Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/5/2019: Preparing For Yet Another Anti-Gun Freak-Out Edition

Good Morning!

 Notes on the impending gun control summer re-runs..

  • There is literally no significance to the fact that there were two mass shootings within 48 hours of each other last week. None. It is pure moral luck, nothing more. If the shootings had occurred weeks apart, or months, the same factors would have been at play, and the same number of people would be dead or injured.

A responsible news media would explain this, as the public looks at these things emotionally rather than rationally. Instead, the news media is doing the opposite.

  • President Trump has decided that it is politically expedient to “do something,” so he tweeted this morning that he favored “strong background checks” in order that “those killed in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, [not] die in vain.” This will annoy Second Amendment champions, and it is certainly a nice example of the “Barn Door Fallacy.” Background checks, however strong, wouldn’t have stopped these shootings in all likelihood, or the vast majority of mass shootings.

It is also possible that the President is being smarter than it seems, since he mentioned some kind of more gun regulations for actual immigration reform compromise. Of course that kind of trade-off makes sense. I suggested that exact deal when Obama was President, but he preferred to whine about how he couldn’t work with Congress rather than compromise. Trump will compromise, in part because he’s a pragmatist, in part because he has no ideals.

The Democrats won’t, though.

  • What we will read and hear over the next week and beyond will be a literal replay of the Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck and the Parkland shooting. Oh, there may be some new wrinkles and some emerging anti-gun stars, and each new post-shooting freak-out is a bit more shrill and hysterical than the one before, but we know CNN will hold another biased town hall, we know the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students will again be hot cable guests, we know that the shootings will be used as one more excuse to blame Donald Trump for all that’s wrong with America and the human race, we know that we will be bombarded with fake or distorted statistics, and we know that the news media will stoke the hysteria rather than doing its job. Predicting all of these is about as hard as predicting that there will be colored lights at Christmas time.

And, of course, the left-wing media will lie. Here’s an example from yesterday, from progressive site Raw Story. Headline: “Rick Santorum suggests unarmed Walmart shoppers were at fault in mass shooting.”

This was posted by a Facebook friend, and I even bought it, since I know that there is almost nothing so stupid that Rick Santorum might not say it in public. Boy, am I gullible. There is nothing in Santorum’s comments that blame the Walmart victims or imply that they are at fault. After opining that allowing and encouraging law abiding citizens to carry their own guns is the best way to stop mass shootings, the ex-Congressman said, “[Mass shooters] go to soft targets…The whole point is that when you restrict guns to law-abiding people, you make more soft targets.” Calling that statement what the Raw Story headline suggests is an outright lie.

Typical. If the anti-gun advocates had a strong case to make, they could make it without emotionalism, distortion and lies. (I’m still looking for fair, honest, left-leaning news and commentary site.)

  • The New York Times, that paragon of journalism professionalism, led this morning with an across the front page headline in bold stating, “One Shooting Massacre Follows Another, Shaking A Bewildered Nation To Its Core.” I guess the principle that news headlines are supposed to be purely fact is now dead, just like the principle that journalists shouldn’t manipulate the news to control public opinion. Who says the nation is “bewildered” or “shaken to its core”? What would the evidence for either be? I’m not bewildered. Shootings are going to occur, and in random distributions. I don’t see a nation “shaken to its core.” Life went on, the Red Sox played the Yankees Sunday night; nobody was calling for work to be cancelled today. It wasn’t Pearl Harbor, 9-11 or Kennedy’s assassination. Princess Diana’s death caused a bigger uproar.

The Times is hyping, for its own purposes. Unethical.

  • Integrity test: All indications are that the El Paso shooter, in custody, is a crazed white supremacist. The Dayton shooter, in contrast, is a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren fan, and also crazy. Let’s see which the media chooses to focus on.

78 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/5/2019: Preparing For Yet Another Anti-Gun Freak-Out Edition

  1. Media’s already focusing on the one that we’d expect them to focus.

    https://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/456111-princeton-professor-we-are-in-a-cold-civil-war?amp

    It’s actually about how President Trump’s rhetoric fuels white supremacist mass shooters and how terms like illegal immigrants dehumanized illegal immigrants, allowing white supremacists to kill minorities or something.

    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/8chan-down-after-cloudflare-suspends-account-in-wake-of-el-paso-shooting-and-manifesto/

    Cloudfare also shut down protection services to 8chan.org, because the El Paso shooter posted his manifesto there before going out to commit his crime. Apparently 8chan is responsible for mass shootings as well, and deserves to be shut down, at least according to its creator, but not its current owner.

  2. And the Boston Globe leads with a “We are all Mass Murderers” “editorial.” Which made me flash back to seventh grade and the John Kennedy assassination. I was young enough to think at the time, “We all killed John Kennedy? I don’t remember doing anything or even being in Dallas. I was in Miami the whole time, in Sister Ann Patricia’s class room.” Turns out JKF was killed by a Bernie Sanders like Soviet aficionado. “We” didn’t have anything to do with it. And yet media types still play the collective guilt card.

