Nearly a year after the Las Vegas massacre, bump stocks continue to be sold in certain places across the country despite vows from President Trump and lawmakers to ban the contentious device.
On Oct. 1, 2017, 64-year-old gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Musical festival, killing 58 and injuring hundreds more before he died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. He was armed with 23 AR-style weapons, 14 of which were outfitted with bump stocks, ultimately allowing him to unleash thousands of rounds from his Mandalay Bay hotel room.
When attached to a regular semiautomatic rifle — which typically fire off one round for every pull of the trigger — the device utilizes the firearm’s natural recoil to “bump” the trigger much more quickly.
In the mass shooting’s immediate aftermath, many lawmakers on both sides of aisle called for an end to sale of bump stocks, with Trump vowing to ban them entirely.
“Obama Administration legalized bump stocks. BAD IDEA. As I promised, today the Department of Justice will issue the rule banning BUMP STOCKS with a mandated comment period,” the President tweeted in March.
A month later the largest bump stock manufacturer, Slide Fire, announced it would no longer sell the product and closed up shop.
“Since we closed our online store in June 2018, the demand for bump fire stocks has been on the rise,” a message on Slide Fire’s website reads. “Although we no longer take orders for our products the remaining inventory is available from certified dealer, RW Arms.”
The Justice Department in the spring announced it would considering designating bump stocks as machine guns, which would prevent civilian ownership. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sought public comment on the proposed change and netted more than 35,000 responses.
While it seemed a victory for anti-bump stock advocates, little action has been taken and unregulated sale of the device remains legal.
Ten states and three cities have enacted a ban, including California, which made selling the device illegal decades ago.
Bump stocks, originally designed to help people with disabilities shoot a firearm, have long been a point of contention despite a lack of popularity ahead of the Vegas shooting.
The government in 2010 ruled that the device couldn’t be regulated until congress updated the law.
With News Wire Services