Bump-stocks are now center-stage in the response to the horrendous attack in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. The shooter used several automatic weapons, but also had several semi-automatic rifles that were equipped with bump-stock devices to increase the rate of fire.
Following the attack, the discussion on Capitol Hill is now about whether the devices should be legal. It should come as no surprise the Democratic Senators like Dianne Feinstein (D, CA) want the stock banned, saying it is an “automatic weapons loophole.”
But it’s not just banning of the sale of the device that has people worried. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has introduced a bill that would outlaw mere possession of a bump fire stock. If her bill makes it to the floor, don’t expect it to just restrict sales, but actual ownership.
What’s going to happen next? If this legislation passes – and with our spineless Republicans in the House and the Senate, this seems like a real possibility, would the feds demand that companies and manufacturers turn over their sales records so the feds can come knocking on your door to confiscate the soon-to-be-illegal piece of equipment?
It’s not just Democrats supporting the measure though; now some high-ranking Republican lawmakers are expressing their willingness to make the devices illegal.
According to The Daily Caller, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 ranking Republican member of the Senate, told the New York Times that he is willing to consider making the device illegal.
“I own a lot of guns, and as a hunter and sportsman, I think that’s our right as Americans, but I don’t understand the use of this bump stock. It seems like it’s an obvious area we ought to explore and see if it’s something Congress needs to act on.”
While much about the shooting remains unclear, authorities have determined that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, employed a bump stock device to allow his semi-automatic AR-15 rifle to fire like an automatic weapon, presenting a clear and specific legislative target for lawmakers.
Cornyn said the issue of banning bump stocks was worth exploring and said he asked Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the Judiciary Committee Chairman, to convene a hearing on the issue and other questions that might arise from the Las Vegas investigation.
Cornyn is joined by Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Marco Rubio of Florida, all of whom said they would entertain legislation outlawing bump stocks.
“We certainly want to learn more details on what occurred in Las Vegas,” Rubio stated, “and if there are vulnerabilities in federal law that we should be addressing to prevent such attacks in the future, we would always be open to that.”
Even Speaker Paul Ryan has stated that banning the bump-stocks is something worth considering, according to Politico.
In response, demand for the bump-stocks is skyrocketing. It is so high right now that the main manufacturer of the stocks, Slide Fire, has halted all sales from their site.
A friend of mine who works at a local gun shop told me that requests about Slide Fire stocks have greatly increased in the past several days. Given that Congress is now eyeing a ban on the devices, there is a “forbidden fruit” effect now taking place.
Additionally, the Daily Mail reports that supplies of higher capacity magazines are being completely wiped out online. The 100 round magazine used by the shooter is not a common ammunition feeding device, but one side that has never sold one is now sold out of them.
Expect the demand for standard capacity, and high capacity magazines to increase over the coming days. Granted, it is rather unlikely that any new law will be passed restricting magazine capacity, but people are nonetheless hoarding them in response to the attack fearing that the government may try to ban them.