Tiny Moran, Texas, where ‘bump stocks” are made, complains that it is a scapegoat in the Las Vegas massacre. “Everyone out there thinks we’re killers, and that’s very far from the truth,” says Mayor Steven Taggart.
For Moran, Tx., a tiny town 150 miles west of Dallas that was struggling to stay alive, it seemed like a small economic miracle. A company started from scratch by Air Force veteran Jeremiah Cottle soared to more than $10 million in sales in its first year, 2010, and provided jobs and prosperity many residents said they never expected to see, reports the New York Times. The company’s hit product was a “bump stock” that allows a rifle to mimic the speed and killing efficiency of an automatic weapon. News that 58 people had been killed and hundreds more injured in Las Vegas by a man whose arsenal of weapons included a dozen rifles outfitted with bump stocks is having a big impact in Moran.
The company has shut down production for now. The carnage in Las Vegas has not changed many minds in Moran about Cottle’s product or his firm, Slide Fire Solutions. Instead, in a town of 270 residents where nearly everyone has a gun, there is a feeling that Cottle, the company and the town are being unfairly maligned because of a madman’s horrific crimes. “It’s being used as a scapegoat — they’re looking for somebody to blame,” said Lanham Martin, a Shackelford County commissioner. “Guns don’t kill people. Slide Fire stocks don’t kill people.” He added, “It could have been just as lethal, if not more so, with a good scope.” Mayor Steven Taggart said “Everyone out there thinks we’re killers, and that’s very far from the truth. They’re trying to tear us down, and saying that we’re evil. That is heartbreaking. That’s what tears me up, that they think we’re bad people.”