The Las Vegas massacre has brought the gun control debate once again to the fore. Politicians on both sides of the aisle have been made to respond, and to even modify their take on gun control and, “bump stocks” which were found with the shooter – Stephen Paddock.
The debate is centered around a firearm peripheral called a “bump stock.” When attached to a semiautomatic gun, this modification uses the gun’s own recoil to jostle the gun in the user’s hand, so that the user presses the gun’s trigger faster than they would otherwise be able to. This modification can, in some cases, even simulate the firing rate of a fully automatic firearm.
In a surprising turn of events, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was also among those that responded to the shooting by modifying their stance on certain aspects of gun control. Their statement read, “In Las Vegas, reports indicate that certain devices were used to modify the firearms involved. Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.”
Their statement concludes by declaring, “the NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.”
This statement puzzled many in the gun rights community, and left certain politicians scratching their head at the actions of the usually stubborn and dogged NRA. And while one might expect Democratic politicians to be supportive of the NRA’s new position, this was not at all the case.
Democratic Senator, Richard Blumenthal, tweeted, in response to the NRA’s announcement that, “The NRA call for review & regulation of bump stocks is a dangerous, deceptive dodge, Bump stocks should be banned completely – right now.”
The Republicans similarly reacted to this statement, though many of the Republicans have already established that they would be ‘OK’ with banning the bump stocks, while President Trump himself said on record that they would be looking at the issue as a priority shortly.
Critics of the NRA’s new stance on “bump stocks” argue that a ban would do little to deter mad men and terrorists from getting ahold of the firearm peripheral. They point out that whoever is readily willing to slaughter hundreds of innocent lives will be able to find a way to obtain the device – even if that means creating one from scratch, at home.