The Jury Talks Back


Bye Bye Bump Stocks

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 6:30 pm

Multiple reports have said that the Las Vegas shooter used “bump stocks” — a device that allows one to fire a semi-automatic weapon at speeds approximating that of a fully automatic weapon. Susan Wright took a look at them earlier today in this post, which contains video of the devices in use. The New York Times elaborates, and says there is a renewed effort to ban them now:

Bump stocks are legal and inexpensive, with some versions advertised for $99.

A standard stock is firmly fixed to the rifle. But a bump stock allows the body of the rifle to slide a short distance back and forth, harnessing the recoil energy of each shot. The shooter does not move the trigger finger; instead, the weapon bounces, or “bumps,” rapidly between shoulder and finger.

In 2013, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California proposed outlawing bump stocks, but Congress has not acted on her proposal. She proposed a ban again on Tuesday.

It does not appear that this device has been used often (ever?) in past mass shootings. But with the copycat phenomenon, there is a good chance others will try in the future.

Why make it easy for them?

I am a Second Amendment supporter, but in talking to other Second Amendment supporters over the past day or so, I have found nobody who is furiously opposed to banning these devices.

The concern will always be that the left will come after more and more guns. They’ll want to take all semi-automatic firearms, for example.

Well, they will try. And we won’t let them.

But I don’t see the big problem in getting rid of a device that allows a shooter to turn a semi-automatic weapon into the functional equivalent of an automatic weapon. Automatic weapons are already banned, with minor exceptions. Nobody seems to have a big problem with that. I don’t.

I’m open to hearing the arguments against such a repeal. But I’m skeptical.

And I think a lot of people agree with me.

So if you like bump stocks, probably best to get them now. Because I have a feeling they may be outlawed relatively soon.

[Cross-posted at RedState.]


  1. I’m highly dubious that a bump stock was used. I’ve never heard of one that will give you a steady, even rate of fire like we heard in the videos of the massacre.

    Bump stocks are very rare these days. They are also very easy to make, especially for anyone who has a 3d printer. So, my prediction is, you’re probably right, they’ll be banned if involved. And, if banned, I’ll bet good money it will be just as effective as Colorado’s ban on large magazines; it’ll vastly increase the number of people who have them.

    Comment by Arizona CJ — 10/3/2017 @ 8:06 pm

  2. I’m not a gun guy, let me make that clear. It seems from the description that a bump stock just gives you a simulation of the experience of firing an automatic weapon. I don’t see how it can make the firing mechanism cycle any faster; I suspect some careful adjustment is necessary to keep the bounce of the bump stock in sync with the time it takes for the gun to cycle, and that it’s not a very robust mechanism. Further there would be a price paid in accuracy, not that it mattered in this case.

    There’s maybe a historical parallel. In 1927 a 55-year-old man spent months acquiring (perfectly legal) explosives, and he blew up a school and booby-trapped his house and truck, killing himself, his wife, and 43 people, mostly children. He drove up to the school to see what he’d done, and then detonated his truck and killed a few more people that way.

    Turned out he’d also girdled his shade trees, cut down his grapevines and his wire fences, and wired his horses’ legs together so they could not escape the fires he set.

    He seemed quite to determine to destroy everything in his own life and kill a whole bunch of children as well.

    He was known to be irascible and he was facing some financial stress, but that can be said for quite a lot of people.

    I wonder if this situation is similar, or if it turns out to be even harder to understand.

    Comment by Frederick — 10/3/2017 @ 10:22 pm

  3. DCSCA, on the other site, posted a link to an interview with the inventor of one of the commercially available bump stocks.

    Apparently the ATF approved it, because it does not convert a semi-auto to full-auto; it just helps you pull the trigger faster, but you still have to pull it once for every shot fired.

    His first prototype was PVC, tape and 2×10, and then he started on 3D printers.

    “Really, all I did was create a way an individual can shoot a firearm differently. I simply changed the way they pull the trigger. They press the gun into a firing sequence and the recoil and sliding stock allows them to pull the trigger very rapidly at near full auto speed. I will say there’s a learning curve to it and it often takes a couple of magazines for people to figure it out. I always like to tell people it’s like the gas pedal on a car, if you push forward gently, it will go.”

    It seems like yes, you could make such a thing illegal but it would only be a moral victory, as people can make them at home.

    Comment by Frederick — 10/3/2017 @ 10:35 pm

  4. Multiple reports have said that the Las Vegas shooter used “bump stocks”..

    Not to be pedantic but reports have identified that half of the guns in the room had bump stocks, but not a single report has come out, as of yet, that confirmed a bump stock was used in the shooting.

    Comment by Sean — 10/4/2017 @ 4:42 am

  5. Understand that I am an active competitor in shooting sports, including both pistol and rifle. I find bump stocks to be junk gimmicks. If they were to disappear from the market, I’d care not a whit.

    But I would oppose a ban on them because I’m confident that the legal definition of a bump stock will end up so vague and ambiguous that it will become another silly fiasco like the misnamed “assault weapons ban” of 1994.

    The little tempest in a teapot about these stocks is simply nonsense taking advantage of people’s ignorance.

    As for rate of fire, I leave you with Jerry Miculek using a revolver, not a semi-auto:

    Comment by SPQR — 10/4/2017 @ 1:37 pm

  6. By the way, Jerry in that video is shooting a revolver, not a semi auto, at a rate of 420 rounds per minute. Very close to the cyclic rate of an M2HB .50 Browning machine gun.

    Comment by SPQR — 10/5/2017 @ 4:38 pm

  7. 6 0 times 8 ….. oops. 480

    Comment by SPQR — 10/5/2017 @ 4:38 pm

  8. That’s an impressive video.

    That said, not everyone is a world record holder.

    It is possible to pull off rapid rates of fire with a semiauto, as many videos have shown. That doesn’t mean bump stocks don’t make it easier. Clearly, they do. Otherwise the Las Vegas shooter would have simply shot from the hip with his belt loops.

    Comment by Patterico — 10/6/2017 @ 6:26 am

  9. Patterico, first of all, what I’m showing with that video is that you can’t claim that its “rate of fire” that is what makes the bump fire stock unique. Jerry exceeds it with a revolver. Any attempt to regulate by rate of fire would have to conclude that an 8 shot revolver be banned.

    Secondly, Jerry is a very talented guy but he is also hard working. He got there by practice. And to repeat, that is his rate of fire demonstration with a revolver, not a semi-auto.

    The bump fire stock substitutes somewhat for skill but not as much as is claimed. It merely mechanizes a small part of getting one’s finger back on trigger to press it again.

    And the Las Vegas shooter may have used bump fire stocks because of the bullshit about them, not because they actually were more effective.

    Comment by SPQR — 10/6/2017 @ 1:30 pm

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