It appears the murderer who terrorized concertgoers injuring over 500 and killing 59 utilized bump fire stocks to carry out his mayhem. I can recall taking a look at them as a novelty which might be fun for a trip or two to the range several years ago, but when you couple the cost of the stock with the cost of ammunition they just don’t make sense. You can approximate automatic fire with them, but at the cost of accuracy. Unfortunately the gunman in Las Vegas didn’t need to be very accurate as he had 22,000 targets in the crowd.
Let’s circle back to the topic of the post. Bump fire stocks were declared legal by the ATF and are only considered a firearm part, like any other stock. The reason is they are not a firearm and accept no ammunition. On this point I have to agree with the ATF. It’s what they do which is suspect. They allow a semi-automatic rifle to approximate the firing rate of a machine gun. While one half of my brain hates governmental intervention in our daily lives, the other thinks we as a society decided machine guns needs to be regulated. I think owning a machine gun would be interesting and fun, but I still think they need to be tightly regulated. Can you imagine the death toll in Chicago if every gang banger had a functioning machine gun? If we need to regulate machine guns then by the same token a device design to circumvent normal operation and approximate automatic fire should similarly be regulated.
I don’t believe for an instant the shooter in Las Vegas would have been stopped if he didn’t have bump fire stocks, but I do believe he would have fired less rounds during his assault and may have injured less people. How many less is unknown, but even if the numbers were cut in half it would be better. With the even still fresh in my mind, my position is we don’t need devices designed to create the rapid fire characteristics of regulated weapons unless the devices are regulated. Thoughts?