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Bump stocks unpopular with local gun merchants, enthusiasts

  • FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, an employee of North Raleigh Guns demonstrates how a "bump" stock works at the Raleigh, N.C., shop. The gunman who unleashed hundreds of rounds of gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, attached what is called a "bump-stock" to two of his weapons, in effect converting semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic ones. (AP Photo/Allen Breed, File) Allen Breed

  • FILE - This Feb. 1, 2013, file photo shows a "bump" stock next to a disassembled .22-caliber rifle at North Raleigh Guns in Raleigh, N.C. The gunman who unleashed hundreds of rounds of gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, attached what is called a "bump-stock" to two of his weapons, in effect converting semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic ones. (AP Photo/Allen Breed, File) Allen Breed

  • The Gun Rack owner Norm Emond, right, shows a gun to Robert Emond Jr., no relation, in his store in Turners Falls. Recorder fILE PHOTO/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Walk into Bear Arms gun shop in Orange, and you likely won’t be surprised by what you see.

Handguns sit safely behind panes of glass, various rifles and shotguns are displayed on a wall to the right and a Gadsden (“DONT TREAD ON ME”) flag hangs behind a counter. What you won’t find at 117 New Athol Road are bump stocks, attachments used to make semiautomatic weapons fire faster.

The devices have been thrust into a national conversation after they were found on 12 of the rifles Stephen Paddock used in Las Vegas on Oct. 1, when he shot hundreds of bullets from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of 22,000 people at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival across the street. The mass shooting was the deadliest in modern United States history, killing at least 58 people and injuring nearly 500. There is now discussion at the state and federal levels to ban bump stocks.

A bump stock replaces a rifle’s standard stock, which is held against the shooter’s shoulder. It utilizes a semiautomatic firearm’s recoil to make the weapon slide back and forth to fire rapid shots continuously. But Ed Hallett, co-owner of Bear Arms, says he has no interest in selling the devices. He referred to them as “a waste of money” that serve no practical purpose. He said he has no objection to banning bump stocks.

They are not sold at Buck Rub Sporting Goods at 164 East Main St. in Orange, either.

State legislation

On Thursday, the Massachusetts Senate voted to ban bump stock and trigger cranks and classify them under the same general law that governs machine guns, according to state spokesman Peter Wilson. The amendment filed by Sen. Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) makes use and possession of bump stocks and trigger cranks punishable with 18 months to life in prison, as is the current law for machine guns.

And on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press, the state House of Representatives voted 151-3 to ban devices like bump stocks. State Rep. David Linsky, a Natick Democrat, filed legislation to outlaw any devices that increase the rate of discharge when attached to a firearm. The prohibition would take effect 180 days after becoming law. Anyone violating the ban would face between three and 20 years behind bars.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has voiced his support for a bump stocks ban.

After the massacre, the National Rifle Association expressed support for some industry regulation of bump stocks, but opposes any legislation banning them. Under Barack Obama’s presidency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms permitted the sale of the devices in 2010.

Chris Noyes, co-owner of Grrr Gear at 334 East Main St. in Orange, says she and her husband, Al, have never sold bump stocks and never will. Chris also says she isn’t particularly familiar with them because she has never seen one, and her customers typically don’t ask about them. She declined to say whether she supports banning them.

Norm Emond, owner of The Gun Rack at 157 Avenue A in Turners Falls, as well as a representative from Jurek Brothers Inc. at 59 School St. in Greenfield who declined to identify himself, both said their businesses do not sell bump stocks. Both declined to comment on whether they support a bump stock ban.

Charles Ricko, owner of Overwatch Outpost at 97 Main St. in Charlemont, said his business doesn’t sell bump stocks either, referring to them as “garbage.”

“We don’t sell garbage here, this isn’t a junk store,” he said. “They’re the type of thing you’d find at a lower end type of place.”

Ricko went on to say that in his opinion, bump stocks are “a novelty, a gimmick and they don’t even work very well.” He also declined to comment on whether he would support a ban.

Ray Hebert, a customer at Bear Arms, says he has owned firearms since 1976 and was adamant about his support for banning bump stocks, saying the only reason to own one is to appear “macho.”

“There’s no need for those things. There’s no justification … except to show off,” he said. “It’s a joke, it really is. It’s a joke.”

Hebert says bump stocks are known for being inaccurate and it makes no sense for a hunter to use one. He also says he does not believe banning bump stocks will open the floodgates to banning firearms altogether.

Reach Domenic Poli
at: dpoli@recorder.com