In October 2017, shortly after it was revealed that Las Vegas right-wing white domestic terrorist Stephen Paddock used a bump stock adapter when he murdered 58 people at an outdoor festival, Republicans quickly offered their thoughts and prayers. Many people wondered whether or not the Republican Party, beholden to the NRA, would even make the almost meaningless gesture of banning bump stocks. Bump stocks are used to allow semi-automatic firearms to act more like fully-automatic machine gun-style firearms. On Tuesday, the Trump administration finally announced that it was banning the use of bump stocks.
Those who possess the devices, which make it easier to fire rounds from a semi-automatic weapon by harnessing the gun’s recoil to “bump” the trigger faster, will have 90 days to turn in or otherwise destroy them from the date that the final rule is published in the federal register — likely this Friday — according to senior DOJ officials.
Of course, banning bump stocks alone is mostly just a gesture because the devices themselves only provide users some mechanical help in firing off the number of rounds that the gun itself can already fire, at a rate at which the gun can also already fire. It’s sort of like banning goggles at the pool to stop people from looking under water.
However, the gun lobby’s control over the Republican Party has been so strong that even Donald Trump has only mentioned possibly banning bump stocks every few weeks for over a year, while doing nothing until Tuesday. At least bump stocks are finally being banned! It is something.