By Dave Workman,
In the aftermath of the carnage in Las Vegas, renewed calls for gun control including a ban on so-called “bump stocks” quickly spread across the landscape and airwaves, but once again the gun prohibition lobby has brought forth its traditional agenda hoping to sell it as something new or improved.
There have been proposals for so-called “enhanced background checks,” whatever that means, plus limits on magazine capacity, limits on the number of guns someone can own, and so forth.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was quick to declare that proposed hearing protection legislation that would reform regulations on sound suppressors would have made the Las Vegas shooter more dangerous.
Would any of these recommendations have prevented the Las Vegas mayhem? Probably not, considering that shooter Stephen Paddock had no criminal record. There was nothing in his background that prevented him from buying the firearms he had.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi jumped quickly into the post-Las Vegas blood fest to exploit the attack, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein quickly introduced legislation to ban the “bump stock” accessory. The stock, which operates on the recoil of a semi-auto rifle, is actually called the Slide Fire. A copycat product called the Bump Fire was taken off the market following a lawsuit in 2014.
When attached to certain semi-auto sport/utility rifles, it can mimic (not convert to) the performance of a machine gun, using the recoil of the rifle to speed up the rapidity of discharge.
Pelosi has asked Speaker Paul Ryan to “create a Select Committee on Gun Violence to study and report back common sense legislation to help end this crisis.” This was accompanied by a request to “pass the bipartisan King-Thompson legislation to strengthen the life-saving background checks that keep guns out of the wrong hands.”
Pelosi didn’t explain how this legislation might make background checks stronger, or how it would accomplish what background checks apparently haven’t accomplished so far.
“The bipartisan committee,” said Pelosi in her letter to Ryan, “would make recommendations to prevent unspeakable tragedies such as the mass shooting in Las Vegas and to restore confidence in the safety of our communities.”
Massachusetts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey both chimed in on Twitter, and Markey got some heat for his remarks. One woman tweeted back that he should just shut his mouth.
Anti-gun Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced he would push for legislation to ban “bump stocks.”
In an Op-Ed piece published by the Seattle Times, authors Ralph Fascitelli and Jordan Royer with Washington Ceasefire did not mention the “bump fire” device while alluding to Las Vegas. Instead, they offered what they consider three “reasonable” suggestions to prevent violence. They would ban so-called “assault rifles,” arguing that “No reasonable hunter would consider their use as sport, and if someone wanted them for target practice, they could be made available at gun ranges.”
They advocated for a 10-round magazine limit, and lastly they suggested so-called “smart guns.”
The Second Amendment, said responding readers, isn’t about hunting or target shooting. Critics also noted how a skilled shooter can swap out magazines in less than a second.
“Smart gun” technology may or may not work, and while Fascitelli and Royer didn’t actually say it, they seem to suggest a mandate, which gun owners will strenuously oppose.
Paddock brought 23 guns into the two-room suite he occupied at the Mandalay Bay hotel. It appears he had been planning the attack for some time.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, in which 58 people were killed, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters during a press briefing that he didn’t know “how it could have been prevented,” a remark in a story published by CBS News.
He had company in that opinion from Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. Only hours before the mass shooting, Gottlieb had wrapped up the 32nd annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Dallas, Texas.