Bump fire stocks are extensions to firearms used to enable bump fire, or the ability of a semi-automatic weapon to mimic the firing speed of a fully-automatic gun. Bump fire stocks can increase firing of upwards of 800 rounds per minute.
“When I first heard the shots [on the news], I thought he had a fully-automatic machine gun,” said Olivia Everett, a junior psychology major from Palm Harbor, Florida. “After I saw reports that it was a bump fire stock and only a semi-automatic [gun], I couldn’t believe something like that was legal.”
Dustin Hall, a sophomore business administration major from Las Vegas, said he thinks bump fire stocks are an unnecessary attachment for AR and AK style rifles, but he doesn’t believe they should be banned. Hall said permits should be required if an individual wants to purchase them, especially in the wake of Las Vegas.
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” Hall said. “For those who have a clean record is where the challenges lie, [like] in the case of Stephen Paddock.”
Seth Carlson is a Dixie State University alumnus with past experience in the Armed Forces. After watching the events take place in Las Vegas, Carlson knew the problems were not necessarily gun-related, but more centralized — in this case — to bump fire stocks. Carlson took to Facebook, creating the Coalition To Ban Bumpfire Stocks page where like-minded people could come to find news on the latest litigation and legislation against bump fire stocks.
“I was very confused as to how that many people died and were wounded in the shooting,” Carlson said. “As a combat veteran, I know how hard it is to kill people, and I don’t think that kind of technology should be available to anyone.”
Carlson said despite the small size of its following on Facebook, the page gets a lot of hate mail. Most of the hate mail consists of people arguing for bump fire stocks, using the Second Amendment as the basis of their arguments.
“Any ban is bad for the 2nd Amendment and our individual God given rights and freedoms,” one user wrote. “A definite yes that the ban on fully automatic weapons was very unconstitutional. Also, another definite yes that God gave me the right to wield any and all weapons necessary for my protection. That is called free agency.”
Hannah McGough is a junior biology major from Las Vegas and secretary of DSU College Republicans.
“Guns are a double-edge sword, and so are bump fire stocks,” McGough said. “No matter how many bans and bills you put on [guns and bump fire stocks], the people who want them or shouldn’t have them are going to get their hands on them. Drugs are illegal but people who want them can still get their hands on them.”
One of the biggest distributors of bump fire stocks is Slide Fire, a company who can fit bump fire stocks for AR-15s, AK-47s, Saigas, M&P 15/22s, Ruger 10/22s and Ruger Mini-14s. Slide Fire has temporarily suspended new orders in light of recent lawsuits, but the company has promised to fulfill orders made before the suspension. Instead of offering potential customers the ability to see and order parts or platforms, the site is asking people to insert their emails to receive updates of the status of the suspension.
Carlson said now that bump fire stocks are at least temporarily suspended, he wants to continue to raise awareness of what each person can do to help prevent events similar to Las Vegas.
“People should look for someone who stands out by acting differently than everyone else in the area,” Carlson said. “That person will typically be looking around to see if they’re being watched. The amazing thing is that if any person understood [the guardian angel concept] and what to look for, they become a guardian angel everywhere they go.”
A guardian angel is someone who blends into the crowd at events but is not there to participate, instead the guardian angel is there to look for possible threats. These guardian angels are similar to air marshals.
“I think many of [the tactics used in the US military] can be used to help prevent mass shootings and provide early warning if more people knew,” Carlson said. “Having awareness of the surroundings is probably the most important.”