The tragic and evil actions of one man in Las Vegas has reignited the gun control debate. Having been largely dormant since the election of President Trump, one heinous act and one gun accessory, the bump fire stock, has brought it roaring back to life.
If you listen to mainstream media or read mainstream news you might think that a “bump fire stock” or Slide-Fire stock is a new and diabolical invention. In fact, they have been around since 2010 with hundreds of thousands having been sold and used without incident.
Jeremiah Cottle, Moran Texas resident and Air Force veteran, developed, patented and began producing the bump fire stock in December 2010. According to a 2011 interview with Albay Times, their popularity was almost instantaneous.
“We were expecting to sell 500 to 1,000 units the first year, but we sold that many in the first week,” said Cottle. “We have exceeded over 35,000 units in the first 11 months, which are sold through a dealer network of about 500 retailers.”
It is important to note that, prior to beginning sales of the device, it was submitted to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Technology Division for approval.
David Chipman, a former BATFE agent and adviser to the gun-control group Americans for Responsible Solutions said, “It’s almost like trick shooting, it’s not fully automatic, but it’s quicker than you could do with your finger alone.”
Since it’s inception, the Slide Fire bump fire stock has been produced and sold for retrofit on AR-15s, AK-47s, and several other rifle models. They’ve been peacefully enjoyed by thousands of Americans for nearly a decade without incident.
For most people it’s just for fun at the range. A way to blow off some ammo for a little thrill. Mainly because of the free floating way in which the bump stock works. Rather than holding the firearm securely and managing the recoil, you must allow the firearm itself to move back and forth inside the stationary stock. This dramatically reduces control and accuracy.
The bump fire stock was more of a novelty than an accessory that improves the function of a weapon. At least for most Americans, until recent events. It increased fire rate at the expense of accuracy and control.
However, despite the tragic and deadly misuse of it in Las Vegas, like most firearms in general in America, it has not been misused by normal, sane, responsible gun owners. It’s demonization in the media, practically overnight, is largely unwarranted and exaggerated.
Granted, the potential for misuse is undoubtedly there. As is the potential misuse of anything from planes, to trucks, to knifes, to homemade explosives. Ironically, technology has all but rendered the ban on automatic weapons meaningless. The bump fire stock is just one of many devices and accessories that can increase the fire rate of semi-automatic firearms. A few others include what’s known as a binary trigger and another is the Autoglove. Both of which increase the fire rate while maintaining more control and accuracy than the bump fire stock. (See videos below)
The media frenzy over the bump stock is reminiscent of the demonization of the Tommy Gun that resulted in the 1934 National Firearms Act. Brought about by gangland violence during Prohibition, the NFA was passed 2 years AFTER Prohibition was repealed and the violence it spawned had subsided.
It is also worth noting that prior to 1934, American civilians had ALWAYS had access to weapons that were equal to, or better than, what law enforcement or the military used. However, since then the balance of power, firepower, has shifted significantly in favor of the government.
Regardless of what the government tries to ban or outlaw, American ingenuity always finds a way. Rather than demonizing inanimate objects, perhaps we should demonize the evil people who misuse them. Rather than looking to government to ban objects, perhaps we should look for ways to identify and help, or incarcerate, at risk people and/or potential threats.
Technology is always advancing and at such a pace that the slow moving behemoth of government can never keep up. It’s time we stop reacting and playing catch up and start proactively working to fix what is broken. The mental health system, judicial system, corrections system and our disconnected, disengaged and severely divided society would be good places to start.