In the flurry of political news that broke this week, one event seems to have quietly slipped under the radar. Trump announced on Monday that the proposal to ban bump-stocks is on track to be completed in the next couple of weeks. Trump told reporters, “We’re knocking out bump stocks, we’re in the final two or three weeks, and I’ll be able to write out bump stocks.” If he made this comment before or after he berated a female reporter in the press pool is unclear. But it looks like a bow to reasonable gun control—at last!
But don’t be fooled. Mr. “maybe the Second Amendment people” can take care of Clinton, Mr. “I could shoot someone in the face on Fifth Avenue,” is not doing anything to stop mass shootings. And a ban is not a starting point for working across the aisle on reasonable gun control.
The 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting stunned Americans—even those of us who expect at least several mass shootings a week. Within 10 minutes, the shooter killed more than 50 people and injured hundreds more. A bump-stock enabled him to modify the pile of rifles he had stashed in his Mandalay Bay suite so he could spray bullets into the crowd below. Typical SAR rifles (semi-automatic rifle) require one squeeze of the trigger per bullet. Take three minutes to attach a bump fire (I have done it, and yes, it only takes about three minutes), and you, my friend, have a de-facto machine gun.
At a certain point in the space-time continuum, two points come to meet. The grand curvature of the universe ensures this, that is if you believe all that science-y stuff like global warming and gravity. This geometric theorem plays out in the lives of people and not just some distant wormhole end-point on the outskirts of the expanding universe.
I was surprised that my personal nexus came with a guy named Gerry over on the comment section of the ATF regarding the proposed ban.
Gerry wrote that the majority of people never heard of a bump-stock before the Las Vegas shooting (preach Gerry). Then he said some crazy stuff about anti-gun nuts and blabity-blah infringing on Second Amendment rights where I admit he lost me for a minute. But then Gerry made the following point: All you have to do is watch YouTube videos, and rifles can be turned into machine guns by manipulating the trigger mechanism, no after-market device is needed.
All you have to do is watch YouTube videos, and rifles can be turned into machine guns by manipulating the trigger mechanism, no after-market device is needed.
Gerry is so right. On a reporting trip to Kentucky years ago (that is where I modified a friend’s AR in roughly three minutes), I attended a gun show. Vendors had not only firearms but plenty of literature on how to modify your gun to shoot full auto, with just a few tools and some know-how.
And, by the way, I was also approached no less than five times during my visit by people with guns slung across their backs offering them for sale. One man offered me the SAR hanging on his shoulder—one he built himself. (We can save the downloading plans to print your own gun nonsense for another day.) The ability to buy a gun off a person’s back at a gun show with no background check—which can be totally legal—is one of the gun show loopholes the NRA claims don’t exist.
Again: banning bump stocks will do nothing to end mass shootings, or curb gun violence.
Let’s look at some statistics. Actual facts.
Women in the U.S. are 16 times more likely to be killed with a gun than women in other high-income countries. Every year women suffer from 5.3 million incidents of domestic violence. On average, 50 women are shot and killed in a month—a month—in the U.S. by domestic partners. Nearly a million women alive today have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner.
There is a chance that you know a woman who has been shot in a violent act against her perpetrated by her partner. For me, I know two women—one was shot by her husband (this was 30 years ago, and thank god she lived), and then there is the case of my friend Cristen. She was shot twice while escaping the two men who abducted her from her then-college parking lot and raped her. Thank god she lived. Last week, after the punishing testimony at the Kavanaugh hearings she was exasperated. She said that she is actually glad she was shot—that at least she had proof of a “legitimate” rape and that it wasn’t just “rape rape” by today’s low bar of Trumpism.
Oh, by the way, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expired on Sunday night—a paltry two-month extension set to vote on full reauthorization. One of the key provisions of VAWA? It bans men subject to a domestic violence restraining order from buying or owning a gun.