By MICHAEL BALSAMO
LOS ANGELES (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 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. Slide Fire Solutions, which is based in Moran, Texas, posted a message on its website saying the company will stop taking orders at midnight on May 20. 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.
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 a 2010 decision by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that found bump stocks did not amount to machine guns and could not be regulated unless Congress amended existing firearms law or passed a new one. 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.