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At a St. Charles gun show, enthusiasts confront the 'bump stock'

A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007.
M Glasgow | Flickr
A gun show in Houston, Texas, in 2007. Organizers in St. Charles asked St. Louis Public Radio not to take photographs of the event Saturday.

It’s been almost a week since a gunman killed 58 people and injured hundreds more in Las Vegas. The shooter used a device called a bump stock to modify his gun so that it could function as a machine gun. Politicians have unified around one thing: further regulations around the bump stock. But dealers at a gun show in St. Charles this weekend said the demand for the bump stock was up.

“People are in panic mode, and people hoard them,” Charles Adcox, of Black River Armory in Annapolis, Missouri, said Saturday.  

Adcox only sells bump stocks occasionally as special orders, and has seen the device, which usually costs between $150 to $250 sell for more than $1,000 online in recent days.  

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A bump stock is an accessory that retrofits a semi-automatic rifle to mimic machine gun fire. The mechanism uses the kickback of the gun to push the trigger over and over. It makes for a pretty inaccurate shot, so it’s useless for hunting, Adcox said. His feelings about guns haven’t changed in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting. 

A steel bump stock owned by a gun dealer at a show in St. Charles.  Oct. 7, 2017
Credit Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio
A steel bump stock owned by a gun dealer at a show Saturday in St. Charles.

“You can use anything, turn anything into something to injure people,” he said, pointing to a 2016 attack in France last year, where the assailant drove a truck into a crowd. “It doesn’t make the object itself evil, it makes the person who did it evil.”   

Kathy Howard of Hazelwood, who keeps a gun for self-defense, had a different perspective. She said she thinks bump stocks could be banned.

“At some point, when you have guns that shoot multiple times … I don’t see anything wrong with taking that away,” Howard said. “But I understand where gun owners are coming from, because they fear that once they start giving in, that it’s a slippery slope.”

The final decision about bump stocks will be up to lawmakers. But some Missouri gun enthusiasts argue it may not make a difference. The devices can still be built from scratch, they said.

Follow Durrie on Twitter: @durrieB

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