After the Las Vegas Massacre, I wrote a blog for FoxNews.com. After the tragic events in Florida, I thought it was appropriate to post it again here, on my website. Not to start a debate, but to show where the debate now stands and why nothing gets done. There are sensible gun safety regulations I would support, but honestly, because of the partisan world we live in, I have no faith in the opposition to offer anything that would prevent the tragedy that occurred, instead using the tragedy to attack law-abiding gun owners. From October 7th, 2017:
Gun control is the hot topic of the day, and as usual it’s devolved into entrenched positions where many people supporting the Second Amendment will not give an inch, no matter the proposal. Why is that?
Do people who own firearms really believe that everyone should have the right to legally modify an AR platform so that it nearly duplicates the cyclic rate of a military assault weapon?
I had this conversation recently with a friend of mine, a former special operations soldier, who now makes a living providing firearms instruction to police SWAT units. As for me, I own two AR platforms, several pistols, shotguns and other rifles. I’m also a former special operations soldier, a member of the National Rifle Association, and support and defend the Second Amendment. We both agreed that bump stocks should be illegal.
Previously, bump stocks were simply toys that allowed recreational shooters to pretend they were firing an automatic weapon on the range. Because of the bump stock’s firing system, it isn’t inherently accurate, and the wasting of ammo using it relegated it to a gimmick. That was before the massacre in Las Vegas.
Bump stocks are no longer a gimmick. Accuracy became irrelevant when the target set was a crowd of 22,000 concert-goers in an open field in Las Vegas, where 58 people were shot dead and nearly 500 were hospitalized when a gunman opened fire last Sunday in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Fully automatic weapons are currently prohibited without an enormous expenditure of time, effort and money. Any mechanical device that is designed to enhance the cyclic rate of fire of a semiautomatic weapon to duplicate that capability should be illegal – and should include devices separate from the bump stock, such as hand cranks.
I imagine the majority of gun owners would feel the same way, although I’m sure I’ll get hate mail from some.
After some vacillating from members of Congress about studies and research, the NRA finally issued a statement Thursday that called on the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “to immediately review whether these devices (bump stocks) comply with federal laws.” The statement added: “The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
Why did the NRA and staunch Second Amendment defenders in Congress not immediately call for making bump stocks illegal after the deadly rampage in Las Vegas Sunday? Why the equivocating when the issue is pretty clear-cut?
The answer is that gun owners see the fight in zero-sum terms, believing that the other side doesn’t care about preventing another Las Vegas, but instead wants to attack firearms ownership however it can. There is no faith in the intentions of gun control advocates, and for good reason.
The blood hadn’t even dried in the streets of Las Vegas before the de facto leader of the left, Hillary Clinton, tweeted about a suppressor bill currently in Congress. Immediately, the Twittersphere took up the charge, proclaiming that if the killer had used a “silencer,” the death toll would have been exponentially worse.
This is absolute hogwash, as everyone who has a modicum of knowledge about guns knows. To us, it’s a window into the true agenda. Hollywood would have you believe that a suppressor renders the bullet whisper quiet. That is simply untrue.
The shooter was four football fields away from his victims, and the sound everyone hears on the videos is not the explosion of the gunpowder, it’s the noise of the bullets breaking the sound barrier, something the suppressor does nothing to muffle.
In fact, the average suppressor simply lowers the gunfire to hearing-safe levels, but it’s certainly still loud (full disclosure: one of my AR rifles is suppressed). The fact is that suppressors would not have increased the death toll in Las Vegas, and Clinton knows it or should know it – even if her minions do not.
And yet Clinton used the tragedy of Las Vegas to further her agenda of attacking anything pertaining to firearms instead of working toward a solution to prevent a future mass casualty event. Gun owners see this, and instead of encouraging dialogue across the divide, it simply stiffens their will to resist.
Make no mistake, among ourselves gun owners are the first to decry the heinous use of a firearm. But when faced with the clearly partisan and cynical use of every event to further an overarching agenda, we close ranks reflexively – even over something as simple as the bump stock.
