In 1934, following the era of Al Capone and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, Congress placed restrictions on the sale, purchase and ownership of what it termed “Class 3 weapons,” aka automatic weapons. Fast forward to 2017 Las Vegas – enabled by a device called a bump stock, Stephen Paddock killed 59 people and injured more than 500 in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Was Paddock using automatic weapons? Not really, but with a bump stock, a legal AR15 semi-automatic becomes every bit as lethal as the Tommy guns of the roaring twenties.
How did the modern bump stock come about? Ask its developer Jeremiah Cottle of Moran, TX. [from an article on Tactical Life.com]
I’ve been a recreational shooter my entire life, and I’ve always enjoyed shooting full-auto weapons. At the same time, purchasing a Class 3 firearm is outrageously expensive, not to mention it requires a mountain of paperwork sure to give you life-threatening paper cuts. I had bump fired in the past, but it was completely uncontrollable, unsafe and unusable. I wanted to find a way to change that, to make bump firing safer and more controlled.
So, I thought about it, and I prayed about it. Ultimately, I decided to go for it. I used all of my savings from the military, sold everything in my house that wasn’t nailed down and started making 3D-printed models and solving problems. Finally, I sent the stock to the BATFE [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] when I had a design that was close to being commercially ready. I was so happy when I got the word that it was approved.
Cottle’s company, Slide Fire is the principal manufacturer of the bump stock. Its promotional videos are chilling. Have a look at their showpiece.
How does a bump stock get past Federal regulators? The approval letter from BATFE explains
“The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical functions when installed … Accordingly, we find that the ‘bump-stock’ is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under the Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act.”
More from Jeremiah Cottle:
Some people like drag racing, some people like skiing and some people, like me, love full-auto. Unfortunately, the average recreational shooter doesn’t have access to a Class 3 firearm of their very own—they’re just expensive and impractical, like buying your own personal golf-cart hovercraft. I mean, if you can afford it, why not? For everyone else, Slide Fire brings shooters the same full-auto experience but without having to take out a second mortgage on their home.
I wonder how much Cottle loves full-auto in light of what happened in Las Vegas. Maybe the incident didn’t affect him. According to Slide Fire’s video, it’s every man’s birthright, freedom unleashed. But right now @SlidefireSol is getting slammed on Twitter and rightly so.
One of Slide Fire’s videos begins with a quote it says is from George Washington [it is actually a misquote from George Washington Carver], “When you can do common things in uncommon ways, you will command the attention of the world.” Sad to say, in this case, the idea is very true.