SPOKANE, Wash. - Frightening new details have emerged about the weapons used by the gunman during his inexplicable rampage that killed 59 people and injured hundreds in Las Vegas Sunday night.
Twelve guns found in the shooter's hotel room were rigged with a device that mimics a fully automatic rifle. This until now little-known device, front and center in the gun law debate in America, is called bump fire stock. The gun accessory is legal but many lawmakers are hoping to change that.
Democratic US Senators including Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington introduced the Automatic Gunfire Prevention Act Wednesday which aims to close a deadly loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons.
“We must close this loophole that allows the sale of devices to convert guns into unlawful automatic weapons meant for war zones,” said Cantwell.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee wants the issue to be a top priority for state lawmakers in the next legislative session. “We must make sure people intent on causing mass destruction and loss of life won't be aided by lax laws that give them unfettered access to military style weaponry," Inslee said.
State Senator Mike Padden, a Republican from Spokane Valley who heads the Law and Justice Committee, responded to Governor Inslee's call for action: “We do a disservice if we jump to conclusions. Partisan sniping does none of us any good. There is much we still do not know about the case, and we will be following the investigation closely to see what determinations we might make about the laws we already have on the books. The Senate Law and Justice Committee has worked to address the problems posed by gun violence. As committee chair, I am willing to consider reasonable legislation that effectively addresses the issue and also protects constitutional rights.”
A bump fire stock replaces the gun's shoulder rest and covers the trigger opening.
When the shooter's finger comes in to contact with the trigger, the recoil causes the gun to repeatedly bump the trigger against the finger.
Technically that means the trigger is still being pulled for each round; keeping it a semi-automatic weapon.
Terry Rogers, owner of All American Arms explained, “bump fire stock is just something that you modify your stock and as the gun recoils it starts chattering a little bit and it just keeps your finger going back and forth so it simulates a full automatic but never quite the cycle.”
Rogers has owned All American Arms in Spokane Valley for 22 years. He received his first gun at 8 years-old and has collected about fifty over the years. He says himself and his customers have different ideas for what they enjoy while shooting just like car enthusiasts have different types of vehicles they like to ride.
“I would like to use a full automatic. I think it would be a fun gun to shoot but i just can't afford the ammo because its going to burn up the ammo very quickly,” said Rogers.
Most of his customers feel the same but they too can't afford the hefty price tag of a fully automatic weapon so they add a bump fire stock to their rifle for few hundred dollars and walk away with a pretty similar experience.
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