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AP Says He Used a Bump Stock

According to the Associated Press, the gunman in Las Vegas used a bump stock. The legality of bump stocks is interesting, because they are legal or illegal depending. What a bump stock does is provide a channel for the receiver of the firearm to ride back and forth in. You place your finger in the trigger guard, then pull the receiver forward in the stock onto your finger which depresses the trigger and fires the rifle. The recoil forces the receiver back in the stock so that your finger releases the trigger and it resets. Pull forward again and you start the cycle over again. If you apply continued forward pressure, with a bit of finesse you can use the recoil of the gun to achieve a cyclic rate of fire very close to fully automatic fire.

ATF has concluded this is legal, because the law defines a machine gun as a firearm which fires two or more shots “with a single function of the trigger,” and in this case the shooter’s finger is pulling the trigger for each shot. You can do bump firing without a sliding stock, of course, but it’s more difficult to achieve.

However, if you put a spring in a bump stock, such that the spring pushes the receiver back into your finger, this is considered an illegal conversion and you’ll go to jail. The ATF considers the spring to be a machine gun. It’s a device pushing the trigger into the finger, not the shooter. So the shooter is only doing one function of the trigger, while the firearm is continuously firing because of the action of the spring. That is, legally, a machine gun.

I’ll be completely honest with you, if we could get SHARE and National Reciprocity through, I’d trade making bump stocks machine guns. But I don’t think we’ll have to do that. Our opponents will overreach, they will try to ban semi-automatics, our people will arise and push back, and they will end up with nothing in the end.

33 Responses to “AP Says He Used a Bump Stock”

  1. HappyWarrior6 says:

    No. I would take plastic pieces being defined as: plastic pieces. Redefining things as “MODIFIED MACHINE GUNS OH NOES!!!!!!!!!!111ELEVENTY” is a bridge too far.

    Personally, I want guns (which includes machine guns) not banned. Anything to further that goal is fine by me. Redefining physics by law does not fly.

    EDITED to add: But I do agree with you, Sebastian. In the end it will be overreach. The same players will be in the act: Feinstein, Blumenthal, and, oh yes, we will probably see Manchin/Toomey start their hijinx once again to give cover to “moderate GOP senators in close elections in 2018” (see: Dean Heller). In the end, same old same old. Everyone walks away with the status quo.

  2. beatbox says:

    Glad you said it. I agree. Bump stocks are a dumb toy that hurt the effort. Instead of ATF re-classification, couldn’t Congress just pass a law banning them?

    And how do those gat triggers bypass NFA?

    • bor says:

      Bumpfire stocks, as silly as they, should not be banned, because it is unconstitutional for the government to ban them.

      • Sebastian says:

        Good luck with that in Court. We’re going to be very lucky to get constitutional protection of semi-automatic firearms, let alone machine guns. For better or worse, Heller implied that machine guns do not have constitutional protection.

        • bor says:

          I didn’t say the Court would agree with me. I know they would not. The Second is why I think they should not be banned, just like any other firearm.

      • beatbox says:

        Good luck explaining how this accessory, that enables the gun to mimic (almost) a full auto weapon in terms of practical effect it critical to your 2A rights. You’d be lucky to get it NFA

        • bor says:

          I can explain exactly how machine guns are protected by the second amendment. It was written to protect military arms:

          “The power of the sword, say the minority…, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for The powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every terrible implement of the soldier are the birthright of Americans.

          Tench Coxe
          Pennsylvania Gazette, Feb. 20, 1788.”
          https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Tench_Coxe

          Would the court agree with me? Of course not. They have been complicit with the state and federal gov in violating the Second Amendment for many decades now. There is a difference in what the truth is (machine guns should be protected) and what the political creatures who interpret the Constitution will admit. I am not delusional enough to the thing MGs are going to be deregulated.

          • Sebastian says:

            To be clear, I agree with you. But some folks think saving machine guns for the 2nd Amendment is achievable. It is not, and that won’t change anytime soon. A few decades from now, I wouldn’t predict. But for now it’s not happening.

    • Sebastian says:

      Same way gatling guns are Title I firearms. The law says trigger, not crank. So it’s not a machine gun. Though, as soon as you put an electric motor on the crank, then whatever switch you use is considered a trigger, and if one function of it fires more than one round, you have yourself a machine gun.

