bump fire stock, (L), that attaches to an semi-automatic assault
Congressional Republicans are considering a rare gun regulation
in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas, and conservative
media is pushing back.
House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday joined
a number of Republicans saying they are open to potentially
regulating or banning the “bump stocks” found in the hotel room
of the shooter in Las Vegas earlier this week, which left at
least 59 dead and about 500 wounded.
Bump stocks are modifications that allow semi-automatic weapons
to fire at the higher rates that simulate automatic weapons,
which are illegal and
far more difficult to obtain.
But many conservative media outlets, which often mirror
sentiments among the base and help stoke action, aren’t
The Wall Street Journal editorial board dismissed
the argument that gun control — and banning bump stocks
specifically — would stop mass shootings, writing that the
practice of bumping a trigger manually with one’s finger “long
predates bump stocks or other accessories.”
Other sites more aligned with the conservative grassroots went
Breitbart News has run several articles in the last several
days criticizing Republicans for considering legislation to ban
the gun modifications.
In a headline on the site on Thursday, Breitbart framed an
Associated Press story about GOP leaders considering a bump stock
ban as a “widespread cave,” while the top story on the site
described White House counselor Kellyanne Conway as “weak”
for telling CNN that the administration is open to a gun control
And on Wednesday, the site ran a story
titled “Five Key Facts About Bump-Stock Devices.” The story
pointed out that bump-stocks decrease accuracy and aren’t the
only devices that modify semi-automatic weapons to increase
the rate of fire. Moreover, Breitbart Second Amendment
columnist AWR Hawkins wrote that eliminating them would be part
of a “typical leftist war on the poor.”
“A ban on bump-stock devices takes away the $200 device poorer
citizens can buy to at least pretend to be shooting the real
machines they will never be able to afford,” Hawkins
The Daily Caller, the right-leaning digital site founded by
Tucker Carlson, hasn’t outright endorsed bump stocks, but has
taken to trolling gun control proponents and chastising
outlets like CNN for their coverage of bump stocks.
In separate posts, the site wrote that host Chris Cuomo
spread “fake news” about bump stocks and that host John
his lack of firearm knowledge” by saying that the bump stock
converts a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon.
Cuomo and Berman were essentially making the point that
a bump stock helps users mimic the high rates of fire of
automatic weapons. But the site’s media reporter instead focused
on the semantic argument, insisting that bump stock rifles
“still require one trigger pull per shot.”
Further, the Daily Caller’s David Hookstead, one of the
site’s vocal gun enthusiasts,
wrote a column praising a viral video that
attempts to troll gun-control proponents by pretending
a bump stock-modified rifle could fire 70,000 rounds
“This is one of the greatest troll jobs I’ve seen in a very
long time,” Hookstead wrote on the site. “The best part is we all
know there are people who watched this, shared it and commented
on the video who fully believe what he did would actually
Others have attempted to blame the sale of bump stocks
on former President Barack Obama.
Echoing a sentiment circulating around conservative media, White
House counselor Kellyanne Conway pointed out
on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that in 2010, the
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms decided against
classifying the weapons as automatic. In 2010, the Texas-based
company Slide Fire petitioned the ATF to allow the bump-stocks to
“This is a device that Obama’s ATF decided would not be regulated
in 2010 and I think that’s an important part of this
conversation,” she said.
It remains unclear whether many top Trump boosters will come
out against bump stock regulation.
Thus far, some of President Donald Trump’s favorite opinion
hosts on Fox News like Sean Hannity haven’t seriously weighed-in
on the issue, but a few regular Trump defenders have expressed an
openness to regulating bump stocks.
Greg Gutfeld, a co-host of Fox’s “The Five,” told viewers two
days in a row that he supported banning bump stocks, while major
Trump booster Jesse Watters admitted that he understood why
Republicans would want to look at banning the devices.
“I agree with Greg,” Watters conceded. “Bump stocks might have to
be looked at.”