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Ohio Gun Groups Defend 'Bump Stocks,' Breaking From NRA

"Bump stocks" allow semi-automatic rifles to be converted to rapid-fire automatic weapons.

Some Ohio gun groups are coming out against proposed bans on “bump stocks,” the gun accessory used by the Las Vegas mass shooter to turn semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire automatic weapons.

The Buckeye Firearms Association and Ohioans for Concealed Carry say a ban would be a threat to American gun rights.

Buckeye Firearms executive director Dean Rieck says, given the device’s lack of popularity, a ban would be an ineffective way to stop gun deaths.

“Most people, even gun owners, have never heard of this device before,” Rieck says. “So, of course, there are calls to ban it, or more heavily regulate it, to have the ATF take another look and maybe reclassify it. But long term, when we look at all the gun deaths in the United States, I doubt it would have any effect.”

Rieck says he does see a lot of support for the ban, though.

“I will admit, it looks like it’s building a lot of steam, and I will not be surprised if we see legislation like that passed,” he says.

That’s a slightly different tone than Rieck took in an email to supporters on Friday. He a ban would create a "slippery slope" that could further some people's goals to "take our guns away."

Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas shooter, equipped rifles with bump stocks that he used to kill 58 people and wound hundreds from a hotel room last week. An informal pollof 10 Columbus-area gun shops only found one carried the product, however.

Sen. Sherrod Brown has expressed support of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill to ban the accessory. Meanwhile, Sen. Rob Portman said last week he needed time to review the legislation.

Even the National Rifle Association said some regulation may be necessary, though its executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said that should be the work of the Trump Administration instead of Congress.

In an interview with Face the Nation, LaPierre said a legislative solution through Congress might advance other gun control measures.

"If you fuzz the line, they're all at risk and we're not going to let that happen," he said.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry said it is opposed to any “knee-jerk bans” on gun accessories “demonized” by the media.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.