LOS ANGELES (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The largest manufacturer of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly like automatic firearms, announced Wednesday that it will stop taking orders and shut down its website next month.
The announcement comes about a month after President Donald Trump said his administration would “ban” bump stocks, which he said “turn legal weapons into illegal machines.”
The devices, which enables a semiautomatic rifle to fire faster became a focal point of the national gun control debate when they were used in October when a man carried out the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
About a dozen bump stocks were found among the weapons used by Stephen Paddock when he unleashed a hail of bullets from his high-rise Las Vegas hotel suite, killing 58 people and leaving more than 800 others injured.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment sent through Slide Fire’s website and the company’s founder and CEO, Jeremiah Cottle, did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment.
Seven years ago, Cottle, a retired Air Force veteran who was recovering from a pair of brain injuries he suffered in the military, came up with bump stocks.
He said he came up with the idea for a bump stock solely for recreational purposes, after he and his friends were out shooting one day and weren’t able to fire as fast as they wanted.
In his first year of business in 2010, Slide Fire Solutions exceeded $10 million in sales, according to a 2011 published report in The Albany Times.
Slide Fire Solutions is now one of the largest employers in Cottle’s small West Texas hometown of Moran, where the population is 270.
“When he (Cottle) put Slide Fire in this town it gave a lot of people jobs that didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Moran resident Amy Boyett said.
Boyett, who runs the U.S. Post Office in Moran, said half of her business is from Slide Fire Solutions.
Many in the small Texas town said they’re not sure Moran would still exist if Slide Fire Solutions closed.
In 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent Slide Fire Solutions a letter, which the company posted on its website, writing that because a bump stock was not a firearm, it would not be regulated.
The Brady Center for Gun Violence filed a lawsuit against Slide Fire after the Las Vegas mass shooting and alleged that the company “provided a product that turned a semi-automatic gun into the functional equivalent of a machine gun, thereby evading longstanding federal law.”
Mimi Carter, a spokeswoman for the Brady Center, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
That would reverse the 2010 decision by the ATF that found bump stocks shouldn’t be regulated.
Some states have also sought their own restrictions. Last week, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed a package of bills that included a ban on bump stocks. A far-reaching school safety bill signed last month by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, also a Republican, included a bump stocks ban and was immediately met with a lawsuit by the National Rifle Association.