Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor of the now-infamous bump stock, suspended orders again this week as it “replenishes inventory,” according to the company’s website.
It’s the second time the Texas-based manufacturer halted sales since its product — a legal gun modification known to increase the rate of fire — became synonymous with the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Some 58 people died and more than 500 were wounded Oct. 1 when a 64-year-old gunman fired into a country music festival from his hotel suite 32 stories above the Vegas strip. Bump stocks promptly soared from obscurity into national headlines after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives confirmed 12 of the modifiers were found in the shooter’s two-room suite at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Major retailers, including Walmart and Cabela’s, pulled the devices from store shelves in the days after the shooting. Slide Fire, likewise, suspended new orders on its website for most of the month. In an Oct. 31 email promotion, Business Insider reports the company said it would resume selling a “limited release” of two bump stock models for $179.95. As of Sunday, the company appeared sold out.
In the void left behind by Slide Fire and other retailers, online bids for available bump stocks skyrocketed. Two separate auctions on Gun Broker featured Slide Fire bump stocks that eventually sold for more than $1,500 last month.
“Before this shooting we mostly received inquiry emails from enthusiasts about the bump stocks,” Benjamin Roberts, managing director of Conservative Armory, told Guns.com. “Put it this way, we’ve sold more in the past 10 days than we have this year.”
Looming congressional threats of tightened gun regulations and widespread anxiety regarding personal safety has triggered an upswing in long gun sales, too, according to federal data.
Dealers processed more than 480,000 National Instant Criminal Background Check applications for long guns in October, eclipsing levels not seen since 2016 — the biggest on record for federal background checks, and by proxy, gun sales.
Rommel Dionisio, managing director at Aegis Capital who specializes in the gun industry, told CNN Money last month he anticipated the shooting would translate into more sales — as it has for incidents past, including Orlando, San Bernardino and Newtown.
“This event in Las Vegas could result in increased demand near-term for firearms as people are concerned about personal safety,” he said.
Dealers processed just over 2 million applications through NICS last month — a 13 percent decline over 2016. Guns.com removes permit applications and rechecks from the monthly total to more accurately pinpoint sales, though the measurement isn’t exact.
Estimated sales in October topped 1 million for the first time in six months, federal data shows — an 18 percent decrease from the year before. Dealers transferred just under 520,000 handguns — nearly 31 percent behind March, 2017’s busiest month so far for handgun sales.