The Las Vegas shooting of 2017 left leaving gun owners concerned about the removal of guns and regulations towards gun control.
The assault lasting eleven minutes and 1,049 rounds of ammunition were shot at the crowd. Found in the gunman’s hotel room were 23 firearms, 12 of which were fitted with bump stock-type-devices.
City of Dubuque Police Officer, Lt. Joe Messerich explains,“the purpose of a bump stock is so a semi automatic rifle can fire at an automatic rifle or machine gun rate.”
Bump stocks are classified as an accessory and do not have serial numbers therefore the devices are not required to be registered.
Gun owner, Matt Anderson enjoys a brisk afternoon at the range…target shooting with his AR-15 rifle.
Normally, he would also have his rifle fitted with his homemade bump-stock-type device….but not today…actually not ever again.
The countdown is on for owners of bump stocks, like Anderson, as the effective date for a nationwide rule banning all bump-stock-type devices quickly approaches.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, current possessors of bump-stock-type devices must destroy or surrender their devices to an ATF office before March 26th.
Anderson, who studies Criminology at Loras College, is disheartened by the bump stock ban. “ I do not think there is a need for the banning of bump stocks. Safety is not the issue. What I would say is the issue is honestly the government,” explains Anderson.
Safety has always been in the forefront of Anderson’s concerns when it comes to handling guns. He is pursuing a career as a police officer, and has immediate family in law enforcement…however, he feels strongly that the ban will be ineffective.
“And the banning bump stocks is not going to stop people. The only way to stop people from being hurt is a full on weapons ban and if they do that-that is against the second amendment,” says Anderson.
Anderson could be right about the possible ineffectiveness of the ban. With the closest ATF office being at least an hour and a half away, the chances of bump-stock owners in Dubuque County turning in their bumps stocks are slim.
Some say that the removal of guns is a call to repeal the second Amendment and it can be impossible to track down how many bump stocks Americans own.
Lt. Messerich explains, “If a device like that were to be used criminally it would be catastrophic. So will this enhance safety, its possible, will it guarantee to enhance safety-absolutely not.”
Since this is a federal law police men and women at the local level have to be able to make an arrest on whoever they see walking around possessing bump stalks. However, any investigation or prosecution rests at the federal level.
“ I am unaware of any case in Dubuque Iowa where bump stock has been used to commit a crime. I would agree that the vast majority of people who do own bump stocks own them for fun” says Messerich.
Messerich also noted that owning a bump stock is very costly as it can cost a person any where from forty to fifty dollars every thirty seconds or every time he or she fires.
Bump Stock owners plan on disabling their bump stocks throughout theses next two weeks and in the meantime the police men remind us that the spirit of this law is to prevent mass shootings like we saw in Las Vegas.