Enemy at the Gate: Ban Devices Never Used in Crimes

Before a madman slaughtered scores of people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas last October, “bump-fire” stocks were virtually unknown to people who don’t follow gun issues closely, and not particularly well known among those who do.

But that was before such stocks had been used in a horrific mass-murder event. Those days are gone forever, with gun-ban zealots in Congress and in many state legislatures chomping at the bit to ban them, often calling for confiscation of those bump-fire stocks already legally owned. Some Republicans, and even the NRA itself, appear prepared to let it happen, or even to help the process along.

This, despite the fact that the supposed “lethality” of bump-fire stocks is a function of their ability to allow the shooter to fire more quickly, after decades of gun-ban groups telling us that semi-automatic “assault weapons” are just as deadly as fully automatic firearms, despite firing more slowly—or even more deadly, because they allow for more precisely aimed fire.

But suddenly now, a device that allows faster firing is, we are told, so excessively lethal that a private citizen who doesn’t give his up should face felony charges and years in prison.

One forcible citizen disarmament group, though, has set its sights higher. The gun-ban group started by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot and severely wounded, was until recently called “Americans for Responsible Solutions.” That name appears to follow a trend that has gone on for decades, of gun-ban groups trying to avoid terms like “gun control” in their names, and to make those names sound more innocuous.

Hence “Handgun Control, Inc” became “The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,” “The Coalition to Ban Handguns” became “The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence,” etc. And now, apparently, the group started by Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, has decided that even the name “Americans for Responsible Solutions” sounds too threatening, and has changed its name to simply “Giffords.”

And in the aftermath of the Las Vegas atrocity, Giffords has settled on a strategy of trying to drum up support to ban things that have rarely or never been used in violent crime but, according to them, could be, and indeed will be, if legislators don’t move quickly. In a new, breathlessly written piece called LEGAL AND LETHAL: 9 PRODUCTS THAT COULD BE THE NEXT BUMP STOCK, Giffords explains why we need to ban more things that most people are not aware of.

The first couple of them are, like bump-fire stocks, designed to allow a shooter to fire a semi-automatic firearm more quickly than would be otherwise possible. First on their chopping block are “binary” triggers. With these triggers, a shot is fired not only when the trigger is pulled, but again as soon as it is released. Similarly, “trigger cranks,” in which the shooter rotates a small crank mounted within the trigger housing, and fires three shots per revolution, as if his rifle were now a Gatling gun.

These are probably less accurate than even a rifle equipped with a bump-fire stock, but keep in mind that for now the gun-ban zealots are abandoning their old argument that more accurate shooting is more lethal. Apparently their intern missed the existence of assisted reset triggers—Giffords might have to do an update soon.

Next come “high-capacity shotguns.” This is a rather broad group, defined apparently as any shotgun with the capacity to be loaded with 12 or more rounds, with the designs varying widely. Most use more than one tubular magazine, and the Giffords group even steps beyond semi-automatic firearms and wants “high-capacity” pump-action shotguns banned.

Next, we have “AR- and AK-style pistols.” Not particularly new, and still not used much in violent crime, we are to fear them because “they can fire rifle rounds capable of penetrating body armor, but are concealable like handguns.” Well, “concealable” when wearing what? A parka?

Moving right along, we have two similar devices that allow pistols like those described above to be securely braced against the shooter’s arm. Remember I said a few paragraphs ago that gun-ban groups have gotten away from calling more accurate fire more “lethal,” while they make the case to ban devices that allow faster, but less accurate, shooting? Well, scratch that. For a couple minutes at least, because now, we are to be frightened of one of these devices because it “allows a shooter to fire a pistol with rifle-like accuracy.”

Their heads would likely explode if they considered the possibility of combining an arm brace and a trigger crank into the same firearm.

Now we are asked to turn our frightened attention to the supposed threat of .50-caliber rifles and .50-caliber ammunition. Presumably referring to not just any .50-caliber rifles and ammo, but specifically to the powerful .50 BMG round. But even so, their case is weak.

They don’t document anyone being killed in the U.S. by these rifles and their ammunition, because they can’t, despite the fact that they have been sold on the civilian market since the early 1980s.

And how is one to effectively ban them? If .50 caliber becomes illegal, what is to stop gun and ammunition manufacturers from developing a new, just-as-powerful (or even more so) .499 caliber? And then .498?

But we haven’t gotten to the real height of silliness yet. Here it comes: muzzleloaders. Yep, although the anti-gun nuts have told us for decades that the 2nd Amendment doesn’t protect private ownership of modern firearms, because the Framers supposedly never envisioned weapons with more firepower than muzzleloading muskets, now those are too scary, too. Why? Because the federal government does not consider such guns to be firearms, subject to firearm laws.

And now, an enterprising and creative gun maker has developed an integrally suppressed (“silenced” in popular but inaccurate parlance) muzzleloader, not subject to NFA regulation, despite being suppressed, because it is not suppressing a “firearm” as defined by federal law. And it’s even .50 caliber!

And finally, we have incendiary and tracer rounds. We’re not really told why these are so dangerous, although the report does mention that tracers allow the shooter to see where their rounds are going at night. So again, we’re apparently back to being worried about shooters being able to hit their targets.

It’s hard to imagine Giffords getting Congress, or even most state legislatures, to subject any of these devices to more draconian regulation any time soon, but the attempt does offer an informative look at the mindset of these twisted lunatics.

A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denied that right. This inspired him to become active in gun rights advocacy.

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