Massachusetts Bans Bump Stocks, Becomes First State To Do So

Massachusetts Bans Bump Stocks, Becomes First State To Do So
Shooting instructor Frankie McRae illustrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. The stock uses the recoil of the semiautomatic rifle to let the finger "bump" the trigger, making it different from a fully automatic machine gun, which are illegal for most civilians to own. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Anti-gun states seemed to be in a race. They wanted to see who could ban the notorious bump stock first. California, Illinois, and others all had their bills ready, but none could get it done quite fast enough. That left it to Massachusetts to take the crown as the state most likely to ban a piece of plastic in a knee-jerk reaction.

The Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting in Las Vegas transformed the “bump stock” from a redneck party trick into Public Enemy Number One.

This week Massachusetts Republican Gov. Charlie Baker took the first shot at the unusual accessory by signing a bill that bans both bump stocks and trigger cranks.

Anyone found selling or possessing either device could face between 18 months and life in prison, and the bill does not include grandfather provisions—there is no legal path to ownership for those devices already in circulation.

“These devices have one purpose, and one purpose only – to kill and to wound as many people as possible in a short period of time,” said Democratic Representative David Linsky in a statement.

Uh, actually, no. That’s not their purpose. It’s a hell of a way to waste ammo and have some fun with your buddies at the range. That’s pretty much all they were designed and built to do.

The fact that a killer used a gun to commit the horrible atrocities in Las Vegas was not a demonstration of it’s designated purpose, but a gross misuse of the product.

But anti-gun politicians can’t imagine anyone using anything purely for fun, the humorous scolds.

“They have no place in civilized society, and today in the Massachusetts House, we took an important step towards strengthening our state’s gun laws and maintaining the safety of our Commonwealth,” he continued.

Don’t you just love it when someone tells you something has no place in civilized society? You know what else has no place in civilized society? Politicians telling free citizens that they can’t own a piece of plastic if it’s shaped a certain way.

The NRA urged Massachusetts lawmakers to hold off until the BATFE issued a ruling that might have made state law unnecessary. They also argued that the penalty for possessing these devices was draconian, but politicians eager to be seen “doing something” don’t care about any of that and they never have.

So congratulations to Massachusetts on putting their knee-jerk, reactionary politics above thought and reason.

It should be noted that the bill does nothing about any underlying causes for violence in our society. There’s no effort to understand the causes of violence, nor to deal with socioeconomic factors that seem to exacerbate violence in America’s cities. That’s because doing that doesn’t make it look like politicians are “doing something,” so they eschew it for flashier legislation.

Meanwhile, people will still die and the politicians will simply pretend they need more of the same measures to combat the threats.

Not a one will look at the people who voted for them and say, “You know what? The problem really isn’t guns. The problem is some people just want to hurt others, so we should take a look at why and deal with it from that standpoint.”

Never. Gonna. Happen.

And that’s a shame because instead of something that might work, they ban a piece of plastic that remarkably few people even cared about before lawmakers wanted to ban them.