Seriously? We Can’t Even Ban Bump Stocks?

Cortney Carroll, survivor of the Las Vegas mass shooting, talks to local media at the General Assembly. Photo credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch

In a 4-to-3, party-line vote, the House Militia, Police and Public Safety subcommittee killed a bill yesterday that would ban bump stocks — a mechanism, made notorious by October 1 mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music concert, which allows semiautomatic weapons to fire more like automatic weapons. 

I’m skeptical of many gun control measures and much of the rhetoric emanating from anti-gun crusaders, but after the Las Vegas massacre, which left 58 people dead and 851 injured, I figured it would be no-brainer to ban bump stocks. I’m not a gun owner — indeed, the only gun I’ve ever shot was a 22-caliber rifle when I was 12 years old — so I’ll confess to a vast depth of ignorance on the subject. But I can see no possible justification for bump stocks, which are clearly meant to circumvent the ban on automatic weapons.

Las Vegas provided a vivid example of how bump stocks can be used to magnify the horror of a mass shooting. A bump stock ban would not have stopped the shooting, but it would’ve given people “time to run and take cover,” argued 40-year-old Cortney Carroll of Henrico County, a survivor of the shooting who testified before the subcommittee, as reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

There’s something to be said for making weapons less deadly, for having fewer people killed in mass shootings.

At the hearing, Del. Thomas C. Wright Jr., R-Lunenburg, said evil can move people to use anything to cause mayhem, “whether they use trucks, cars, box cutters, knives or whatever. … Regardless of what laws we pass, until the evil in men’s hearts change, it’s not going to solve the problem.”

There is some truth in what he says. But, by that logic, why not allow people to own self-propelled grenades, mortars, bazookas, and anti-tank rockets? Why deprive Americans of the entertainment value in going out to an empty field and blowing stuff up? After all, we can’t change the evil in men’s hearts. But, in fact, we don’t allow civilians to play with such toys because the potential for abuse is too horrifying.

It strikes me that the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, has raised the bar for all potential maniacs, terrorists, and death-by-coppers. If your goal is to cause as much mayhem as possible, how stupid do you have to be to not add a bump stock to your semi-automatic?

Wright is right to say that determined people will always find a way to commit mass murder. As long as no fundamental freedom is being infringed — and the right to bear bump stocks is not a fundamental freedom — let’s not make it easy for them.

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12 responses to “Seriously? We Can’t Even Ban Bump Stocks?

  1. Seriously, we can’t with so many voters so in love with their guns. And in all fairness, only a national law banning possession, sale, manufacture or importation would really mean anything – the state by itself could not prevent people from getting their hands on these. While preventing murder is impossible, preventing mass slaughter is a goal we can work toward. These devices are just ways to get around the machine gun ban, which so far seems to be holding (keep your fingers crossed), and passing a national bill to add these devices is just further enforcement of an existing and long-standing law.

    • I guess I am one of those voting gun lovers. I support the bump stock ban in Virginia. The idea that states can’t have their own arms regulation seems observably false. I live within a bike’s ride of DC and Maryland. Certainly those jurisdiction have their own unique takes on forearms regulation. Virginia has banned radar detectors in cars, why couldn’t it ban bump stocks?

      No, this is the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond once again proving its gross incompetence and culpable negligence. In true anti-democratic fashion the bill was smothered in committee rather than taken out for a full vote.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly about bump stocks.There is no public purpose for them. And I speak as one who as an unarmed journalist has been around machine guns being fired in anger.

    • Bump stocks effectively (if not literally) circumvent the Federal regulations regarding fully automatic weapons. Like special component kits that can turn semi-automatic weapons into full automatic weapons they should be banned.

      And people wonder why I call our General Assembly The Imperial Clown Show in Richmond.

  3. Actually if you REALLY want to cause mayhem – LEGALLY – consider this:

    don’t bother with taking out just a few kids in school or parishioners…in church .. just point and shoot and you can rest assured the NRA and the GOP will have your back!

    • In regard to LarryG’s comment – it looks like Elon Musk pranked another Liberal. It’s a propane torch not a flamethrower. Flamethrowers throw flames by spraying a lit liquid or jell that sticks to the target and ignites it. Torches range from cigarette lighters to those little grill lighters to this …

      Save yourself $580 ($480 actually since the Boring Company propane torch costs $500 not $600) by buying the Harbor Freight product.

