Lawmaker Criticizes Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for Signing Letter Urging Congress to Review Legality of Bump Stocks


FILE PHOTO: North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. (Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)

Rep. Luke Simons is a Republican lawmaker from Dickinson. In a Facebook post yesterday, he took aim at Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem for signing a letter with a group of other attorneys general urging Congress to act on “bump stocks,” which are devices designed to be used with semi-automatic firearms to increase their rate of fire.

“North Dakota state Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, along with 32 fellow state Attorney Generals recently signed a petition urging Congress to outlaw bump stocks for firearms,” Simons wrote. “Even though the NRA is in to direct opposition to this action. Now is the time to let your voice be heard and contact Mr. Stenehjem’s office with your concerns.”

A bump stock was used by Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock in firing on a country music concert murdering 58 and wounding many more. The letter, dated October 30 of last year, urges Congress to review whether or not additional regulation of bump stocks is needed.

From the letter’s conclusion:

On one hand, this seems like a pretty mild demand from Stenehjem and the other signatories on the letter. They’re not demanding that Congress do anything specific other than review whether or not bump stocks ought to be subjected to additional regulation.

On other hand, I understand the frustration of critics like Simons who no doubt see blaming bump stocks for the mayhem in Las Vegas as not all that different an argument from blaming guns themselves. After all, it wasn’t a bump stock that decided to go on a murderous shooting spree. It was a person named Stephen Paddock.

Besides, in this modern era with technology like 3D printing and the free transfer of information over the internet, I’m dubious as to the government’s ability to effectively regulate equipment like this in the first place. A bump stock isn’t all that complicated, mechanically speaking. Even modestly skilled gun owners could probably make one.

When it comes to addressing crime and violence, the government’s efforts are probably best focused elsewhere.