Liberals are all enraged that Stephen Paddock could transform two AR-15s into “machine guns” using a simple “bump stock” device. Now they know who to blame.
First of all, the “bump stock” does not convert an AR-15 into a machine gun. A machine gun will fire as long as the trigger is depressed. Even the military M16 does not have full-automatic mode (and hasn’t since Vietnam). The M16A2 fires a three-round burst based on a selector switch position (where the safety switch is on the AR-15). One trigger pull fires three rounds.
The “bump stock” requires constant pressure on the trigger cover of the device, and considerable pressure in the non-trigger hand on the rifle stock. The device uses the shooter’s shoulder as a recoil to slide the trigger cover back and forth, depressing the trigger once for each shot, which is what semi-automatic firearms do. But with the “bump stock,’ the AR-15 can achieve rapid rates of fire with some practice (and a sore shoulder).
A company named Slide Fire invented the “bump stock.” Here’s their video showing how it works.
Slide Fire submitted their invention, along with its patent, to the ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch, for testing and approval. The ATF responded in June 2010.
The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed. In order to use the installed device, the shooter must apply constant forward pressure with the non-shooting hand and constant rearward pressure with the shooting hand. Accordingly, we find that the “bump-stock” is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or National Firearm Act.
You can read the letter here.
What does that mean? It means that gun laws don’t stop people from converting AR-15s into rapid-fire weapons. Because most gun laws are based on feeling (“it looks scary!”) and emotion. It also means that when Congress attempts to ban the “bump stock,” they’ll have a hard time figuring out what they’re banning.
In fact, the “bump stock” could be classified as an assistance device for disabled people–they’d be banning something under the ADA and violating the Second Amendment rights of thousands of disabled people who have lost hands or mobility in their fingers. Nothing about the “bump stock” says it has to be used as a rapid fire device. That’s just a side effect (along with a sore shoulder).
Next, liberals will want to ban fingers that can press the trigger too fast–or just ban fingers altogether.