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Potential bump stock ban threatens jobs, way of life in West Texas town

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A bump stock device that fits on a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing speed, making it similar to a fully automatic rifle, is shown at a gun store on Oct. 5, 2017 in Salt Lake City. Congress is talking about banning bump stocks after it was reported to have been used in the Las Vegas mass murder on Oct. 1. (George Frey/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump has said he will ban bump stocks whether Congress does or not, and that ban could severely impact life for the residents of Moran, Texas, KTVT-TV reports.

What’s the story?

Moran, a town with fewer than 300 residents in West Texas, is the home of Slide Fire Solutions, the largest U.S. manufacturer of bump stocks.

The company was founded by retired Air Force veteran Jeremiah Cottle, who invented the bump stock after he and his friends decided they wanted to be able to fire faster when recreationally shooting.

Slide Fire is one of the largest employers in that area of Texas, and Slide Fire orders represent more than half of the local post office’s business. Some residents have said Moran may not even still exist if Slide Fire Solutions closed.

“When he put Slide Fire in this town it gave a lot of people jobs that didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Moran resident Amy Boyett told KTVT.

Bump stocks came into mass public awareness in October after a man used the devices on guns he used to kill 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas. In the days following the shooting, Cottle suspended business temporarily.

Bump stocks aren’t regulated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because they aren’t firearms. However, after the Las Vegas shooting, the National Rifle Association called on the ATF to review whether bump stocks should be regulated.

Scapegoat?

Although the political climate has made an assault rifle ban seem unlikely despite vocal protests from gun control advocates, the idea of banning bump stocks gained much more bipartisan support in the months following the Las Vegas shooting.

“I’m writing it out myself. I don’t care if Congress does, I’m writing them out myself,” Trump said last month about bump stocks.

Some Moran residents say their livelihood is being threatened because politicians want to use bump stocks as an easy scapegoat.

“It it something that they could say ‘this is why it happened’ and they could place all the blame over here,” said Moran resident Shelly Alexander.

Slide Fire’s sales have increased since the threat of banning bump stocks became a possibility, and the company is continuing to take orders. But the future is uncertain.

“This is our family and our livelihood,” Alexander said. “You are not going to take it away from us, not without a fight.”

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