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Thomas Gallatin / October 13, 2017

The Bump Stock Slippery Slope

Proposed bipartisan legislation overreaches and would infringe Americans’ Second Amendment rights.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was asked last week if she viewed Democrats’ opportunistic gun control legislative push as a slippery slope toward total gun control. She replied, “I certainly hope so.” Well, she may get her wish.

The National Rifle Association has announced its opposition to bipartisan bill from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Carlos Luis Curbelo (R-FL) that bans bump stocks and other gun parts. Jennifer Baker, the director of the NRA’s public affairs Institute for Legislative Action, said, “These bills are intentionally overreaching and would ban owned firearm accessories.”

First, since the Las Vegas massacre, the NRA has been calling for the ATF to review the regulations on bump stock devices; they have not called for new laws. Thus the NRA’s opposition to these bills is consistent with their expressed stance; there is no flip-flopping here.

Second, it’s entirely appropriate to call on the ATF to review its regulations as it was Barack Obama’s gun-running ATF that gave approval to these devices in the first place. There should be no hiding behind Congress on this issue.

Third, the NRA is right to be opposed to these proposed bills that are so broadly worded as to create the slippery slope Pelosi hoped for. For example, the House’s Curbelo/Moulton bill states, “It shall be unlawful for any person — in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, to manufacture, possess, or transfer any part or combination of parts that is designed and functions to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle but does not convert the semi-automatic rifle into a machine gun.” This essentially could allow for the banning of semi-automatic rifles as there is no mention as to what firing rate qualifies as “machine gun.”

As The Federalist’s Sean Davis explains:

> The design of semi-automatic weapons uses the recoil of the weapon generated by the gas explosion in the chamber when a round is fired to automatically chamber a new round, and prepare the weapon to be fired again. Because of this, any parts used in that process would likely be subject to the federal ban proposed in the Curbelo/Moulton bill, since they serve to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic weapon. Gas tubes, gas blocks, buffer springs and main springs, magazines, charging handles, ejectors and extractors, and even triggers themselves could potentially be banned under the bipartisan bump stock ban language proposed by Curbelo and Moulton.

Once again, under the guise of acting to prevent crime, Democrats (and complicit Republicans) seek to further limit the freedoms and rights of law-abiding Americans. If the passing of laws actually stopped criminal behavior, then murder, theft and rape would be nonexistent. The problem is not the availability of the tool, rather it’s the intent of the user.

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