On ‘Bump Stocks’, the Second Amendment, and Liberty

Friends I must apologize, in the wake of the Las Vegas shootings, I replied to a friend’s Facebook post agreeing that I thought bump stocks should be outlawed. Bump stocks are the, still legal, accessory that allows modern sporting rifles to achieve high rates of fire mimicking automatic weapons. Indications are that the Las Vegas shooter used one or more bump stocks during the crime to achieve and maintain a high rate of fire. It is possible that the bump stock added to the death toll.

Therefore my thinking went something like this:

Bump stocks are really a novelty in the firearms world. While they increase the rate of fire, they also make a rifle harder to control and potentially less  accurate. Nobody really needs a bump stock. But they do look a lot of like fun 🙂

If the NRA was willing to compromise on bump stocks, then so was I.

In my defense, at the time I was in the hospital recovering from open-heart surgery, sleep deprived, overcome with anger about the attack, and taking a narcotic (oxycodone) for pain relief.

The problem was that I, like many in this current debate, was not asking the right question. I was asking,

What can we do, what could we have done, to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future or at the very least to minimize their possible effects

Therefore, I took aim at bump stocks. Why not? Bump stocks are an easy target. After all, if bump stocks had simply never existed, I don’t think I would care. So, if outlawing them saves even one life, my reasoning was … it would be worth it.

A week later, after much reflection and no longer on opioids, I have changed my mind. Does this mean that I no longer care about the loss of life in crimes like Las Vegas? Not at all! It means that I am now asking the question I should have been asking in the first place. The question is,

What can we do, what could we have done — within the framework of our Constitutional Republic, where the government is established to be the guarantor of the natural rights of the people, where the right to keep and bear arms is specifically enumerated — to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in the future or at the very least to minimize their possible effects

I was looking for the most efficacious solution while failing to consider how it might impact the government’s ongoing commitment/willingness to continue to guarantee all of our rights. If we allow the government to infringe a portion of our Second Amendment rights, even a seemingly trivial non-essential portion, we run the risk of losing the essentials as well.

Activists from ANTIFA and BLM to the Alt-Right do agree on one thing … some of our rights are in danger.  In this environment, I cannot support any action that would further endanger our rights.

So, when it comes down to brass tacks, 

If preemptively outlawing bump stocks could have prevented 59 deaths and 527 injuries in Las Vegas would I have done it?

My answer must always be a resounding NO!

Many of you know that I was a reluctant Tump supporter, but I am no Trump apologist. In recent days I have heard many say that the president (and all our elected officials) primary job is to ensure the safety of the American people. I agree that this is crucial! But the oath that these people (and our military) take all speak to supporting and defending or preserving, protecting and defending The Constitution of the United States.

I would rather live a free man with the friction of our constitutional republic than enjoy safety as a slave under tyranny!

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