Gun owners are not evil. But we do fear the hidden machinations of the people espousing “common sense solutions” – especially when the proposal in question is anything but. If we as a nation truly want to work together to prevent tragedies like Las Vegas, the first requirement is trust in the good faith of the other side, and as Clinton just illustrated, that trust isn’t there.
Brad- Great post as usual, agree on most. If you kill someone with a car, no one blames the car. If you use a hammer or chainsaw (only in TX :)) no one blames the tool. If you kill someone with a gun, it’s obviously the guns fault, if we listen to the talking heads. Of course that’s hogwash, to put it politely. An individual made the decision to break the law and commit a crime that rises to the level of the most heinous. Not a tool. Let’s address the person, and not the tool chosen to kill with. I don’t have a glib or easy answer for this, and there isn’t one out there, but using that as an excuse to abrogate our rights is wrong. It is something done by those who have a control issue, and not just the gun control kind. They don’t understand different ways of doing things, and take the my way or the highway approach to politics.
I don’t agree with your position on bump stocks for this reason. It might not be your or my thing, having expended a large number of rounds on full auto courtesy of the Government, but for a lot of people it is a fun way to convert money into noise. It isn’t any more precise than most full auto fire, simulated or otherwise, but only look at Knob Creek, KY to see how popular that is. I’ll confess, rocking the Ma Deuce was a lot of fun and as long as you don’t murder your fellow man (there should be a law against that!) have at it. Great commentary otherwise, that was my only nit to pick.
PS- on an earlier blog post you mentioned 10 round mags as a reasonable limit as proper shot placement/training should deal with this. I disagree with this for three reasons.
One, there have been several instances of people shooting dry, and some of them trained police officers with Glock 17’s. I’m sure they have more training than either of our wives, but I wouldn’t want to restrict my wife in an emergency.
Two, if you train a bit, mag changes aren’t that hard- push/pull, slap the belt/slide release and back on target. Not simple, but trainable.
Three, the New York Reload is always an optional has been used by various bad sorts as a way to skip past number two, to include school shooters.
People have done bad things to others for centuries, and evil truly exists. They’ve done far worse without guns (fire, explosives, trucks, etc.) and will in the future. We need to be ready to deal with it when it happens, and not pretend the tool is the problem. Keep up the good work.
Thank you for the comment, but I’ll say that just because someone WANTS to use a bump stock to spray cans on a range doesn’t mean that it’s a God Given right. You mention Knob Creek, but everyone shooting there is shooting a weapon that has been back-checked. There are no Vegas shooters there. I’m a firm believer in the second amendment, but when a tool is used to slaughter, and that tool serves no useful purpose beyond someone wanting to “feel” like they’re firing full auto, I have no problem with removing it. We now live in a world with absolutes – IE “if you say remove the bump stock, what is the next thing?” But we also live in a world of death, IE – Las Vegas happened. As gun owners, we need to take a hard look at what we truly believe is sacrosanct, and defend that. Bump stocks? Not something I’m willing to defend. Especially after Las Vegas. Having the ability to get your joy off pretending to fire full auto is not worth the death. Yeah, I know I’ll be called an apostate, but it’s the truth. As for the ten round limit, that was specifically toward the mass shooting scenario. Yes, training could have overcome that, but let’s face some facts. The kids doing this don’t have any training. Having said that, With the plethora of magazines out in the world, that ship has probably already sailed. I got beat up pretty hard about it, but since I wrote it, I let it stand. Finally, you say that evil exists – but that evil is only allowed to use what we let them. You say they’ve done far worse with explosive, but they had to build those in the basement of a house, and have literally killed themselves as much as they’ve killed others – or the bomb was a dud. What if they didn’t have to build the bomb? What if they could just buy it at the hardware store? There is a reason that terrorists are using trucks – and it’s because other greater methods of death are not available. This is not a good argument for defending the right to bear arms.
Beware letting that camel get his nose into the tent !
Good comments but their goal is total disarmament of all civilians ,therefore only the government and criminals will be armed and the best trained of us will become criminals !