  3. There is a certain irony in the Democratic establishment pushing for “gun safety” laws. Very recently, they have been campaigning against mass incarceration. They have been saying that law enforcement is racist, that there are so many racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

    Funny how all these concerns about mass incarceration and white privilege and racial bias in law enforcement and criminal justice suddenly disappear, when these same people call for more “gun safety” laws.

    • I do believe it would be instructive to the knee jerk confiscators if we proposed to periodically sweep public housing and rental units for guns and other contraband to save lives. Wouldn’t it be wise to have the ability to confiscate illicit opiods, weapons, or even caches of cash from illegal enterprises.

      It can be labeled as common sense crime control or even gun control as I would expect such sweeps would turn up thousands of illegal firearms and otherwise legal firearms in the hands of felons.

      I want to stipulate that all human life is equal so it should not matter that this may affect one group more than another but if this saves a different set of lives we must admit we are ahead of the game.

      Now, for all those who want government to “do something” here is a something. And, if you think this strips people of their rights you are correct just as is imposing restrictions on responsible gun owners. Do those opposed at these restrictions feel that it is unjust to say they don’t care about saving just one life when they want to protect their rights?

      • I may be wrong on this, but I THINK the owner of a property can give permission for a search even if it is a rental. I’m not even sure where to go to find out.

        • My understanding is that access by a government agent is limited to access to the home and plain view within.

          We are actually fighting a requirement for landlords to provide access to rental property inspectors. This is the city father’s idea of common sense regulation to ensure quality rental housing. They actually state that people who are against this regulation are bad landlords trying to hide problems.

          Anyone with a brain can see this is an end run around renter privacy. Nothing stops an inspector from requesting entry from the tenant.

          The landlord cannot allow going through closets, dressers, cabinets, etc. As I understand it,as a landlord, I have a right to access my property but no right to go through drawers or areas in which they have an expectation of privacy and I have no need to look. Lawyers can give a better explanation

          I was really trying to show how “common sense laws” can be insidious rights abuse.

  4. What law or government program is going to address youngish guys being maladjusted and acting out? Can we make it a federal crime to be crazy or simply a loser and a big time jerk? Maybe we should have a federal program to educate all males on the disadvantages of committing mass murder. That’ll fix it!

    Question: I saw one or the other of these guys is alleged to have used an AK-47. Is that true? I’ve also seen “assault style” rifle tossed around. Can any of the resident gun experts clear this up? Were either of the rifles military grade “assault rifles” or were they just dressed up twenty-twos.

    • OB, the one pic I’ve seen from El Paso, it LOOKS like an AK-47 with an extended mag. Damage reports would seem to bear this out. All I’ve heard from Dayton is “long gun”.

    • OB – El Paso is said to be “AK-47” style firearm. But don’t get that confused with the fully automatic versions featured in James Bond spy movies when he’s taking on the Russians. All of the “styles” of military firearms have been used and transformed into civilian compliant models. i.e. they’re all dressed up twenty-twos.

        • I think your confusion highlights the point – there are AK-47s that shoot a .223 – there are AR-15s that shoot 7.62 and a 5.56

          Mentioning the “style” only tells you what it might have “looked” like. Not how the bullets felt.

          • Thanks guys. I’m going to assume these were both dressed up, legal rifles, not full military “assault weapons,” all the noise notwithstanding. How many people in the U.S have honest to god, combat, Soviet made or licensed fully automatic AK-47s? Or the U.S. Army equivalent? Don’t you need a special license to have a machine gun?

            • And didn’t the peace loving Muslims who shot up the night club in Paris sport honest to god AKs they’d acquired in Lille, notwithstanding gun ownership being illegal in Europe?

            • I’m going to assume these were both dressed up, legal rifles, not full military “assault weapons,”
              That would be correct, as far as can be told from reports so far. The El Paso shooter, per reports and his “manifesto” had this: https://www.centuryarms.com/wasr-144.html which is a semi-auto firing a 7.62 x 39 (30 caliber, relatively short rifle round). It would be basically the same relationship to a full-auto AK47 as an AR15 is to an M-16…that is, a civilian-legal lookalike that is not functionally different, in any significant way (except for likely being less powerful) from many a deer rifle.. He claimed he would rather have had an AR.

              The Dayton guy appears to have had an AR type.

              • Amusingly, I just noticed that the Century Arms page where they sell the WASR-10, contains the California warning that it (as apparently can everything else in the world, according to California) will give you cancer. The rifle cannot be legally sold in California.

  5. You are right about the moral luck. Of course, the media doesn’t agree with you. To them, these two things are related by the fact that guns are available, and therefore they are symptomatic of the same problem. These guns just whispered to their owners, “Go out and kill, I’m ready to make you famous.” And they did, those poor victims of eeevvviilll firearms.

    Well, the background check thing has been beaten to death, so I’m not going there.

