‘These People Are Sick’: Newsom Rants Against Republican Move To Protect Bump Stocks

By: Alex Trent | Published: Jun 21, 2024

California Governor Gavin Newsom went on a rant on the social media platform X in response to efforts by Senate Republicans to block a bill that would have outlawed bump stocks, a gun accessory that critics argue causes unnecessary harm.

Recently, the Supreme Court struck down a previous ban on bump stocks issued via federal regulations under former President Donald Trump.

Supreme Court Decision

Last week, the Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision overturned a Trump-era ban on bump stocks, a gun accessory that allows you to effectively increase the firing rate of certain guns.

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A close-up of the U.S. Supreme Court building seen in the daytime.

Source: Claire Anderson/Unsplash

In the majority opinion in the case, Justice Clarence Thomas criticized the Justice Department’s rule, saying that bump stocks don’t turn semiautomatic rifles into machine guns because each trigger press still only delivers one shot.

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New Legislation

In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning the bump stock ban, a bill was introduced in the Senate to codify a bump stock ban into law.

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A zoomed-in image of the top of the Capitol Building.

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The bill had bipartisan sponsorship from Democrat Senator Martin Heinrich and Republican Senator Susan Collins and would ban the sale of bump stocks.

Failed Vote

Supporters of the bill hoped to bring it to the floor by a process called unanimous consent, which would see it sent to the floor as long as no Senator raises an objection.

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A bumpstock attached to a weapon.

Source: WASR/Wikiemdia

However, Republican Senator Pete Rickets foiled the plan to get the bill to the floor by objecting, saying that “[the bill] is about banning as many firearm accessories as possible.”

Newsom Rants

In response to the failed vote on the bump stock bill, Newsom took to X to express his outrage and put the blame at the feet of Republicans.

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Gavin Newsom speaking into a microphone in front of a podium and in front of a crowd in 2019.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

“These people are sick,” Newsom wrote. “They will allow Americans to be shot down in our streets so they can gain some votes with their far-right base.

Holding Them Accountable

Newsom’s post sought to rally people to hold Republicans accountable, lamenting that reading so many stories about this over the years has made people numb to them.

The Republican logo. It's a red elephant with three white stars at the top.

Republican Party/Wikimedia Commons

“And all of us have become so numb to their behavior that this barely made news,” wrote Newsom. “Where is the outrage?? We have to hold them accountable.”

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Republicans Blamed

In the wake of the announcement of the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Trump-era bump stock ban on Friday, Newsom was livid at Republicans, saying that they had blood on their hands.

A white rose is splattered with red paint.

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“90 SHOTS IN 10 SECONDS. This decision will put blood on our streets. That blood will be on the hands of every Republican in Congress who has refused to enact common sense reforms,” wrote Newsom.

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Reaction to Newsom

Many commenters descended upon Newsom’s anti-bump stock posts, some asserting that the Supreme Court made the right decision because of the United States Second Amendment.

Governor Gavin Newsom stands in a classroom, gesturing with his hand mid-speech. He is wearing a dark suit and tie

Source: GavinNewsom/X

“California has the most mass sh**tings in the US and yet Gavin Newsom criticizes others about their violent crime. Also, Newsom should read the Second Amendment. ‘SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED’,” wrote X user Paul A. Szypula. 

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Why Ban Bumpstocks?

Bump stock opponents argue that getting rid of bump stocks is just “common sense” and that the only reason someone needs a bump stock is to “engage in mass murder.”

A black gun pointing towards a block of wood.

Thomas Tucker/Unsplash

“Why on Earth would we choose to hand to these killers weapons that are designed for one purpose and one purpose only: mass slaughter. You do not need a bump stock in order to protect your home. You do not need a machine gun in order to hunt for sport. The only reason you need a bump stock is to engage in mass murder,” said Senator Chris Murphy in remarks delivered on the Senate floor.

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Bump Stocks and Murder Rates

Supporters of bump stocks counter that there is no relevant correlation between murders and bump stocks, and argue that the country has had a high gun murder rate while bump stocks were banned.

Gavin Newsom speaks at Lake Tahoe.

Source: The United States Senate/Wikimedia

“Hey, Gavin, can you explain how bump stocks will lead to people getting “shot down in our streets?”  There is no statistical correlation between bump stocks and murder rates. You presided over the highest murder rate in California in nearly 15 years (during the bump stock ban),” wrote an X user in response to Newsom.

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United States Gun Murder Rate

Since the bump stock ban under Trump, the gun murder rate has gone up. In 2021, gun suicide and gun murder rates reached near record highs not seen since the 1970s, according to Pew Research.

Two black handguns side by side.

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In 2021 there were 6.7 gun murders per 100,000 people. The record for this statistic is 7.2 per 100,000, which was achieved in 1974.

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Criminals Don’t Follow Gun Laws

Another argument that supporters of bump stocks use is that criminals, ones who might be more likely to engage in murder events, won’t be keen to follow laws around banning bump stocks if they are motivated enough.

A pair of handcuffs sitting around a stack of bills.

Source: Bermix Studio/Unsplash

“Some of the strictest gun laws are used in California..Yet per 100k people, you only prevented 5 fewer deaths..Gun laws only apply to law-abiding citizens..Criminals don’t abide by the law,” said one X user in response to Newsom.

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