Bump Stock Manufacturer To Resume Sales Of Controversial Device

Nov 7, 2017
Originally published on November 7, 2017 5:17 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

The company that makes bumps stocks, those devices that make semiautomatic rifles fire even faster, is putting them back on the market. Slide Fire had pulled its products last month after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. But as North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, the company now says bump stocks are back on the shelves.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: When Stephen Paddock opened fire into a crowd in Las Vegas last month, it sounded like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Get down. Get down. Get down.

MANN: That recording is from a cellphone and posted online. Paddock was able to fire that fast using a device called a bump stock that causes a semiautomatic rifle to bounce rapidly against the trigger finger. Slide Fire is based in Moran, Texas and is the leading manufacturer of bump stocks. In the hours after the mass shooting, the company announced they were no longer for sale. Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, who opposes most gun regulation, questioned whether they should even be legal.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOHN CORNYN: The unique aspect of the bump stock and how you would literally transform a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic weapon is something that I think bears looking into.

MANN: Cornyn spoke last month, and he's continued to push for a review of the devices. This week, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said his judiciary committee will hold hearings. And a spokeswoman for the ATF tells NPR the Justice Department is taking a second look at the sale of bump stocks and, quote, "reviewing its regulatory authority." Despite the pressure and scrutiny, Slide Fire says it's resuming sale of the devices. The announcement came a day after another mass shooting, this time, at a church in Texas. Slide Fire founder Jeremiah Cottle hasn't responded to NPR's repeated requests for an interview. But his website offers videos portraying bumps stocks as legitimate gun accessories.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Every man's birth right.

MANN: Bump stock's currently are legal. And Jordan Stein with Gun Owners of America defends the company's decision to resume sales.

JORDAN STEIN: They're a company. And they should be free to operate their business as they want. We're opposed to any type of legislation or regulation. If we can regulate bump stocks, then it will open up doors to other measures of gun control.

MANN: As is often the case after mass shootings, sales of bump stocks could see a boost. Some gun dealers contacted by NPR say they weren't all that popular in the shooting community before the Las Vegas massacre. But with new attention and fear of possible federal restrictions, there could now be a much larger market for the devices. Brian Mann, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRETTY LIGHTS' "REEL 6 BREAK 4") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.