The horrific shooting in Las Vegas has shaken all rational people to the core. To imagine the atrocity experienced by the concert goers under attack is the stuff of nightmares. I recall the scene from Full Metal Jacket as the insane machine gunner murders innocent civilians while flying in a helicopter.
It has been reported that the gunman held an arsenal of weapons in his hotel room. The primary firearms used seem to have been long arms and assault rifles.
Assault rifles in and of themselves are not typically more dangerous than their peer civilian models. One can purchase a rifle in .223 with a wooden stock that is not visually menacing but it is equally lethal. However, those who purchase the military replicas sometimes do so for the plethora of customization marketed to those weapon owners.
The machismo factor in firing an AR-15 may be different to some folks compared to shooting a single shot bolt action .223. The rounds are equally lethal and the AR is designed to shoot a hell of a lot more of them at once.
The marketplace caters to those who want to look like military but usually aren’t. Red dot laser scopes, high capacity magazines, tripods and bumpstocks can double the price of the initial gun purchase.
So what is a bumpstock you may ask and why should they be illegal immediately? It is a device the uses the recoil of a rifle to automatically load the next round into the firing chamber while never removing the finger from the trigger. In a typical semi automatic rifle setup, a round is only fired upon each pull of the trigger. While using a bumpstock, the finger may stay depressed and firing continues until you run out of ammo, effectively turning the device into a machine gun (which by and large are illegal).
Trigger pulls on a semi auto may reach 2-3 per second, but audio analysis in Las Vegas show firing rates of 10 rounds per second which tripled the kill rate.
The laws are pretty clear that with the exception of a few rare instances, machine guns are illegal in the United States. Any attempt to physically alter the firearm to make it automatic is also an offense. How is it that bump stocks are legal?
Congress must act to remove this threat with minimal debate. Gun control is a divisive issue in America and I understand both sides talking points. However, the existence of a device that snubs its nose at the spirit of an existing law should be outlawed itself.
I eagerly await the NRA response.