    As far as a compromise, I’m unwilling to compromise my constitutional rights for anything. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t support enhanced background checks if it was done correctly, cheaply, and not transformed into defacto registration. But the government is incapable of doing that, and even if they could, the Democrats would rather support North Korean membership in NATO than anything that would make the gun issue less potent.

    And you’re right, the Democrats only want the issue, not the solution. Murders like this are just opportunities for them, and that’s exactly how they’ve treated this one, grandstanding about calling the Senate back.

    Integrity test: All indications are that the El Paso shooter, in custody, is a crazed white supremacist. The Dayton shooter, in contrast, is a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren fan, and also crazy. Let’s see which the media chooses to focus on.

    Well, we know how this will go. All I heard on the news this morning was white supremacy, nothing about Antifa or leftist violence.

    The rule is, if it’s bad for Trump, play it on a loop. If it’s bad for Democrats, bury it. Welcome to the 2019 newsroom.

  6. The Dayton shooter, in contrast, is a Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren fan

    Can you provide a source for that? I don’t expect that would be the sort of thing that would be trumpeted by mainstream sources.

      • Jack, do you know if the ElPaso shooter had other writings other than the alleged manifesto?

        It strikes me as odd that someone with such animus would publish only one text. There are other questions I have regarding target choices: why go to ElPaso when McAllen is closer; why go to a shopping location when all he had to do was shoot at people at the crossing ? The pedestrian crossing would have been packed with Mexican nationals. If he wanted to defend his ” beloved Texas” why shoot those who are Americans?

      • Russia Today? There they are, attacking our democracy again and the Republicans are doing nothing about it! This is an existential threat!

      • I’d hesitate to use rt.com, it being an organ of the Russian government. However, heavy.com and the Washington Times have also picked it up. Interestingly enough, this isn’t our first terrorist for gun control, the Thousand Oaks shooter made comments to that effect as well. That’s not even counting the Christchurch shooter, who was quite explicit that provoking gun control was part of his motive.

  7. This is the kind of shit I’m hearing from the political left on Facebook and places like over at the propaganda shill blog called Caffeinated Politics. Been hearing this kind of crap for years, I’m fed up with it.

    “Let’s be honest: As long as Republicans hold any power, the slaughter from gun violence will continue.”

    The only solution is to get remove all Republicans from all elected offices across the United States and put in all Democrats. So the Democrats will actually prevent gun violence; how? Absolute power for Democrats – what could possibly go wrong with that?

    Or how about how the following argument…

    “Republicans think you are stupid, and far too many of us are. They would have you believe that our gun death problem is caused solely by mental illness, or video games, or God knows what else they can make a claim about. But they can’t explain why every other industrialized country in the entire world has a minuscule number of gun deaths compared to the United States. Should we then surmise, based on GOP reasoning, that those other countries have no mental illness and no video games?”

    Yes that author does appear to be admitting that he’s stupid and then proceeds to provide us with examples to back up his stupi… uh… “intellectually sound” arguments.

    Or how about this little gem…

    “Until our nation finds the resolve to push back on the NRA, and the stooges they buy to sit in congress, the bullets and blood will keep making headlines.”

    Invoke the irrational NRA’s at fault argument, imply that money donated to Republicans (aka stooges) means they are owned and money donated to Democrats (aka saints) means they’ve got grass roots support that’s pure as the driven snow, and of course you have to continue to taint all sentences referencing the political right with “blood and bullets” so you can get that correlation effect ingrained in the minds of stupid people.

    For years I’ve been hearing statements and implications from anti-2nd Amendment people that if you put a firearm in the hands of a person they will use it to kill someone – regardless of actual statistical facts. There is absolutely no ambiguity in their rhetoric, the very presence of the firearm will cause the human being to kill someone; i.e. the firearm is possessing the human being not the other way around. Their “logic” is equivalent to that used in a Bugs Bunny cartoon episode called “Bugs Bonnets“.

    I ask you; short of abolishing the 2nd amendment and literally confiscating and destroying all firearms from citizens, what is it that Democrats will/can do that will actually PREVENT these sensational, violent, illegal and criminal things from happening? Do Democrats actually think these murderous individuals are sane; maybe using the 21 Century progressive standards of sanity they are.

    • A Modest Proposal: Ban people from having boys. An outright ban would stop this, except for the attack in Riverside that involved a Muslim girl as well as a Muslim guy. No more boy babies to grow up to be paranoid schizophrenics or just idiotic, maladjusted assholes. If an outright ban might not be acceptable, require couples to obtain a federal license before having boy babies that would require them to undergo training and achieve certification to insure they are capable of raising their boy baby to competent, non-violent adulthood. And perhaps make them post a bond or otherwise establish they will be able to make sure the child will get proper attention if he turns out to have a crippling mental illness. This will stop the flow of misbegotten, sad sack guys who pull these stunts. Let’s focus on regulating the real instruments responsible for this problem: fucked up young guys. Boys are dangerous in the hands of incompetent or inattentive parents. If you can’t handle raising a boy, sorry, no go. No license. Have a girl or you know what, just skip the whole kid thing.

      Go ahead, do something.

