One thing gun people routinely tell anti-gunners is that gun laws won’t stop people from having guns.
What gun control activists count on is law-abiding gun owners to remain law-abiding indefinitely. They think that gun owners will continue to follow the law no matter how much control they enact. They think our talk of “cold dead hands” is nothing but talk.
They don’t get that there’s a line in the sand where a gun owner is willing to cross from “law-abiding gun owner” to just “gun owner.”
NPR was shocked to learn that despite a bump stock ban, people are still buying them.
There’s a countdown clock on the website for RW Arms, a Texas-based seller of firearms accessories. It tracks the days, hours, minutes and seconds until they’re no longer permitted to sell bump stocks, devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire almost as fast as illegal machine guns.
Promotional emails from RW Arms also include the countdown clock, urging customers to “order now” to “enjoy this unique firing experience” while they can.
Bump stocks are mostly a novelty, used by people who want to experience firing a gun at machine-gun speeds. But in 2017, a gunman used bump stocks to fire into a crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds. The incident caused the administration to reexamine the legality of the devices, and in December it announced the ban.
RW Arms’ sales pitch does not dwell on the fact that, by March 26, its customers will have to destroy or hand in any bump stocks they buy. In fact, no bump stocks will be “grandfathered in.” The new federal rule reclassifies them all as “machine guns,” no matter when they were purchased, and owning one will become a felony.
But it’s anyone’s guess how many people will dispose of their bump stocks. About half a million of the devices have been sold since 2010, and so far relatively few have been turned in to authorities — even in the handful of states that banned them before the federal rule came out in December.
One reason may be a lingering hope that the ban will be reversed. Gun rights activists have filed several lawsuits, accusing the government of bowing to political pressure when the ATF reversed its earlier findings that bump stocks were legal.
Still others just flat out don’t care.
Look, I’m not a bump stock fan. I think they’re kind of dumb. They might be fun, but they’re just not something that’s ever interested me all that much. The only drive I ever had to own one came from the push to ban them. Since I didn’t bother to get one, the ban doesn’t affect me.
All that said, I understand why some people are getting them now. I understand, and I suspect that most who are buying now are doing so primarily because they’re being banned. They don’t like the idea of being told they can’t own something, so they’re getting it while they can. After the ban goes into effect, they’ll still have them and not a damn soul will know whether they do or don’t, which shows just how stupid the bump stock ban is in the first place.
It’s completely unenforceable. All it amounts to is a law that can be slapped on someone if it happens to be found.
Meanwhile, people will still bump fire. It doesn’t need a stock, after all. It’s just a process that the stocks tried to make easier. People will still do it, whether they have the stocks or not.
Which is yet another reason why the ban is stupid.
Regardless, many are buying, and I suspect few will turn theirs in or destroy them. It seems many of these folks found their line in the sand.