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In the middle of national outrage over the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a week ago, Donald Trump has been casting about for something he can do to at least look like he's addressing gun violence without upsetting his NRA funders. Hey, how about a ban on bump stocks? The NRA already gave the government permission to think about tightening regulations on the devices, which allow a semi-automatic rifle to achieve a rate of fire approaching that of a fully automatic weapon. So, sure, why not, said Donald, who yesterday said he'd directed the Justice Department to restrict the availability of the devices.

"Just a few moments ago I signed a memo directing the attorney general to propose regulations that ban all devices that turn legal weapons into machine guns," Trump said at a Medal of Valor event at the White House, addressing Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

"I expect these regulations to be finalized, Jeff, very soon," Trump said.

It's not yet clear exactly what the final regulations would look like, but the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (which we're going to keep calling "ATF" anyway -- suck it, explosives), had already sought public comment on possible inclusion of bump stock devices under the current rules regulating machine guns; that comment period closed January 25 after the agency received over 35,000 comments.

Under previous administrations, the ATF had ruled that bump stock devices were legal, because they don't make changes to the internal firing mechanism of a semiautomatic rifle. Let's gunsplain! A semiautomatic rifle -- like the AR-15s used in the Las Vegas massacre -- can only fire one round per trigger pull. Bump stocks don't change that, but they harness the physics of the gun's recoil, allowing the weapon to bounce against the shooter's trigger finger much faster than the trigger can be pulled manually and turning the thing into a rapid-fire bullet hose, perfect for unleashing a hail of lead into a crowd.

Trump also suggested in a tweet, as vaguely as humanly possible, that "we must now focus on strengthening Background Checks!" That could mean anything from tightening the gun show loophole (which would require Congress to vote, and which the NRA opposes) to timid improvements like strengthening requirements for law enforcement agencies to report crimes to the national background check database.

Whatever action Trump takes, it will be thanks to the activism of those kids who survived the shooting at Stoneman Douglas -- who have clearly gotten Americans' attention in a way that previous mass shootings have not. For another f'rinstance, Pat Robertson is now calling for a ban on assault rifles. Yes, that Pat Robertson:

Ladies and gentlemen, I am a gun owner, I have hunted, I have shot skeet, I have gotten awards when I was in the Marine Corps for shooting. I’ve got no opposition whatsoever to shooting, but for heaven’s sakes, I don’t think that the general population needs to have automatic weapons. It just doesn’t have to have Russian-built or Chinese-built machine guns. It just doesn’t. I mean it’s one thing to defend yourself with a pistol or a shotgun to hunt with but it’s something else to have assault weapons.

I think we can ban those things without too much trouble. And they have what they call bump-stocks – that you hit it and it goes automatic. I mean, we can stop that

Mind you, dedicated gun-humpers will be upset over Robertson's misuse of "automatic" weapons, which you already need a special federal license for, but that's not the point, even though they will make it the point in comment sections.

While Trump and some rightwing thought leaderers like Robertson are noticing those angry kids -- and their angry parents and extended families -- red-state legislatures are having trouble keeping up, because they're largely owned by the NRA. In Arizona, right around the same time Donald Trump was bragging about his plans to ban bump stocks, Republicans in the state House of Representatives voted against allowing debate on a bill that would have ... banned the sale of bump stocks, because of course they did. Democratic Rep. Randall Friese of Tucson had introduced the bill last fall after the Las Vegas shootings, and yesterday tried to get it heard through a parliamentary procedure. Instead, the loyal Arizona gunhumpers in the GOP shot it down. One Republican, Mark Fincham, said it made no sense to ban the sale of devices that increase a gun's rate of fire to rival an automatic weapon's, because the real cause of mass shootings is so obvious:

“What I am absolutely stunned by is the proliferation of video games that teach our children to kill, to teach our children to kill effectively, and to teach our children to kill without retribution,” he said.

Finchem said the lesson is that killing someone on a game “is easily overcome by pressing the reset button.” He said those games have “cheapened life.”

It's almost as if these guys are living inside their very own virtual reality bubble.

And in Florida yesterday, the state House voted against even considering a measure that called for banning the sale of assault weapons and limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines. To add insult to injury (for some folks, literally), the Florida Lege did that with teens who survived the Parkland massacre looking on. Nonetheless, the high school students are persisting: They'll be at the Capitol building in Tallahassee today to meet with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers. They're ticked off, and have been calling for legislators to return their NRA campaign donations -- and who knows, they may even persuade one or two to seize the chance for some publicity and do just that.

While gun humpers still have plenty of close friends in state legislatures, a new Quinnipiac University Poll released yesterday indicates they're -- as ever -- running against the majority of public opinion. The poll found the highest support for stronger gun laws ever, with 66 percent of respondents saying they supported stricter gun laws, and 67 percent in favor of a ban on assault weapons. Even 50 percent of gun owners said they supported stronger gun restrictions.

As for background checks, the poll showed, again, a record high level of support for universal background checks, with 97 percent of Americans generally, and with 97 percent support among gun owners. Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said the numbers suggest people are maybe getting a little tired of mass shootings:

If you think Americans are largely unmoved by the mass shootings, you should think again. Support for stricter gun laws is up 19 points in little more than 2 years [...]

In the last two months, some of the biggest surges in support for tightening gun laws comes from demographic groups you may not expect, independent voters, men, and whites with no college degree.

You might almost think even Republicans might notice that -- although the NRA has given them many millions of reasons to look the other way. This fall's elections seem like a fine way to get their attention, huh?

UPDATE: Irony fans will appreciate this: While the Florida House couldn't be bothered to even debate assault weapons or restrictions on magazine size yesterday, it DID approve a resolution declaring pornography a threat to public health. The measure calls for research and education to address the dangers of pornography, especially as it might damage teenagers. So there's something the Florida Lege IS willing to take action on.

Yr Wonkette is supported by reader donations. Please click here to help us shoot our mouths off.

[CNN / RightWingWatch via Joe.My.God / CNN / Arizona Daily Star / Quinnipiac Poll / Update: Time via Twitter]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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