      I don’t put trigger cranks in the same category as bump stocks. You could 3D print one in a few minutes. It’s so trivially easy to make one, there’s no point in trying to restrict them. In truth, a bump fire stock is probably really easy to make too.

    • aerodawg says:

      Better start banning shoe strings then, because a shoestring can be used to quickly convert any rifle with a reciprocating charging handle to actual full auto…..

      • Sebastian says:

        The shoe string conversion is already illegal, and yes, the shoe string is considered the “machine gun” :)

        • aerodawg says:

          Yeah I know, and it’s ridiculous for the same reason a bump stock is. If I have shoes and a rifle is that constructive possession? Could you say the same for the ole pre-stock bump sticks people used?

  3. Thirdpower says:

    The stupidest meme I’ve seen beyond the normal ‘no one needs…’ nonsense is the bit about firearm ownership being a right but not healthcare. It’s been posted over and over again.

    I’ve been avoiding the political stuff on FB lately but I so want to respond to that one.

    It still amazes me (although by now it shouldn’t, I know) that some of the most intelligent people I know believe the stupidest nonsense when it comes to firearms and/or the NRA.

  4. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    I’ll be completely honest with you, if we could get SHARE and National Reciprocity through, I’d trade making bump stocks machine guns.

    Agreed. I hate more laws, but I would take that deal.

    • Sebastian says:

      I think trying to ban bump fire stocks is silly, because it’s easy to make one. And you can still bump fire without a special stock if you practice at it.

      But right now, we probably can’t get SHARE or NR through the Senate, even before this happened. I’d trade those silly things to get those bills through and get it done before the stupid Republicans piss away their majority.

  5. Patrick says:

    A local TV station got a few pics of two of the guns used and they look like police photos: https://twitter.com/JacquiHeinrich/status/915182518587891712

    One is a standard AR config with what looks like a 30-round PMAG, scope and bipod. The other is an AR with EOTech (or clone) using what looks like the SureFire 100 round mag and no bipod. That same rifle seems to have a “bump fire” stock, but I’m not familiar enough to say what kind. Also it looks like it has a muzzle brake, so it was bound to be loud and echo two times to Friday.

    Based on position in the room, the scoped AR was close to the window (note hammer used to break glass next to the gun) – suggesting it was the last gun used.

    Sick if that is what happened because it shows some serious forethought.

  6. I would also gladly trade bumpstocks for the new share law and trigger cranks for the national reciprocity. While I don’t think we should have to trade anything for anything … neither bumpstocks or cranks arguably add to my 2nd amendment right and losing them wouldn’t detract from it. And the benefit of SHARE and reciprocity would more than make up for it (I think the latter would literally save the gun culture).

    I’ve looked as both bumpstocks and cranks as being amusing ways to fire off a lot of expensive bullets in a way that sounds like a machine gun with none of the benefits (i.e. can’t aim well/can’t control from a hand held position). But it didn’t occur to me frankly that someone would get a long distance perch and open up sustained fire on a 22,000 strong crowd of people in an open, but contained space.

    So I’d give them up for stuff that matters. The reality of politics is it often 2 steps forward and one step back (if you’re winning, vice versa if you’re not) and SHARE and reciprocity would be two monster steps forward and loss of those things would be annoying but minor steps back.

    • Patrick says:

      You do realize that SHARE/HPA allows states to ban silencers, right? SHARE’s supremacy clause only prevents the implementation of state tax specific to them – not outright banning.

      Once you can buy silencers over the counter with NICS, what are the chances 9-10 states won’t just ban them outright? For instance, in MD you can buy suppressors, but pretty sure they will probably outright ban possession once the HPA part of SHARE becomes law. So the end result might be many suppressor-owning people losing their property. And I highly suspect “likely to create more gun control” is viewed as anything but a feature by the GOPe (Ryan/McConnell, etc.).

      Reciprocity would be great, provided it was of the HB38 House version and not the Senate version. The House version covers constitutional carry states and allows CA people to carry in CA using a UT license. The Senate version allows neither.

      True, either law would end up in court, but at least we’d get some questions answered.

