To the Editor:
Is President Trump about to earn the approval of progressives? He declared that he will issue an executive order banning bump stocks because “they turn rifles into machine guns”. So, he’s against machine guns. Good. We liberals will cheer further if he simply extends the ban to all machine guns. According to Federal law (26 U.S. Code §5845) “The term ‘machine gun’ means any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.” There is no need for anyone but a soldier or a law-enforcement officer ever to possess such a tool for killing several at once.
President Trump surely realizes that his willingness to charge into a shooting scene is a fool’s errand if facing a machine gun, whereas a single-load weapon offers would-be victims and defenders abundant opportunity to overwhelm a shooter during reloading. When President Trump rids our country not only of bump stocks but also of sales of AR-15s and other machine guns (per the legal definition), he’ll be bathed in gratitude from unexpected quarters.
After that, he could go on to solidify widespread gratitude by leading a buy-back program for existing machine guns, in advance of banning possession of them by anyone other than law enforcement officers.
But it remains to be seen if his apparent willingness to do the right thing was just one more episode in his being a human wind-vane, later expressing further sensible thoughts in a televised bipartisan conference in the Cabinet Room but in all likelihood something quite different at a private dinner that evening with the NRA leaders.