A Republican Georgia gubernatorial candidate announced a “bump stock” giveaway Monday to protest attempts to ban the device, which was used to execute the deadliest mass shooting in American history.
State Sen. Michael Williams acknowledged the tragedy of the massacre in Las Vegas in his announcement, but maintained that attempts to regulate or ban the sale of bump stocks, which shooter Stephen Paddock used to massacre 58 people, were ultimately misguided.
“In reality, the bump stock is the new, shiny object politicians are using to deceive voters into believing they are taking action against gun violence,” Williams said. “Many firearms experts determined the Las Vegas shooter’s use of a bump stock actually prevented more casualties and injuries due to its inconsistency, inaccuracy, and lack of control. There is zero evidence that banning bump stocks would prevent any gun violence deaths.”
Williams announced he would give away a bump stock to one lucky raffle winner in a show of defiance against “liberals” and “Hollywood elites.”
“Georgia’s gun owners deserve a governor who will stand with them when liberals and Hollywood elites attack our fundamental rights. That’s why I am standing for the Second Amendment and giving away a bump stock as a show of support,” Williams said in a statement.
Authorities found multiple rifles outfitted with bump stocks in the Las Vegas shooter’s hotel room, which he used as a perch to open fire on some 22,000 concertgoers gathered below. The device harnesses a semi-automatic rifle’s natural recoil action in order to “bump” the rifle back and forth, increasing the weapon’s rate of fire to that of a fully automatic weapon. (RELATED: The Vegas Shooter Had Two Bump Stocks In His Room, Here’s What That Means)
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle called for the device to be banned in the wake of the tragedy, arguing that the retrofit allows gun owners to circumvent prohibitions against modifications that convert a semi-automatic into a fully automatic weapon. The device initially evaded prohibition because the bump stock requires that the trigger be pulled for each round fired so that the rifle can still be legally classified as a semi-automatic.
GOP leadership and conservative lawmakers such as Sens. John Cornyn of Texas and Mark Meadows of North Carolina expressed a willingness to enact specific legislation targeting the device in the days after the shooting.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) has pushed for an administrative solution, arguing that the Bureau of Alcohol of Tobacco and Firearms should review whether bump stocks comply with current law. However, the NRA has also come out against a bill, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, that would outlaw bump stocks outright.
Williams cast the issue as a mental health problem and emphasized the role of personal responsibility in combatting mass shootings.
“You cannot regulate evil out of existence. Blaming guns or bump stocks for the actions of a lunatic is the same as blaming McDonald’s for heart disease,” he said.
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