      • MattW says:

        Can’t States already ban silencers? And don’t several states, including California, do just that? SHARE would still be a major step forward even if it maintains the status quo for states that want to continue to outright ban silencers.

        • Patrick says:

          I can only speak for MD but the reason they didn’t ban them in 2013 was specifically because NFA was difficult enough to slow down casual buyers, and because of the impression that it was more stringent than NICS for those that ran the gauntlet. I doubt MD is alone in that thinking.

          So yes, I expect any HPA-like bill under consideration to result in fewer states where people can own silencers. I also understand that people in some states will find it easier to own.

          That discrepancy is, in my opinion, one of the defining features of the bill – I think the establishment calls it “splitting the herd”. That’s also why it will somehow miraculously get through the Senate while HR38 will die in McConnell’s hands.

        • Exactly. And in any case it appears as though Ryan as killed Share for now. At least he’s not actively trying to hurt us, but Republicans sure don’t do much for us.

          • Patrick says:

            Damn right. The GOP establishment really, really doesn’t like us. And by “us”, I mean anyone who voted Republican but doesn’t support their progressive agenda. We are little more than dumb hick voters to them.

            The GOP will talk and talk but do nothing. Obamacare was the perfect example: they passed that bill multiple times out so long as it would get the Obama veto…but suddenly couldn’t find the (same) votes when it would actually get signed by Trump. Do you know how many of those lying RINOs lost chairmanships or other congressional luxuries? None. Not one.

            A few Senators tanked almost ten years of GOP promises and not one Senator lost privileges. That is horrible leadership at best, or at worst leadership using the rank and file to kill the agenda they supposedly espouse.

            I just read an article where Pence’s Chief of Staff told a bunch of big GOP donors they should deny cash and support to these RINOs that are in the way of the agenda. Oh, and also promise to fund primary challengers. The audience was receptive according to the audio. Hope it happens. We need McConnell gone, and Ryan with him.

            So yeah, the President and even Pence are pretty fed up with these guys. We need some spines in Congress – especially when the MSM/DNC complex will use Vegas to do anything they can to further restrict our rights.

            Anyone doubt Ryan and McConnell won’t bend like old wet straw when faced with Bloomberg’s wind?

  7. Brad says:

    If Slidefire stocks are banned, no doubt Defense Distributed will quickly release a file for home 3D printing of such devices.

  8. It looks like SHARE is dead for the moment. Not too surprised. Here in Colorado we had fought out the first “shall issue” CCW bill in 1999 and it was ready for the final process with all the necessary power brokers in place … and then the Columbine Murders happened. It was 2 or 3 years before we were able to bring it back (and just in time — the state turned blue after that)

    • Sebastian says:

      That was a fore drawn conclusion. The trick will be getting the pressure back up once the heat dies down. Their preference will be inaction.

  9. Richard says:

    AP is also reporting that the perp did 6 years as an IRS agent. Long time ago.

  10. RAH says:

    My guess is the ATF will reclassify the bump stock and trigger crank making them illegal It was a stunt to replicate fast fire for fun. Not a real loss for gun rights.
    Congress will not enact any gun related legislation They are terrified of PO the gun rights voters and also terrified of the Democrats gun controlling voters So it will be stalled for inaction.

    SHARE is dead this session Get it back next session Getting legislation favorable to us is always a long tenacious haul.

    I would have thought allowing Congress to carry in DC would have been easy after GOP were a target to be killed But no they did not do anything The best news is the Wrenn decision I doubt DC will appeal to SCOTUS which could make CCW nationwide.

    • “My guess is the ATF will reclassify the bump stock and trigger crank making them illegal It was a stunt to replicate fast fire for fun. Not a real loss for gun rights.”

      Totally agree with the facts of your statement. The problem is that a “Bump Stock” was really just a way to create a device to do what people were doing anyway by holding the gun right or using an elastic band of some sort. And a crank is something that I’m guessing about anybody could figure out a way to devise.

      So while I think a bump stock and crank ban would be useless and just force people who like such things to build their own, I don’t think it affects our 2nd amendment rights or empowerments because neither was really effective for anything but spraying an area with bullets. And that something an unorganized milita generally doesn’t have the ammo supplies ot do.

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