Florida's bump stock ban and the slippery slope

You remember Florida's Gov. Rick Scott, don't you?

He's the supposedly conservative Republican who bowed to pressure from Al Sharpton and appointed Angela Corey to prosecute George Zimmerman for second-degree murder – after police determined that Zimmerman had acted in self-defense when Trayvon Martin attacked him.

Yeah.  That Gov. Scott.

Well, Gov. Scott is back to this old tricks again, bowing to pressure from left-wing activists.  On March 9, he signed a gun control bill banning "bump stocks" that increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles and raising the purchase age for firearms to 21.

The law was passed after Nikolas Cruz allegedly murdered seventeen people in Parkland – after the FBI and the Broward County Sheriff's Department botched numerous attempts to stop him.

The curious thing about the new law is that Cruz is not alleged to have used a bump stock to commit his crime.  It is not within the notice of this writer that bump stocks have been used to commit any crimes in the State of Florida.

So why ban them?

The bill was advertised as a "school safety" measure, but it's hard to see how banning bump stocks will improve school safety if they've never been used to commit crimes in schools.

Presumably, Gov. Scott and the cosponsors of the new law would argue that a ban on bump stocks will prevent future crimes.

But that's merely hypothetical.  And that's where I have a serious problem with this law.

If government starts banning things because people might use them to commit future crimes, then there's no practical limit to what government may forbid.

The real reason why bump stocks were banned is not because of the Parkland school shooting or because of any other crime in the State of Florida.  They were banned because Las Vegas shooter Steven Paddock allegedly used one, and Paddock's crime put bump stocks in the center of national media hysteria.

But Paddock – like Cruz – could have committed his crime just as easily without one.

I am not particularly interested in defending bump stocks.  Bump stocks are mere gimmicks, used harmlessly by thousands of people, without any practical value to me.

But I am interested in articulating a general principle, and it is this: freedom means that people get to do whatever they want as long as they do not infringe on the life, liberty, and property of others.  If people want to peaceably use bump stocks, then God bless 'em.  And if people commit crimes using bump stocks, they should be tried in court – and, if convicted of a crime severe enough, executed. That's called due process of law, and it's required by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.

But now Florida has established the precedent that bump stocks may be banned because people might use them in crimes.  The federal government appears to be poised to do the same.

So what's next?  Well, the national media and the Democratic Party are already calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles.  And what happens after that?  A ban on handguns.  And after that?  Bolt-action rifles.

The slippery slope of gun control is real.  If you look at the history of gun control, there is literally nothing the gun-controllers don't want to ban.

They call for a ban on so-called assault weapons because they're "too deadly."  But they also want to ban "Saturday Night Specials" – the least-powerful and least deadly guns out there.  Those are "too cheap."  Scoped bolt-action rifles must also be banned – those are "sniper rifles."  Blackpowder muzzleloaders and single-shot antiques, which aren't even defined as "firearms" under federal law, are on the chopping block, too.  Even toy guns are not immune.

With the exception of the provision for arming teachers, the Florida law isn't about saving lives or protecting children.  (If Gov. Scott wanted to do that, he'd sign a law raising the age of consent for anal intercourse to 21, or ban it entirely, to prevent children from dying of AIDS – wouldn't he?)

No, the Florida law is about attempting to pacify childish hysterics in the media and emotionally charged bed-wetters who don't give a fig about the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  And it might work – temporarily.

But they'll be back.

What about the next time, Gov. Scott?  What are you going to ban then?

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