  8. Trump already sold out his base, and those who value proper constitutional procedure, with his bump-stock ban, and got nothing in return, not even good will. Can he be trusted not to “do something” similar now?

    • “Trump already sold out his base, and those who value proper constitutional procedure, with his bump-stock ban”

      False.

      Trump sold out no one.

      There has been laws on the books for many years covering fully automatic firearms. Bump stocks physically turn non fully automatic firearms into fully automatic firearms. Bump stocks should have been banned, in fact they never should have made it to market.

      You’re welcome to your own opinion but not your own facts.

      • I’d like for you to explain to me how a bump stock converts a semi automatic rifle to a fully automatic rifle. Does it modify the firearm in any way such that there is more than one projectile discharged from the firearm per squeeze of the trigger?

        • Andrew,
          It took a while for me to find it but there was a discussion back in December about this, here is a link to the comment that started the discussion. I agree with Zoltar on this one, although his explanation was incomplete.

          From an engineering point of view; these aftermarket devices are physically shifting the triggering device that’s used by the operator to another “mechanism”. The aftermarket device is physically an add on triggering mechanism that the operator actuates to turn the existing trigger provided by the OEM into the rough mechanical equivalent of an automatic sear.

          There are the facts from an engineering point of view. Again, people are welcome to their own opinions but not their own facts.

          • That fact is wrong. There is still only the regular trigger, the regular finger, the regular one projectile per trigger operation. Those are facts. A bump stock is not at all like an auto sear (which is mechanical already). A bump stock doesn’t even modify the firing rate of a semi automatic firearm, whose firing rate is already as quickly as one can operate the trigger. It does help the user operate that trigger quicker, but it in no way modifies the firearm to fire more than one projectile per trigger operation. It does not turn a semi automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm.

            • Andrew,
              I don’t know how to say this any other way; you’re disregarding actual actual engineering facts as being false because they don’t fit your narrative, that makes you stupid.

              Maybe we’ll agree on other things but on this topic I choose to stick with Engineering facts.

              Thanks for the interesting conversation.

              • What narrative do you think I have? Explain to me how a bump stock modifies a firearm to discharge more than one projectile per trigger operation.

                • “Explain to me how a bump stock modifies a firearm to discharge more than one projectile per trigger operation.”

                  I already did, you’re either choosing to ignore it or you’re too stupid to recognize it.

                  • You didn’t, though. Because a bump stock does not modify the trigger to allow more than one projectile discharge per trigger operation. The trigger must still be operated every time a projectile is to be discharged. An auto sear allows more than one projectile to be discharged with only one operation of the trigger. They do not do the same thing.

                    • Maybe a third set of eyes should weigh in on this. Maybe I am missing something. But nothing you have said has convinced me of any other conclusion than the one I’ve already stated. If I am missing something, then either I am unable to pick it out from what you have said, or what you have said does not contain all the information you believe it to contain.

            • You’re entirely correct, Andrew. And Steve is correct, as I think he essentially said somewhere, in that we are all basically on the same team re the broader topic of which this is a minor issue. In general, I appreciate most of what he (and certain others) write. It’s a shame that it’s been taken so far off from what I initially intended to discuss, and that some can’t seem to hold a dialog without increasingly abusive invective.

              I don’t even particularly care about bump-stocks…never owned one or wanted to. They’re clumsy, inaccurate and inefficient. I could easily make one, or use the technique demonstrated on the video elsewhere, and so could many others. There are good arguments to be made that their use is actually less of a threat than other options to victims in multiple shootings. In my eyes, all that makes a ban, like numerous other purported “gun safety” measures just another “do something” act that does little to nothing to promote public safety; I’m more-or-less indifferent to their existence. So again, that’s not my main objection to Trump’s action involving these items. Maybe I’ll post something separately to try to explain that better in a bit…perhaps a reply to Steve.

              Daring, perhaps unwisely, a slight return to the issue of the bump-stocks themselves, in support of what you’ve written, I too am puzzled by those eager to take up a stance (including definitions) that even the Obama administration (and his ATF) didn’t think they could foist on us. And they were the guys responsible for Operation Choke Point and Fast and Furious, etc. Like you, statements such as “The aftermarket device is physically an add on triggering mechanism that the operator actuates to turn the existing trigger provided by the OEM into the rough mechanical equivalent of an automatic sear.” seem very strange to me. I hope I don’t offend by hazarding a guess that perhaps some people have never actually closely examined a bump-stock, much less fired one. I’ve done so several times, with different models; I also build ARs. I think that gives me at least a minimal standing to opine on their mechanics and to note that a bump-stock doesn’t even touch the trigger, much less the other bits of the fire control group. In fact, the stock doesn’t really move at all, relative to the shooter, and just holds the finger in a static position. So the idea of it turning a trigger into even a “rough” equivalent of an auto sear fire control group, in any mechanical sense, sounds more like a magical transformation to me. Perhaps a more apt description concerning the macro behavior of the rifle would be that the stock aids the operator in holding the firearm in such a way as to better attempt to mimic the rapid fire of an automatic rifle?

