SEBRING — When authorities disclosed that the Las Vegas shooter had modified some of his weapons with bump stocks, local interest suddenly surged in those items.
Daniel Barber, owner of the Gun Rack, said that up until then, he finds it hard to recall the last time someone inquired about buying the bump stocks.
He said he doesn’t have any in stock and from what he sees on the internet companies that sell bump stocks have run out of them.
Both Barber and George Pelaez, an employee at Boom Boom’s Guns & Ammo, say that bump stocks don’t quite do what some claim they do.
Barber and Pelaez say that replacing the stock of the weapon with a bump stock doesn’t convert the rifle into a machine gun or a fully automatic weapon.
A bump stock replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is the part held against the shoulder. It frees the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, harnessing the energy from the kickback shooters feel when the weapon fires, according to a New York Times article.
The problem, Barber said, is that they are hard to use.
He said bump stocks have been sold for the past four years. “They were popular when they first came out,” he said.
Barber said he tried one and found that he wasted a lot of ammunition while perfecting his use of one.
The bump stock “makes it (shooting) a whole lot faster once you figure out how to use it,” Barber said.
At 30-cents to 50-cents per round, that adds up, he said.
Even when someone has practiced using it a lot, they aren’t going to be able to shoot as accurately as when they are shooting without one, Barber said.
He believes it would be a disadvantage in a competition where precision shooting counts more than fast shooting, he said.
Pelaez agrees, saying, “It makes it harder for people to shoot accurately because its shooting at a higher rate of speed.”
He said he believes most people who buy one do so for fun. It’s a sort of a novelty item, he added.
As for the bump stock turning the semi-automatic rifle into a fully automatic weapon, “that’s totally false,” Pelaez said.
Converting the rifle into an automatic weapon would require “changing quite a few internal parts,” he said.
Someone trying to do that would need a lot of knowledge or they could end up injuring themselves or ending up with a gun that doesn’t work properly, he said.
Like with the situation at the Gun Rack, Pelaez said, he hasn’t had anyone ask anytime recently for a bump stock until after the Las Vegas shooting.
“I think maybe people think the price will go up or it will become a collector’s item,” he added.