Following the Las Vegas shooting, the National Rifle Association has called for devices like the bump stock, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at a similar rate to a fully automatic rifle, to be subject to additional regulations. The NRA made a statement Thursday declaring a need for additional review by federal regulators on the legality of bump-stock attachments.
Sunday’s shooting left at least 59 dead and more than 500 injured. Bump stock gun attachments were found on 12 of the shooter Stephen Paddock’s semi-automatic rifles. The attachment works by replacing a rifle’s standard stock allowing the gun to use motion from the kickback to bump between the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger. As the shooter holds the trigger finger in place, the bump causes the weapon to fire rapidly.
At approximately nine bullets per second, Paddock fired at a rate of 280 rounds in 31 seconds from 1,200 feet away into the crowd of a country music concert.
Owner of Red River Firearms Jason Webb said they do not carry bump stocks but did carry a different system called a binary trigger. The binary trigger system fires two shots for one trigger squeeze thus increasing the rate of fire.
“When everything happened this week everything like that disappeared,” Webb said. “Supply and demand is the cause of that. We don’t have any left. Some people have the perception that it will help but it’s just another gimmick. The faster you go on round after round the less accuracy you have.”
Best Pawn Superstore gun manager Jeff Sanderson said they do not carry bump stocks or binary trigger systems. The store has not seen any increased interest from customers for these items following the shooting Sunday. Sanderson said it is not a common question or request from their customers.
Webb believes the attachments to be part of a trend favored by gun enthusiasts. He said the prices for the systems through online retailers has risen significantly throughout the week and will likely continue to climb.
“Overall, to me, I never saw the coolness factor of it personally,” Webb said. “It can get really expensive shooting ammo like that. If someone has a decent trigger you don’t really need one.”
In a formal statement addressing the Las Vegas shooting the NRA calls on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to begin reviewing bump stocks immediately.
“The NRA believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations,” the NRA said in its statement.
Both Red River Firearms and Best Pawn Superstore carry firearm silencers also called suppressors. Webb explained the benefit of this attachment is a reduction in hearing damage.
“They can save their ears,” Webb said. “A silencer is not going to eliminate the sound like in the movies but it makes it quieter. Militaries have started using them to prevent or reduce permanent hearing damage.”
The Hearing Protection Act within the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, passed two weeks ago by the House Natural Resources Committee, seeks to make it easier to purchase silencers. Currently, buyers are required to pass a criminal-background check, submit fingerprints and pay a fee. The silencers are registered and tracked by the government.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein D-Calif. proposed legislation that would ban bump stock attachments Wednesday. A strong Republican backing will be necessary for the legislation to pass.
The Texas Tribune surveyed U.S. lawmakers from Texas. Sen. Ted Cruz and Reps. John Ratcliffe and Sam Johnson did not respond to the Tribune’s request for comment. The Tribune said only 10 of 38 members immediately responded to its request, noting, “though it was an exceptionally hectic afternoon on Capitol Hill, and many Texans were swamped with hearings and floor speeches as this story picked up speed.”
Politico reported that no Republicans have joined Democrats in endorsing the bill, however. Several top Republicans have expressed a willingness on Wednesday to consider such legislation on bump stocks.
“It is ordinarily illegal to transform a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon, and it’s illegal to buy an automatic weapon unless you have a special license and undergo a special background check,” Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, who sits on the Judiciary Committee and is the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, told Politico. “I’m not sure how these bump stocks fit into that scheme, but that’s certainly something that’s got my attention and I think we ought to get to the bottom of it.”