more of these bills to be proposed, as well as see Mikey Bloomberg and company start throwing money around in state house and senate races.
Nevermind that a bump stock ban won’t stop bump firing. Nevermind that the same thing can be replicated with things like a rubber band or a belt loop. Nevermind that the law would accomplish absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. All that matters to people like Northam is that they can restrict what people like you and I own. They want to make it clear they’re in charge or something.
Republicans in the Virginia House recognize that and acted accordingly. They slapped down a desperate grab at an item that has exactly one instance of malicious misused in its entire history. Northam wants to push through gun control? Well, there are still Republicans in the Virginia legislature that aren’t close to ready to let that happen.
Which is good news for Virginia.