Gun owners rush to buy bump stocks as Congress eyes crackdown

Retailers and manufacturers are seeing an apparent surge in interest in so-called bump stocks as Congress eyes a possible crackdown on the type of device allegedly used by the Las Vegas shooter.

Slide Fire, which makes bump stocks, announced on its website it is suspending new orders, with a message indicating the company’s supply is low. Another site that sells the company’s products said in a message online that the device is “out of stock” and backordered.

Bump stocks reportedly have stopped being offered by retailers like Cabela’s as well, at least for now.

This comes as Republicans and Democrats alike discuss the possibility of banning the products.

The devices can be used to effectively convert semi-automatic rifles to fire so rapidly as to simulate an automatic weapon. The devices were found on guns used by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock, who killed 59 and injured hundreds Sunday night.

Bump stocks are legal and originally were intended to help people with limited hand mobility fire a semi-automatic without the individual trigger pulls required. They can fit over the rear shoulder-stock assembly on an automatic rifle and with applied pressure cause the weapon to fire continuously, increasing the rate from between 45 and 60 rounds per minute to between 400 and 800 rounds per minute, according to California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office.

Feinstein, a prominent advocate for gun control, already has legislation to ban bump stocks.

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)

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. Lawmakers could now consider banning the devices in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.  (AP)

But unlike most other gun debates, some Republicans are joining Democrats in eyeing new regulations. 

Fox News has learned that Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., is writing a bipartisan bill to ban bump stocks. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in an interview with Hugh Hewitt, also opened the door to looking at the issue. 

And White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, speaking Thursday on “Fox & Friends,” indicated a willingness to consider restrictions.

“We always welcome a thoughtful conversation on policy and issues. The Second Amendment is a bedrock in our Constitution along with the First Amendment. These rights must be protected,” she said. “But … I know this is something that many legislators have been telling us and I read publicly that they have never even heard of the device before. And they are in Congress. So, many of them are open to a conversation.”

She also referenced the fact that the Obama administration’s ATF gave its seal of approval to selling the devices in 2010 after concluding that they did not violate federal law: “This is a device that President Obama’s ATF decided would not be regulated in 2010.”

Shooting instructor Frankie McRae illustrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. The stock uses the recoil of the semiautomatic rifle to let the finger "bump" the trigger, making it different from a fully automatic machine gun, which are illegal for most civilians to own. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)

Shooting instructor Frankie McRae illustrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C., on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017. The stock uses the recoil of the semiautomatic rifle to let the finger "bump" the trigger, making it different from a fully automatic machine gun, which are illegal for most civilians to own. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed)  (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

When asked about the devices on Thursday, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., told “Fox & Friends”:  “That’s something we’re going to look at.”

Even the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, opened the door to new restrictions.

"If somebody can essentially convert a semi-automatic weapon by buying one of these and utilizing it and cause the kind of mayhem and mass casualties that we saw in Las Vegas, that's something of obvious concern that we ought to explore," Cornyn told reporters.

"I own a lot of guns and as a hunter and sportsman I think that's our right as Americans, but I don't understand the use of this bump stock and that's another reason to have a hearing."

Republicans have generally opposed almost all forms of gun regulations, and are unlikely to go beyond bump stocks. And it remains unclear whether the appetite for banning bump stocks will result in successful legislation.

Asked Tuesday about "bump stocks" and whether they should be legal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said it was not an appropriate time to be discussing legislation.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.