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So What Does the Inventor of the Bump Stock Have to Say As His Device Goes Before the Supreme Court?


Slidefire bump stock

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As bump stocks go before the Supreme Court this week, ABC News interviewed Jeremiah Cottle, the creator of the bump stock to get his thoughts on the battle over his invention. Cottle, a decorated military veteran and father of four, originally conceived of the bump stock while recovering from a brain injury sustained serving his country.

 

The original bump stock, designed in 2009, was made up of a piece of wood, PVC pipe and duct tape. The device, as most readers of TTAG well know, uses a semi-automatic rifle’s recoil to fire rounds more rapidly and more smoothly than a single finger squeeze for each round.

“I wanted to create a way that people could go out, shoot their gun safely and have fun and shoot as fast as you want to be able,” Cottle told ABC News.

When Cottle, who was born in West Texas but now lives in Tennessee, where in addition to being father of the bump stock he is also a cattle rancher, designed the device, he received ATF approval. ATF at the time ruled the bump stock did not circumvent the National Firearm Act (NFA) and turn a semi-auto firearm into a regulated full-auto weapon and for eight years, they adhered to that decision.

In that time, Cottle sold his first 500 bump stocks in just four days and more than 20,000 in his first year. Cottle, who was on food stamps at the time he invented the bump stock, became a millionaire virtually overnight. His business, Slide Fire Solutions, Inc. eventually employed as many as 40 people, including his grandparents.

“It’s absolutely a Cinderella story,” Cottle told ABC News. “You take an individual with an idea—something that they believe others will enjoy—you put it out there, and it’s unbelievably welcomed.” And it was. When the invention first hit the market, it was the talk among gun enthusiasts.

And everything was fine for eight years.

But in October 2017, the deadliest mass shooting in American history was carried out in Las Vegas, Nevada, when a gunman, firing from the window of a room in Mandalay Bay hotel and casino, killed more than 60 people and wounded over 500, attending a country music festival below. That gunman used several firearms outfitted with bump stocks.

All of a sudden, the bump stock became the villain and even then-president Donald Trump and the NRA suggested limits needed to be put on the device. In response, the ATF did an about-face and reclassified the devices and “ordered that the more than 700,000 already created must be surrendered or destroyed.”

Enter Michael Cargill, an Army veteran and owner of Central Texas Gun Works near Austin, Texas. Cargill, who was also interviewed in the ABC piece, told them he emptied his store shelves of bump stocks and surrendered the two that he owned as well. But he also sued the ATF claiming the agency had no legal right to ban the items and overstepped their authority.

“This is a product that I legally purchased and had it in the store,” Cargill told ABC News, “and all of a sudden an agency within the federal government decided they’re going to ban this particular product. I said, ‘This is crazy, this is not the America that I know. We’ve got to do something about this.’”

“An agency within the federal government can’t come out and actually turn millions of people into felons overnight or ban a product,” Cargill said in the interview. “We have to go to Congress to do that.”

And now Cargill v. Garland sits before our Supreme Court justices to decide.

In the interview, when ABC News reporter Devin Dwyer suggests to Cottle, “your critics say that is violating the spirit of the law and that even though that may not technically be a machine gun it certainly does look like one.”

Cottle simply replies, “Well it sounds like Congress needs to rewrite the definition of a machine gun doesn’t it. It’s not making stuff up on a whim.”

For all the criticism main stream media receives on covering gun issues, this was as balanced a report as gun owners and America can probably expect from any of the big networks. It certainly isn’t an “F,” but it’s still pretty far from an “A” as well though they did at least treat Cottle fairly and give him his say without badgering the hell out of him or trying to make him look stupid.

 

 

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