The NRA is widely regarded as a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. Its capitulation on so-called "bump fire stocks" shows otherwise.
The statement from the National Rifle Association (NRA) issued on Thursday was carefully crafted to make it appear that the NRA remained a staunch defender of gun rights while it simultaneously promoted further breaches of those same rights. The statement was divided into three parts:
[Part I]: In the aftermath of the evil and senseless attack in Las Vegas, the American people are looking for answers as to how future tragedies can be prevented. Unfortunately, the first response from some politicians has been to call for more gun control.
It may be that the NRA was indirectly calling out former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who still manages to keep himself in the public eye 18 years after he left Congress. Said Gingrich during an interview on Fox on Wednesday:
I ... think that some of the technology has to be looked at.... If there is something that makes it easier to convert a semiautomatic [rifle] into an automatic, maybe that does have to be looked at and put under the federal firearms act, which makes it illegal to have a genuinely automatic weapon. I think [that] as technology changes, sometimes we have to change the rules to catch up with those technologies.
The NRA then sided with Gingrich and others pressing either for expanded regulations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) or more restrictions written into law by Congress:
[Part II]: Despite the fact that the Obama administration approved the sale of bump fire stocks on at least two occasions, the National Rifle Association is calling on the … BATFE to immediately review whether these devices comply with federal law.
The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations.
The leader of the Congressional Second Amendment Caucus, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Wis.), immediately called out the NRA for its two-faced claim it was defending the Second Amendment while calling for more limitations to it:
I think it’s a horrible idea to ask the ATF to contort existing law. I think it sets a bad precedent … [they’re] asking the Trump ATF to be stricter on gun owners than the Obama ATF!...
I think [the NRA’s call] demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of how [our] government is supposed to work….
I don’t think you can read a ban on bump fire stocks into existing law.
Besides, added Massie, “There are at least a dozen ways to make semi-automatic firearms operate more quickly. There is no way to ban bump fire.” The New York Times agreed with Massie as it pointed out the shortcomings of bump fire stocks and its iterations: “Accuracy typically suffers and the weapon [with a bump stock attached to it] can overheat, damaging it or quickly making it hard to handle. The devices include bump stocks, trigger cranks and … rapid reset triggers, any [one] of which allow a semiautomatic weapon to fire faster than a human finger can pull a trigger, unassisted.”
This view also coincides with the Wall Street Journal’s rhetorical question: “Congress could outlaw bump stocks, but how does it outlaw a technique?”
The NRA then finished its statement with reassurances that it, as America’s “protector” of the Second Amendment, would stand athwart any attempts to restrict gun ownership rights further:
[Part III]: In an increasingly dangerous world, the NRA remains focused on our mission: strengthening Americans’ Second Amendment freedom to defend themselves, their families and their communities.
Such blatant perfidy by the NRA was also called out by the 4.5 million member National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR):
If a gimmicky rifle stock can be banned, what’s next? Federal regulations on magazines, scopes, or bi-pods? A new round of restrictions on other features, like Senator Feinstein’s 1994 gun ban? A full resurrection of her so-called “Assault Weapons” Ban?
Make no mistake — this is a red herring, playing right into the hands of those who seek an open door to more federal regulations on firearms and accessories.
Pushback against the NRA’s call for more regulation or legislation came also from the Gun Owners of America (GOA):
Gun Owners of America opposes a ban on bump stocks. Bump stocks were approved by the ATF during the Obama administration to help gun owners with disabilities fire their weapons. Any type of ban will be ignored by criminals and only serve to disarm honest citizens.
The gun grabbers may claim that they want to reduce gun crimes, but the reality is that disarming the law-abiding would inevitably lead to more crime. But even worse, it would also subvert the purpose of the Second Amendment, which is to protect the people and their rights from government. As Richard Stevens wrote for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO): “Before a government can become a full-blown tyranny, the government must first disarm its citizens. The Founders of this nation, from their own experience, knew that when government goes bad, liberty evaporates and people die ... unless the people are armed.”