American politics circa 2018

Left: Trump move to ban bump stocks, expand background checks is terrible because the NRA supports it

By —— Bio and Archives--February 22, 2018

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Left: Trump move to ban bump stocks, expand background checks is terrible because the NRA supports it
Nikolas Cruz did not use a bump stock at Parkland, but Stephen Paddock did in Vegas, and even most Second Amendment stalwarts seemed to agree at the time that you don’t need a bump stock - which is basically an add-on making a non-automatic rifle function like an automatic - in order to exercise your right to keep and bear arms.

So when President Trump announced on Tuesday that he wants the Justice Department to issue regualtions effectively banning them, that would seem if nothing else to be a minimal move everyone could get behind. But remember, gun control is about politics, not about preventing mass murder. Nothing can be a good idea if the NRA doesn’t object to it:

President Trump — under pressure from angry, grieving students from a Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last week — ordered the Justice Department on Tuesday to issue regulations banning so-called bump stocks, which convert semiautomatic guns into automatic weapons like those used last year in the massacre of concertgoers in Las Vegas.

A day earlier, Mr. Trump signaled that he was open to supporting legislation that would modestly improve the national gun background check system, and on Tuesday night, he posted on Twitter that Democrats and Republicans “must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!”

But Mr. Trump’s first embrace as president of any gun control measures was dismissed by gun control supporters as minor. The National Rifle Association supports the background check legislation and also backs bump stock regulation, although not an outright ban.

Speaking at the White House days after a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Mr. Trump said that he had directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to develop the regulations.

“We cannot merely take actions that make us feel like we are making a difference,” Mr. Trump said at a ceremony as he conferred the medal of valor on public safety officials. “We must actually make a difference.”

I’m not convinced banning bump stocks will make any different at all if the goal is to prevent mass shootings, for the same reason I’ve argued all along that legal access to firearms is not the cause of the problem. Cruz didn’t need one. His AR-15 was perfectly adequate for the job, even if he didn’t kill as many people as Paddock did.

But more to the point, he had the will to do it and not enough fear of consquences to stop him. If Cruz had entered the school with a pistol, he could have killed 17 people, especially when you consider that schools are a “gun-free zone,” which means no one except maybe one armed security guard is in any position to even try to shoot back. You can fire a lot of rounds of a pistol before the security guard catches up to you or before the police arrive - unless, of course, you happen upon a teacher who’s trained and packing, in which case your would-be victims at least have a fighting chance.

I find it amazing how the gun-grabbers insist no good guy with a gun has a chance to make a different, but no bad guy with a gun can possibly be stopped by anything but a complete ban on all guns. Which is it?

As for the bump stock ban, what you’re really talking about is banning one method of modifying an already powerful rifle. I don’t think the Second Amendment comes crashing down if you do that, but I also don’t think it makes more than a marginal difference. The person deranged enough to commit mass murder is not going to go home and make tea instead because you took away one potential weapon in his arsenal - and again, that’s assuming you could stop the circulation of bump stocks by making them illegal, which I doubt.

We’re dealing with the wrong problem here, but then we usually do.


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Dan Calabrese -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dan Calabrese’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain

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