              So, hope that helps some.

              I like run-on sentences, commas, ellipses, and semicolons…although I probably don’t always use them correctly 😉 I should stick to quips.

      • Curiously, even the ATF understood the “fact” that bump-stocks did not create automatic weapons, by existing law…until they were ordered to cobble together a tortured (and patently false) explanation as to how they suddenly did. The main problem in this case, however, is the extra-Constitutional method of the executive subverting the process of creating or modifying laws.

        • I don’t think bump-stocks is the hill rational people hang their hat on. The government effectively banned the sale of automatic weapons in 1986, in essence making the legal, most efficient mode of fire a semi-automatic weapon. “Semi-auto” basically meaning that when you pull the trigger once, one bullet comes out.

          Bump-stocks skirted the line of what could be considered an illegal modification to convert a semi-auto weapon to a full auto weapon because the pressure on the trigger was constant, with the bumpstock automating the trigger pull. Asserting that “technically, the trigger was being pulled once for each bullet fired, and the bump stock doesn’t offer perfect automation.” seems like a *REALLY* semantic argument, and not so much a solid, legal one.

          But hey, what do I know? Find a bump stock, show it off in front of your local detachment, get arrested, and challenge the constitutionality of banning certain firearm accessories.

          • IMO, “rational people” should be concerned about unconstitutional overreach, whether a particular instance affects them personally or not. Your description of the bump-stock action is ill-informed (wrong), but if we consider the insistence that we not ignore the laws of physics and mechanics “semantic arguments” unfit to be used in a legal challenge, then we are at the stage of letting whoever is in power say “the law means what I say it means”. This is especially true when the regulation accomplishes nothing.

            and creates somewhere between 500 thousand to 1.5 million new felons out of otherwise law-abiding citizens (so far, it appears that very few of these have been turned in or destroyed).

            • God… There’s so much bullshit in there it’s hard to sort it out.

              First off, I never accept someone telling me that I’m wrong without explaining how I’m wrong. I’m familiar with bump-stocks, I could draw you one. A bump stock allows the rifle to slide freely and harnesses the weapon’s kickback to re-recoil the weapon against the trigger finger. Not only is that an accurate description of the (very) basic function of one of these devices, I would *LOVE* for you to try to educate me otherwise. I’ll pop some corn.

              Second, the number of people who break the law has never been a deciding factor on whether a law should be made, unless literally everyone does it. I bet you more than 500,000 Americans speed on a monthly basis, and I don’t think you’re about to do away with speed limits. More on this: You have no idea how many bump-stocks existed nor how many people just tossed them in the bin.

              Third, you think I’m ignoring physics? Can you think of a functional reason to employ a bump stock that does not involve the emulation of full-auto fire? The very video you linked said in the video description that the bump stocked semi-auto felt like a full-auto weapon. You provided video evidence that I’m right, you’re just too stupid to realize it.

              • The bump-stock harnesses nothing; it merely supplies a convenient way for the shooter to hold the firearm loosely. The shooter’s forward arm and hand provide the force that moves the rifle forward and pushes it again against the trigger finger. A bump-stock, in fact, actually lets the finger disengage from the trigger more than the unassisted firing shown there. Shall we call your left arm a “machine gun”? That’s where you’re wrong, and ignoring the mechanics of the operation.

                If you want to put traffic tickets given out for minor violations of a privilege into the same buckets as Constitutionally protected right and felonies, perhaps you should refine your perspective. True, I have no way to know for certain what has been done with the existing bump-stocks (nor even how many might have originally been sold or even home made), and neither do you, but very few have been turned in, which along with other information suggests that the bulk of them are still out there. I never owned one myself, but know at least a few people who did…and still do. FWIW, the video also demonstrates the uselessness of the ban.

                “Feeling like” something is not the same thing as being something. I’ll try not to regress to your level of vulgarity and insult; I see it as the resort of someone who knows he has no tenable argument.

                • I’m tired and you’re an idiot, this is my last comment to you, feel free to have the last word.

                  First paragraph: You’ve just written fanfiction. That is not how those devices operate, but even if it were… I fail to see your point. Again… It is illegal to own an automatic weapon fabbed after 1986. It is illegal to modify a semi-automatic weapon to be fully-automatic. It is not unreasonable for someone to ask a question like: “If this device is not designed to replicate fully automatic fire, then what is it?” Which, I’ll remind you, I did, and which, I’ll point out, you chose not to answer.

                  Second paragraph: I think you’re having a really cool conversation with yourself that happens to be in a parallel universe only marginally tethered to reality. There is no constitutional right to bear bump stocks. Even if you want to argue that “shall not be infringed” is absolute, the law and the world will carry on without you, there are all kinds of infringements on the right to bear arms, and while I don’t agree with all of them, I’m not stupid enough to die on the hill of a device designed to get around the automatic weapons ban. Also, I don’t particularly care about your anecdotal evidence, you made an assertion, I said you were full of shit, and you said, “yeah, but I know a guy”. Bloody. Marvelous.

