From the moment it was revealed that the Las Vegas shooter was using a bump-fire stock, it was inevitable that a lawmaker would step up to rid us of this scourge. Our white knight has, indeed, arrived and her name is Dianne Feinstein.
Unfortunately, as the Law of Unintended Consequences dictates, her proposal may impact a lot more than just ban bump-fire stocks.
Here’s the relevant section:
Except as provided in paragraph (2), on and after the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection, it shall be unlawful for any person to import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, a trigger crank, a bump-fire device, or any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.
The issue is in the definition of “accelerate.” Bumpfire stocks are an obvious step, and are specifically named. The same with hand cranks for triggers. But the bill wants to make anything which increases the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle illegal, yet it doesn’t do a good job of outlining exactly what that means.
For semi-automatic firearms the rate of fire is completely subjective. An untrained shooter and Jerry Miculek will be able to achieve two very different rates of fire with the same firearm. The bill thankfully isn’t silly enough to outlaw training sessions and gym memberships — it concerns itself only with attachments and physical devices. Tools like the bumpfire stock are obvious targets, but other factors can have similar effects.
Lighter replacement triggers are a great example. A lighter trigger in a firearm can allow the shooter to fire faster than with a heavy trigger simply because their finger is less fatigued. We reviewed one such trigger years ago, the Geissele S3G trigger, which absolutely increases the rate at which a shooter can fire their weapon. For that reason, according to Feinstein’s bill the Geissele S3G trigger would be illegal to posses in the United States.
I’m not quite as sure since I suspect it will come down to an interpretation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
At that point, every gun owner who replaces his trigger can be doing something perfectly legal today, and then tomorrow a different interpretation can turn everyone who has replaced their trigger into a felon.
Yeah, no way to see the problem with that, now is there?
To top it off, it won’t actually stop bump fire. Watch this video starting at about 1:45.
Are we going to ban belt loops next?
What about this?
That’s a quick, aimed fire without a bump-fire stock, though it’s possible it isn’t a stock trigger. Regardless, the factor here isn’t the trigger so much as the shooter. Travis Haley is just fast. Maybe not Jerry Michulek fast, but still plenty fast.
Feinstein’s bill is the typical reaction we see politicians do when they want to do something, anything, just to be seen to do something, even if it’s a complete dumpster fire.