      The only people who need to have your back is the American Gullibility Guild.

  4. hmm… this must be a prank also, eh:

    ” In the United States, private ownership of a flamethrower is not restricted by federal law. Flamethrowers are legal in 48 states and restricted in California and Maryland. ”

    here’s another “prank”: “.. the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    seems pretty clear.. and the NRA believes that also.. and apparently the laws of 48 states say so , too.

    • You have a hard time staying on point. Your post included a propane torch which you mislabeled as a flame thrower. You implied that this propane torch mislabeled as a flame thrower would become a new weapon for domestic and foreign terrorists. You then blamed the NRA and GOP.

      You follow up with a reply that belies your original points. If two states have restricted flamethrowers then it must be possible for states to do so. Yet 48 states have not. Was it the GOP that prevented this in NY, MA, OR, etc? After Obama’s election Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. Was there a proposed law to ban flame throwers at the Federal level?

      In fact, the California restrictions only come into play when the device in question can throw a flame further than 10 feet. Must be the all powerful GOP in California watering down their law.

      “don’t bother with taking out just a few kids in school or parishioners…in church ..”

      Has that ever happened? Has anybody ever used a flame thrower to kill people in a school or church?

  5. This post and its responses illustrate so well why we are in such a political mess these days. DJ is right, the State can and should deal with this issue, if primarily to indicate to Congress the depth of the feeling across large parts of the nation; although I agree with Steve, if you want to deal with this comprehensively like, say, Australia, it will require federal legislation.

    But who are we kidding? We couldn’t even muster a majority vote in the GA across party lines to endorse apple pie! Of course, the widespread availability of weapons means they are handy when crimes of passion are committed by people who, in the heat of the moment, care nothing for gun regulations. Of course, limiting the range of weapons available to such people to weapons that are designed to hunt animals and not people is an obvious way to ameliorate if not eliminate the danger. I’d like to say, opposing a ban on bumpstocks will backfire on the idiots who refuse to vote common sense — except, it probably won’t. Common sense does not prevail in the GA.

  6. the blog post was about how the GOP in Va would not outlaw bumpstocks.

    Maryland and California which DID outlaw them is a blue state.

    The flamethrower is REAL:

    ” No, we’re not kidding. After weeks of teases, Elon Musk has confirmed that The Boring Company is selling… a flamethrower. That’s right, the same company digging traffic-skipping tunnels is now offering a weapon. Plunk down $500 for a pre-order (there’s no word on when it will ship) and you can have the “world’s safest” fire-breathing weapon. Just in case it isn’t safe enough, though, there’s also a $30 branded fire extinguisher.

    There are 20,000 on sale. And before you ask: yes, these should be legal. Musk said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allows throwers with flames shorter than 10 feet, which looks to be the case here.”

    now.. it don’t take much brainpower – I hope – to see that also popular among gun enthusiasts these days are “modifications” .. the bumpstock..

    Can you imagine what modifications might be made available soon after the 10-foot version is released?

    Now – the point here – is that , yes, we CAN envision weaponry that can easily kill and maim even more people.. but we can’t be doing much about it because we are “guaranteed” ” “.. the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    My point here is that there are weaponry capable of one guy killing hundreds of people… plain old bumpstocks is just one version… people are creative..

    I don’t know Musks politics.. but could it be he’s trying to make a point?

    • Bump stocks should be outlawed, everywhere in America.

      You are quoting erroneous information. A flame thrower throws flames. It squirts a burning stream of liquid or jell. The liquid or jell continues to burn whatever it lands on.

      Musk is selling a torch. It creates a flame but does not eject liquid or jell. The fact he calls it a flamethrower is a marketing gimmick. It is basically an overgrown butane lighter.

      There are many legitimate uses for a torch. They are also relatively safe if handled properly. As far as I am concerned there are no legitimate uses for a flame thrower that could not be achieved through the use of a much safer torch.

      Musk’s Boring Company is concerned with boring tunnels for things like hyperloop trains. Needless to say, it’s long on vision and short on revenue at the moment. Musk may be trying to make a point, although he could have made a stronger point by producing an actual flamethrower. My guess is that this is a stunt to keep The Boring Company in the minds of potential investors while Musk waits for things to bore.

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