                  Third paragraph: I was making a direct quote from *your own* bloody source, you mental midget. If you’re too stupid to actually look at your own sources, I’m not going to hold back punches when they don’t agree with the assertions you’re making.

              • “A bump stock allows the rifle to slide freely and harnesses the weapon’s kickback to re-recoil the weapon against the trigger finger.”

                That’s slightly inaccurate. The recoil is not what advances the rifle to actuate the trigger, the continuous forward force applied by the operator does this. The recoil of the rifle overcomes the continuous forward force applied by the operator until it reaches the physical limits of the design and stops then the continuous forward force applied by the operator pushes the rifle forward into the finger that actuates the OEM trigger. The entire bumpstock is an add on trigger device that turns the OEM trigger into the mechanical equivalent of an auto sear.

                • You’ve got it pretty much right, until the end. An auto sear is the mechanical equivalent of an auto sear, the whole assembly being a mechanical setup. A bump stock allows a user to more easily do the bump fire trick. It’s something you can try at home with your belt loop as well. To say that a bump stock is an equivalent of an auto sear is incorrect. There is still only one projectile fired per trigger operation.

                  • “To say that a bump stock is an equivalent of an auto sear is incorrect.”

                    That some fine revisionist writing there Andrew.

                    I can’t friggin believe that I have to explain some this simple; reread Andrew, I DID NOT say that “a bump stock is an equivalent of an auto sear”.

                    • “The entire bumpstock is an add on trigger device that turns the OEM trigger into the mechanical equivalent of an auto sear.”

                      Fine. You said it with few extra words. But saying that A turns B into the mechanical equivalent of C is saying that A is an equivalent of C when it comes to functionality.

                    • If my interpretation of what you said is so wrong that a must be an idiot, then how am I supposed to interpret it? I would very much like to know, so as to not appear like an idiot in your eyes.

                    • I wrote, “The entire bumpstock is an add on trigger device that turns the OEM trigger into the mechanical equivalent of an auto sear.”

                      You wrote that that’s “saying that A turns B into the mechanical equivalent of C is saying that A is an equivalent of C when it comes to functionality.”

                      What I literally wrote is that A (add on trigger device) turns B (OEM trigger) into the mechanical equivalent of C (auto sear). I am literally saying that the add on trigger device is turning the OEM trigger into the mechanical equivalent auto sear NOT that the add on trigger device is a functional equivalent to an auto sear. Anyone with rudimentary logic skills should have understood what I wrote. A bumpstock is NOT equivalent to an auto sear, I never said or implied that it was.

                      We are on the same side of the 2nd Amendment but on opposite sides of logic.

            • “if we consider the insistence that we not ignore the laws of physics and mechanics “semantic arguments” unfit to be used in a legal challenge”

              Reading that it appears that you are neither an Engineer or a Lawyer. Read my comment above.

      • Permit me to now elaborate on what I meant to be the thrust of my previous comment before we got bogged down in bump-stock hell. Now that Trump is making noises about similarly addressing other aspects of firearms policy, it seems relevant.

        Here is a good, though incomplete, commentary on why Trump’s previous action dealing with the issue was a bad move, whether or not one approved of his motives or target. https://reason.com/2019/03/28/donald-trumps-bump-stock-ban-turns-peace/#comments
        Some of the comments worth reading as well.

        To the information noted there, I would add a few other important concerns. In bypassing the correct way of addressing the issue through congressional action, Trump also closed the door on accommodations and adjustments to the law that could/should have been made if done by the legislature. This put the targeted owners in an unprecedented position compared to previous similar situations involving firearms policy.

        1) Trump could not open the NFA registry, so legal owners had no chance to add their legally acquired items as had been previously done.

        2) Trump could not modify or create new penalties, so owners with previously government-approved bits of plastic faced the same hefty felony penalties as persons smuggling heavy machine guns or running black-market firearm building operation to supply criminals (this is actually being done).

        3) Whether it met the strict legal definition of a government taking without compensation, for all practical purposes it amounted to the same thing. Since Trump had no means to authorize or provide payments, innocent citizens suffered the loss. Worse than Australian “buy-backs”.

        One of the worst things, however, at least in my view, is that Trump threw away a bargaining chip that could have been used to get hearing protection and/or reciprocal carry. I believe this is where the NRA was going when they signaled some willingness to address the bump-stock issue. Since few really cared about the devices, this would have been an ideal opportunity. If he thought the left would somehow love him for this, he was very wrong there, as well. He blew it

  9. “Background checks, however strong, wouldn’t have stopped these shootings in all likelihood, or the vast majority of mass shootings.”

    Probably not, but they’re still a good idea. While they might not stop all (or even any) *mass* shootings (however we want to define those*, universal background checks probably could prevent *some* murders. And so it becomes a balancing act of utilitarianism and liberty.

    I don’t know where I fall on this. If administered properly, I think that there are some liberties one loses while being convicted, especially of violent crimes, and gun ownership seems an easy and obvious case scenario. I just don’t know if I trust the state to administer this properly.

