Following the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, speculation started over what kind of firearms the shooter was using. While many inexperienced people were hearing machine guns, the people who have spent time on the automatic ranges knew it wasn’t something usual, and the video that was being leaked didn’t support it, either. As it turns out, the bump stock would be blamed.
For those unfamiliar with the bump stock, it’s relatively simple in its design. Typically, a hollow secondary stock of a rifle, it harnesses the recoil energy from a round being fired. It then facilitates the continuous operation of a semiautomatic rifle after a single pull of the trigger. It makes the gun “bump” back and forth ever so slightly, thus increasing its fire rate by allowing the user to simply hold their finger down.
While the outcry over these devices was heard almost immediately after the shooting in Las Vegas, it took over a year for then-President Trump to ask the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) and other authorities to take whatever steps were necessary to enact a ban of all bump stocks and to classify them as machine guns. This would, in turn, make them permissible to own provided you have the proper documentation and the tax stamps for it.
Upon the initiation of the ban, numerous groups banded together to protest the move by the feds and challenged the mischaracterization of the device. They also believed that the ATF had overstepped its role when it changed the classification of bump stocks under federal law. When appealing to the Supreme Court, they did not claim that this ban would change, block, or interfere with the second amendment.
Gun Owners of America did go on a tirade via Twitter over this move. “This decision sets a horrible and dangerous precedent, one that will allow the ATF to further arbitrarily regulate various firearms. This very same precedent is already being abused by Joe Biden to ban millions of lawfully purchased pistols even without an ACT of Congress!” While not unexpected, this tweet does little to help the cause, besides telling people what they already know.
The Supreme Court had thrown gun owners in New York a big win back in June of this year. In a swift motion, they made the state’s “just cause” requirement unconstitutional. For years, the state has been making anyone who wanted a concealed carry permit show a valid reason why they believed they needed one.
As Justice Clarence Thomas inferred in his decision, there is no need per the second amendment for a lawful gun owner to explain to the government or anyone else why they need to carry. They should just be able to do it. While this ruling didn’t explicitly make concealed carry legal everywhere, it made the permit licensing requirements in NY much easier to comply with when filing to get one.
Currently, 21 states allow for permit-less concealed carry, something numerous gun groups have been advocating for nationwide. In states with this feature, gun deaths have traditionally been lower as has violent crime. While not perfect, they fare much better than places like Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City; all cities with extremely tight gun regulations.
With these changes via the Supreme Court, 2022 has been an interesting year for gun owners. In keeping with the new ruling, those caught with a bump stock but no tax stamp would automatically face felony weapons charges. This could potentially subject them to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted. With sales figures exceeding $500,000, the owners have three choices- get the tax stamp, decommission them, or turn them in.
Considering the “novelty” tag most serious gun owners give them and how inaccurate they are, it’s unlikely they’ll be flooding the streets any time soon.