Fairfax Senior High School

Opinion: Why Trump is wrong about the bump stock ban

Recently, the Trump Administration has moved to ban bump stocks all together and make them illegal. A bump stock is a gun accessory that makes a semi-automatic gun such as an AR-15 shoot faster and shoot more rounds, almost like a machine gun, according to the New York Times. It is known mainly for its use in the Las Vegas massacre that left 58 dead and more than 500 injured, the New York Times reported.

Many have advocated for it to be banned while others have defended it saying that people use it for hunting/sport as well as at shooting ranges. I personally have supported some of his policies, but I do not consider myself an ardent supporter of the president. He is totally wrong about bump stocks, “yuuuuuuuugely” wrong.

Bump stocks themselves do not turn a weapon automatic or into a machine gun. This is an important fact because machine guns and automatic weapons manufactured after 1986 are banned in the country which is dubbed the National Firearms Act, according to the ATF or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The bump stocks are accessories and are not changing the actual machinery of the weapon, and therefore legal. The bump stocks only mimic an automatic fire rate, but do not change the gun in any way, so as a result, the Obama administration had ruled it to be a legal accessory for gun owners, according to USA Today. The bump stock itself still limits the weapon to be semi-automatic or one pull, one bullet. The bump stock itself only uses recoil from the gun to reposition the trigger, and continuing to exert forward pressure on the barrel making the rifle fire repeatedly to simulate an automatic weapon.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has said multiple times that federal restrictions on machine guns do not cover bump stocks because it doesn’t change the machinery of the gun. Even the very progressive and left-leaning Obama administration affirmed and reaffirmed the legality of bump stocks on three separate occasions during his tenure in office.

Trump’s tweet regarding his support for a ban on bump stocks reversing an Obama Administration policy. (Image courtesy of MSNBC)

Banning bump stocks is also pointless because it is generally never used to commit crimes, because a bump stocks severely limits the accuracy of the weapon as the fire rate is increased while accuracy is compromised, according to the Washington Examiner. The only real anomaly is the Las Vegas tragedy where gunman Stephen Paddock used a bump stock in Oct. 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Other than that, there is no data to support that bump stocks are a commonly used accessory for criminals to use. It is generally never used and even bump stock ban advocates admits that they are never used. There have been in the history of the United States any mass shooting involving a bump stock until the Las Vegas incident. The New York times interviewed April Zeoli, an associate professor at the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, and who stated that “Until now, bump stocks have been a non-issue in firearm homicide (mass or not).”

Finally, we as a people must realize that the banning of bump stocks is just another thing that the lawmakers will pass to show the American people that they are “doing something” to prevent gun violence in this country. The hard truth is that this isn’t the case. Even if bump stocks are banned, criminals and terrorists will always find a way to purchase or have a bump stock because of the fact that they are criminals and do not follow the law!

Just because a new regulation or law is implemented, it doesn’t mean it will dissuade a criminal from getting the weapons and accessories they need. We as a country need to stop being persuaded by emotions to “ban all guns” or to have more “gun control’ because at the end of the day, these measures will not help us as a nation come out of this era of gun violence. We must remember that gun control hasn’t worked in the U.S. and never will because it just makes it harder for someone to purchase a gun while having absolutely no effect on the criminal.

We have had a massive regulatory system in place for decades, and it has failed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. We need to understand that banning bump stocks have no effect on the criminal and will not in any way drop the violent crime rate or gun murders in this country. Lawmakers and President Trump need to realize that this is a pointless and flawed policy and that this is just another legislative show to act like something is being done about gun violence in America.