    I think that gun rights advocates aren’t being honest about this though. Depending on how the question is asked, something like 80% of America, sometimes as much as 90% of America supports some version of universal background checks. Hell, up until very recently, Universal Background Checks were supported by the NRA. It *is* common sense gun regulation, more than that, it’s low hanging fruit. It’s the “third trimester abortion” of the gun argument, something that we should all be able to agree on, but because neither side really trusts the other, nothing gets done, and the insanity continues.

    In fact, if anyone opposes UBCs because they actually have some kind of problem with the idea of not allowing gun sales to felons, I think that person has to take a couple steps back and look at the situation more clearly. The same people who are OK with borderline torture in prisons, and the petty financial ruination of the rest of the felon’s life are suddenly deeply concerned about their ability to hoist guns? Please. The reason, I think, that people oppose UBCs isn’t because they’re opposed to UBCs, they’re opposed to any legislation that touches on gun ownership, because even the most sensible of restrictions could be used as a foot in the door for the next round of “sensible” gun reforms, which might be much less sensible. It’s a mind frame I understand, and won’t begrudge, because frankly I think there’s something to it…. But it’s still kind of sad.

    • You could have just written “Do something!”.
      A (perhaps the) major reason many oppose UBCs is that there is no practical way to enforce them (against the law-abiding, of course) without a universal firearms registry.

      • “You could have just written “Do something!”.”

        It’s comments like this that make me think you’re an idiot. No, I don’t want legislators to “do something!” I’d like to consider universal background checks, because I think having a consistent barrier between convicted felons and firearms isn’t a bad idea. You can disagree on that, we can discuss your disagreement, but refining my comment to “do something” is either indicative of an exceptional amount of bias coupled with laziness, or a crippling reading comprehension problem. Do better or piss off.

        “A (perhaps the) major reason many oppose UBCs is that there is no practical way to enforce them (against the law-abiding, of course) without a universal firearms registry.”

        Not only is this not true, I have no idea why you think it would be. You realize that common practice currently is a background check, right? That there are only a handful of states that don’t require them for retailers, and gun shows or inheritances are the minority of acquisitions?

        So right now we have a system where the vast majority of firearms are bought with BCs, and the few that aren’t are bought by impulse buyers at trade shows, doomsday preppers wrapped in tin foil, and criminals. I think a legitimate conversation could be had about whether inconveniencing impulse buyers and ignoring crazy people properly offsets making it harder for criminals to buy guns.

        • One reason retailers would want to support background checks is a nti-discrimination laws.

          Suppose a yping black man vidits a store, dressed in gang colors, and asks to buy a weapon.

          This was the sutuayion prior to 1993.

          If the retailer sells, the man might use it in a drive-by shooting.

          If the retailer refuses to sell, a lawyer may show up at the end of the day, delivering a formal complaint for racial discrimination.

          With background checks, the retailer can simply run a background check and base the decision to sell on that.

        • I didn’t know I was a doomsday prepped or a criminal. Guess I better get my tinfoil hat made.

          While every purchase that goes through an FFL dealer requires a background check, and a form 4473 to be filled out, the states that allow fully private sales do not require these. Why should the sale of personal property be required to have government approval, based on that particular type of property being demonized by much of the mainstream media?

          • “Why should the sale of personal property be required to have government approval”

            I think characterizing this as approval is deeply flawed. The government doesn’t have the ability to approve or deny any individual sale, they report whether the person has a criminal record and therefore whether the sale is legal. If someone passes a check, there is no further “approval” on the number or style of firearms (outside those illegal to own) to be purchased.

            Even if you want to call those rubber-stamp legality checks “approval”, that already happens, even with private sales. It is illegal to drive a vehicle without insurance in all 50 states, and every state requires at least one plate.

            • That’s not quite correct for vehicles. On public roads must vehicles be insured. On private property, drive it all you want.

              Requiring the government to approve a sale, even if it is just a rubber stamp, is still an interference into a particular subset of personal property that is not seen in any other category of personal property.

              • Oh come on. I don’t know whether you actually believe that or you’re just being obtuse. Try privately buying some active uranium, or some medical grade opiods. Try selling a house without registering the sale. There are all kinds of private sales that are illegal without government stamps, there are all kinds of sales that governments will not stamp.

                • I guess I don’t believe anything I’ve typed. Go on eBay, and you can find many examples of uranium glass, ore, and test sources for sale. Or is that not active enough for you (though the uranium glass does give off a green glow under a UV light)? I don’t recall doctors working for the government, at least not currently. For a house, do you mean disclosing the revenue from that sale to the government? Because tax purposes? That would be after the sale, not a requirement to approve the sale.

                  • I mean, maybe that was supposed to be tongue in cheek, maybe it’s a confession. Who knows?

                    It’s uniquely exhausting having a back and forth with someone who either has no base of understanding of what you’re talking about, or pretends not to. Frankly, you’re either being deliberately obtuse, or you’re unintelligent and uninteresting enough that I think I’ve wasted enough time on you.