“I have no faith in the opposition to offer anything that would prevent the tragedy that occurred, instead using the tragedy to attack law-abiding gun owners.”
“I’m also a former special operations soldier, a member of the National Rifle Association, and support and defend the Second Amendment. We both agreed that bump stocks should be illegal.”
Brad, you can’t have it both ways.
One person uses a bump stock to murder with and now no law-abiding citizen should have one. I can use my thumb and belt loop, I can use a rubber band, I can polish my sear or buy/make a lightning link. If I’m intent on doing illegal things (which I’m not) I can do any of these.
You can take the position that only past military or LEO should have guns, that can be argued, but having it both ways can’t.
I see what you’re saying, but that argument could be used for anything. I’m not sure why you make it black and white that either nobody has guns, or anything involving a weapon is legal. That’s like saying if I were evil, I could make a pipe bomb in my garage like the times square and olympic bombers did, so it’s worthless even trying to stop it. We should sell pipe bombs at Home Depot for the law abiding. There IS a counter argument to your argument, in that select fire weapons are regulated by the NFA. If your argument held water, there would be a plethora of news stories about homemade NFA weapons being used in a crime or found on the street because regulating them does no good. There aren’t, because while it’s possible to build your own, very few people do.
I really appreciate your Blog as I’ve learned a considerable bit reading it.
The pipe bombs at home depot argument is a false equivalency.
I make it black and white because it is. I can turn around in my chair and look at Great Uncle Harold’s New York State License to carry a Pistol, Revolver or Firearms dated 6/24/1929. He chose to purchase his rights back from the government.
On that same day he could have bought a full auto Thompson “tommy gun” from a Sears catalog and have it delivered to his door, no background check.
You and your former SF friend will have your way and bump stocks will be illegal. It won’t change anything but you two will feel good and besides it doesn’t affect you, so no problem (the biggest enemy of Liberty is that statement, right there).
Take it to the end though. In my 14 year old’s lifetime the 2nd will be a quaint little “right” due to a death of 1,000 cuts (it already would be if we lived someplace other than Flyover Country). Semi-autos banned, more than 10 rounds, banned. Would it take only one high profile murder using a scoped rifle to ban them? I mean Statists don’t hunt, why would anyone besides SWAT or military need a scope? We’ll hang together or hang separately. It’s unfortunate, but we’ll hang separately.
I hear you, but comparing the bump stock to an entire class of weapons is overreach. Yes, your uncle could have bought a full auto in the past. You want to know why the killer in LV used a bump stock instead of a full auto? He couldn’t get one. But in your mind it would have been better that he had – just like uncle. And I was with your argument until you chose to belittle me and my “SF Friend”.
Brad, I assure you I meant no offense with saying my “SF Friend”, I have a friend who was a Green Beret. He is now a Veterinarian and we share many funny stories both of our time in Africa (we’ve both worked there) and his as a Veterinarian, which I share with others. When sharing them I always refer to him as my SF Friend or my friend who was SF. It would do average Americans good if more of us had more SF friends. Honestly man, no offense there, sorry it came off like that.
Let’s agree to disagree. For me one horrible murder doesn’t justify the ban, to you it does.
I am a Navy veteran and I enjoyed your book, “One Rough Man”. I am really tired of these mass shootings in our country. I think the trouble is that mentally ill people or people with extremely low maturity are shooting people with assault weapons. I believe assault weapons should be only in the hands of police, military, and CIA, FBI, etc. Too many people are being killed and people with no conscience are getting weapons to shoot. Also, gang members are getting guns in big cities and the murder rate is quite high. I believe the 2nd Amendment can be amended. God did not write it. Men did. If we spend another 10 or 20 years with shootings like in the Wild West or worse(Las Vegas), then we might want to consider outlawing gun ownership as in Australia.
I suggest psychological testing, closing the private sales loophole and licensing the purchaser of firearms.
Any transaction outside these parameters would subject the seller and purchaser to liability for the damage caused by use of the weapon.
I am a Navy veteran.