Bump stock manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions, the inventor of the bump stock concept, has announced that it will cease operating after May 20. The company intends to stop taking orders and shut down its website next month. Some of the company’s products were used in the mass shooting that took place in Las Vegas last fall.
The company faces a lawsuit from survivors of that attack, who are attempting to gain class action status in order to sue the company. The company is also facing new federal regulations which will ban its product, so that more than anything will end the company’s ability to do business. While more diversified companies may have been able to move into other product categories, Slide Fire was dependent on its bump stocks for its business. Once the government’s regulations go into effect, its sole product will be illegal to produce, sell, or possess, meaning that it will be lights out for the company.
It’s absurd that the government can just unilaterally change the law solely through the issuance of a regulation, bypassing Congress and just declaring that something that is obviously not a machine gun is now a machine gun. But that, unfortunately, is the way that the government operates today, and the result is that an innovative new company will be forced out of business.
It is even more absurd that some of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting are planning to sue Slide Fire. To hold the manufacturer of a firearms accessory liable in any way for misuse of a product or use of a product in illegal activity is laughable. One might as well sue car manufacturers because their products are used by gang members to travel to their victims, or sue the oil companies that sold the gas to those gang members to allow them to use their car. But while that may sound absurd to any normal, rational human being, you can rest assured that some lawyer somewhere has probably already thought about a suit like that and calculated the odds of such a lawsuit being successful.
All it takes anymore is one crazy person to do something horrendous and the whole world flips out and seeks to punish everyone except the person who is actually responsible for the evil act. That anyone would even try to start a new business in a climate this oppressive to entrepreneurs and innovators is amazing. But as this example shows, our society now views businesses more as a cash cow to be milked or a responsible party in need of punishment when bad things happen, which will guarantee less entrepreneurship, less innovation, and a continually weaker economy.