                    Take for instance Doctors; Even though they are not direct government employees, they are regulated, obviously, you cannot legally get an opiod without a prescription, the process of that prescription is regulated and recorded in a federal database. You cannot photocopy your prescription and go to a dozen pharmacists.

                    If you honestly didn’t know that…. Then I have no idea why you think your input is meaningful. If you’re only pretending not to know that… Then I still have no idea why you think your input is meaningful, I just also think you’re an ass.

                    • You know me so well. Better than I know myself. But whatever helps you justify extra ordinary regulations on a certain subset of private property because media makes it seem scary.

        • Nice. After admitting that new laws are largely unlikely to have much, if any, effect, you still think creating some is a “good idea”. that’s classic “do-something-ism”.

          You also seem to think some significant number of people oppose such laws out of concern for convicted felons, and that such laws would form a “..consistent barrier between convicted felons and firearms..”., as if that class of persons would suddenly adhere to those laws. Magical thinking.

          There is a “firearms registry” for dealer sales that require background checks (it was used, and failed to prevent, many of the “newsworthy” firearms incidents). The problem is, once a firearm moves into private ownership (nearly 400 million at present), there is no way to determine if checks have been done on subsequent transfers without a permanent accessible record of each and every firearm’s owner and transfer(s), i.e., a universal registry. In the absence of such, there is no way to prove whether the law has been followed, so no way to enforce it. Why do you think this is not true? Even with such a law, someone wishing to transfer a gun to a felon (or anyone else) could merely claim he lost it, it was stolen, or he sold it years before.

          “…and the few that aren’t are bought by impulse buyers at trade shows, doomsday preppers wrapped in tin foil, and criminals.” This doesn’t even really deserve a response, but it suffices to remember that the least likely to be inhibited by new laws demanding legal behavior are the criminals and crazies, not the sane and law-abiding.

  10. “Nice. After admitting that new laws are largely unlikely to have much, if any, effect, you still think creating some is a “good idea”. that’s classic “do-something-ism”.”

    I’d like to remind you that the comment that I was specifically referring to when I said that was referring to *MASS* shootings. The idea that UBCs could be useful obviously have ramifications outside mass shootings, and I explained why. Most mass shooters aren’t criminals, but that negate the logic that says that we should at least attempt to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

    “You also seem to think some significant number of people oppose such laws out of concern for convicted felons, and that such laws would form a “..consistent barrier between convicted felons and firearms..”., as if that class of persons would suddenly adhere to those laws. Magical thinking.”

    I think it’s a red herring used by gun advocates who are being dishonest. I don’t think anyone actually believes this, but when approaching this from a “rights” perspective, you have to ask whose rights are actually being infringed. Whatever infringement a BC entails already exists for most sales, and are at worst a two-day nuisance which America has already found to be constitutionally allowable, so I would love for you to explain to me who’s rights would be infringed by universally expanding BCs other than the people who would not pass them. At which point: You are functionally going balls to the wall to ensure the rights of felons, whether you are cognizant of it or not.

    “There is a “firearms registry” for dealer sales that require background checks (it was used, and failed to prevent, many of the “newsworthy” firearms incidents). The problem is, once a firearm moves into private ownership (nearly 400 million at present), there is no way to determine if checks have been done on subsequent transfers without a permanent accessible record of each and every firearm’s owner and transfer(s), i.e., a universal registry. In the absence of such, there is no way to prove whether the law has been followed, so no way to enforce it. Why do you think this is not true? Even with such a law, someone wishing to transfer a gun to a felon (or anyone else) could merely claim he lost it, it was stolen, or he sold it years before.”

    I can think of about a dozen ways to manage meaningful UBCs without a firearms registry; In Canada, gun owners are required to be licensed, but that license is not tied to any firearms, I personally own three and the government doesn’t know what they are. I think, at worst, it would apply a new avenue for prosecution, which could close avenues allowing guns to get on the black market. I think that in order to have an honest conversation on this topic, you have to stop pretending to have a terminal lack of imagination. Again, you can disagree with whether or not individual plans would be effective, but pretending they don’t exist just makes you look stupid.

  11. “Most mass shooters aren’t criminals, but that negate the logic that says that we should at least attempt to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

    *that doesn’t negate the logic”

    Good lord.

  12. There are already thousands of laws aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals, and punishing them for violations. You think that people are being dishonest and don’t really believe that more of the same type can be circumvented by felons? That belief is hardly advocacy for felons; more like an acceptance of reality. And it still doesn’t address how BCs could be made in any meaningful way “universal”.

    If you can think of about a dozen ways to effectively enforce UBCs without a registry, you’re going to have to do better than suggesting that licensing law-abiding owners to exercise a Constitutional right (regardless of the fact that that won’t happen in the US) without registering what they own would somehow do the job of stopping illegal transfers. ( As an aside, Canada scrapped their long gun registry several years ago after it had proven to be costly and useless.)

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