“A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.” — Steve Martin
Can it be that a gun control idea has formed that is so weak and ineffectual that even Republicans, even the NRA, think it might have merit? In the aftermath of the horrific Las Vegas shooting massacre, it is proposed that bump stocks be regulated. Or, more accurately, considered for regulation.
Here’s what I learned about bump stocks:
A guy from Montana was firing his semiauto, and noticed the force of the recoil on his shoulder. He wondered if that force could be re-directed to the trigger, so as to have the rifle function as fully automatic. He made progress on his imaginative idea, and created a workable device.
He made a bunch of the things, and sold them out of the back of his car at gun shows. He figured they cost about $3 to make. He sold them for $25 each. He made a few bucks, and was happy with his invention. But he was told to patent it. Someone recommended a patent attorney from southeast Michigan.
He got the patent, and he also got some good advice; he needed help with marketing. There was a problem with the price point. It was far too low. He repriced his bump stocks at $125, did a little promotion, and became a very wealthy man in a short amount of time.
I don’t how he reacted to the Las Vegas mass murders, but let’s keep in mind, bump stocks don’t kill people, people kill people.
Glossary of terms
• Repeater fire – one round fired with trigger pull, and then the gun must be manipulated in some fashion to chamber the next round, such a lever action 30-30, or a pump action shotgun, or a bolt action 30.06
• Semiautomatic fire – one round per trigger squeeze
• Automatic fire – continuous fire once the trigger is pulled once
• Magazine – a device to hold rounds, with a spring to facilitate loading (often incorrectly called a clip)
• Bump stocks — devices that effectively convert semiautomatic rifles into fully automatic rifles. In our country, machine guns are prohibited, despite the Second Amendment (and the not-so-much-adhered-to idea of well-regulated militias).
With the purchase and installation of an inexpensive bump stock, a completely legal AR-15 (civilian version of the M-16) can function as fully automatic, without the need for (illegal) gunsmithing adaptations. Naturally, a large capacity magazine would be best if using a rifle with a bump stock.
Trump said, after the Las Vegas mass murders, “It’s too soon to talk about gun control.” But maybe not, if some little issue could be found that even the Republicans and the NRA could back. “We’re not opposed to considering reasonable gun control measures,” I can imagine hearing.
There doesn’t seem to be much talk about semiautomatic weapons, or large capacity magazines. In Australia, the laws prohibit semiautos as well as full autos, and large capacity magazines. They have a 28-day waiting period before the purchase of a firearm. If a sheep farmer has a problem with predation of his flock, he has can address that with a rifle. He just can’t buy it today. And he can’t buy it without being cleared to do so, even if he wants to buy it at a gun show, unlike here. Yet the farmers can still kill the dingoes. The hunters can still hunt.
There is no reason to have a fully automatic rifle, except in war. I was glad to have my M-16 in Vietnam. I was glad the gunners had M-60s. But I can’t think of why a fully automatic rifle – or a semiauto equipped with a bump stock – would be useful in hunting. Maybe a whole herd of deer attack a deer hunter all at once? That can’t be it.
Maybe it’s like the East Grand Rapids county commissioner some time ago who just thought it was fun to shoot a machine gun. He got a permit of some sort, bought an old machine gun, and he and his buddies had a gay old time shooting in Leroy, Mich., a sparsely populated area south of Cadillac. Oops, though. Some of the machine gun fire hit a nearby home. Fortunately, no one was injured, but people in the area were not amused. Neither, perhaps, were the people from East Grand Rapids. He lost his next bid for re-election.
So, we can wait and see if the Republicans, and the NRA, and Donald start down the slippery slope by considering regulating bump stocks. That should solve the problem.