CLOSE

An Arizona gun manufacturer demonstrates the use of a rifle equipped with a "bump stock." Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral.com

LINKEDIN 14 COMMENTMORE

Questions about the "bump stock" devices used in the Las Vegas shooting massacre on Oct. 1 start with what they actually do.

Did they help Stephen Paddock shoot more people? Did they stop him from killing more?

David Beaty, owner of Sun Devil Manufacturing in Mesa, Arizona, showed an Arizona Republic reporter and videographer what exactly the bump provides to the operator of a semi-automatic rifle.

His company makes aluminum rifle parts and accessories.

Semi-automatic vs. semi with 'bump stock'

Beaty demonstrated three weapons at an outdoor range in the southeast Valley, wearing earmuffs and protective goggles.

He first shot the semi-automatic rifle without activating the "bump." Standing next to him, I was jolted a little.

When he engaged the bump stock for the first time, my mind blanked and my body shook. Even after he stopped shooting, I was stunned for about 30 seconds.

The same feeling returned when Beaty fired a full-automatic machine gun.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

'Bump stock' easy to learn

The bump stock replaces the original stock that comes with the weapon. Anyone can buy a bump stock because it's not considered a firearm.

Beatty said he has known people who can take the bump-stock attachment out of the box and know exactly how to use it, while others have to practice multiple times.

"It's pretty easy to learn; it just helps if you know the theory behind it," Beatty said.

He said his demonstration was the first time he's ever used a "bump stock" as it came straight out of the box.

It took no more than five minutes for him to teach himself.

"It's like turning your rifle into a dragster," he said. "It's addictive; there's something addictive about shooting machine guns."

Read more: Demand for 'bump stocks' soars locally, but few dealers carry them

Read more: Demand for 'bump stock,' rifle device used by Las Vegas shooter, surges in Arizona

The bump stock makes it easier to enjoy the feel of a machine gun, he said, and you don't have to pay the hefty tax toward being able to legally own a full-automatic gun.

Hitting a target is a lot easier with a full-automatic than a semi-automatic rifle with a bump stock, which is less accurate because of the jolt it gives off.

But a person is still able to hit a target, Beaty showed The Republic.

Automatic weapons costly, difficult to obtain

Beaty also demonstrated how a fully automatic gun works. The rapid fire was similar to the way a semi-automatic rifle with the bump stock worked, but the differences were notable.

Pulling the trigger on an automatic weapon will run the ammunition automatically. The shooter is still manually pulling a trigger with a bump stock, Beaty said. 

Read more: Bump stocks sell out post Vegas tragedy

Read more: Tennessee gun retailers: Never much demand for bump stocks - until now

It requires a lot of paperwork to get a fully automatic weapon, Beatty said. A law-abiding person needs to submit fingerprint cards, photo IDs, undergo a background check and pay a $200 tax.

He said the weapon itself costs quite a bit because limited numbers are available. The only automatics available to the public are those that were in circulation before a 1986 ban. The cheapest gun would run about $5,000, he said.

"We can manufacture, but we can only transfer them to military and law-enforcement agencies," Beaty said.

Increased interest in the devices

CLOSE

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says President Donald Trump welcomes a review of U.S. policy on so-called bump stock devices that legally make semi-automatic rifles into faster-firing automatic weapons. (Oct. 5) AP

A bump stock isn't typically sought after by a hunter or for protection. Most people buying bump-stock devices are recreational users, according to Beaty.

"They are just going out to have fun," he said. "It just costs them a little more out of pocket because they are going to shoot ammo a lot faster."

Beaty owns about 10 himself, he said. He said he bought them directly from manufacturer Slide Fire when they were first introduced because it was a popular item. However, he hasn't sold any because there hadn't been a demand until now.

He posted an advertisement for a bump stock on Backpage.com, asking for $500, as an experiment. He said he was scared to check his email Friday because it didn't take more than five minutes after he posted the ad before someone asked him about it.

Beaty said he may sell a couple bump stocks but hadn't as of Friday. He said the typical price for one is between $250 and $350, so he wouldn't sell the device for his experimental price. The ad was just that, an attempt to gauge the interest of the market, he said.

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

The bump stock and Oct. 1

Beaty said if Paddock had known what he was doing, he could have inflicted aS much or more damage in Las Vegas with his semi-automatic rifle without the bump stock.

The bump stock isn't necessarily what contributed to the high number of people injured and killed, he said.

"It was the whole situation," Beaty said. "You pack that many people into a venue like that — for him, it was like shooting fish in a barrel."

Asked if the shooting was preventable, Beaty said that, given the circumstances, he doesn't believe it was.

Beaty said most people are responsible with their firearms. Many enjoy working on the weapons and learning how to use them better, he said.

"It's like a guy and his car," he said. "You got a guy who tinkers with his car, and he's always trying to do something new with it to make it better. It's just a different activity."

If a law is passed to outlaw bump stocks, the only people affected are law-abiding citizens, Beaty said, because criminals wouldn't abide by such a law.

  • Man shot at concert twice, both bullets barely missing his spine
    Man shot at concert twice, both bullets barely missing his spine
  • Mood on the Las Vegas Strip varies after mass shooting
    Mood on the Las Vegas Strip varies after mass shooting
  • Las Vegas shooting victim shot while helping wounded man
    Las Vegas shooting victim shot while helping wounded man
  • Healing garden springs up after Las Vegas shooting
    Healing garden springs up after Las Vegas shooting
  • Nurses describe the chaos of tending to hundreds of wounded patients
    Nurses describe the chaos of tending to hundreds of wounded patients
  • Memorial grows on the Strip for Las Vegas massacre victims
    Memorial grows on the Strip for Las Vegas massacre victims
  • Body-camera footage of shooting in Las Vegas
    Body-camera footage of shooting in Las Vegas
  • Emergency-room doctor describes helping victims of Las Vegas shooting
    Emergency-room doctor describes helping victims of Las Vegas shooting
  • Las Vegas shooting: Former colleague gives blood in honor of friend killed at concert
    Las Vegas shooting: Former colleague gives blood in honor of friend killed at concert
  • Victim recalls Las Vegas shooting
    Victim recalls Las Vegas shooting
  • Nurse helped Las Vegas wounded in hospital
    Nurse helped Las Vegas wounded in hospital
  • Pray vigil at Las Vegas City Hall
    Pray vigil at Las Vegas City Hall
  • Man heard shots, helped concert goers
    Man heard shots, helped concert goers
  • Joe Thomas and Elizabeth Reitz describe hearing of the Las Vegas shooting
    Joe Thomas and Elizabeth Reitz describe hearing of the Las Vegas shooting
  • Las Vegas shooting: Dixie GunWorx
    Las Vegas shooting: Dixie GunWorx
  • Sunrise Medical Center treats 180 Las Vegas shooting victims
    Sunrise Medical Center treats 180 Las Vegas shooting victims
  • Witness to Las Vegas shooting
    Witness to Las Vegas shooting
  • How the Las Vegas shooting unfolded
    How the Las Vegas shooting unfolded

 

 

LINKEDIN 14 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2kwJqev