Gun Industry Converges Near Site Of Las Vegas Mass Shooting

LAS VEGAS (CBS News) — The gun industry is holding its biggest annual trade show this week just a few miles from the site where a gunman slaughtered 58 concertgoersoutside his high-rise Las Vegas hotel room in October using a display case worth of weapons, many fitted with bump stocks that enabled them to mimic fully automatic fire. Gun control advocates, meanwhile, pointed to the irony of the location and planned a protest to renew calls for tighter gun sale regulations, including expanded background checks.

“We’re trying to show the connection between the industry that makes all the money and the damage that their products cause,” Lee Goodman, an organizer with Chicago-based Peaceful Communities, said Tuesday. His organization advocates for a rewrite of the constitutional Second Amendment right to own guns.

What exactly will be among the thousands of products crammed into the exhibition spaces at the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s SHOT Show convention, running Tuesday through Friday, will be a bit of a mystery, shielded from the public and, this year, members of the general-interest media.

One thing is known: Slide Fire, the leading manufacturer of bump stocks, a once-obscure product that attracted intense attention in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, won’t be among the exhibitors.

The Texas-based company hasn’t said why it’s not on the roster of more than 1,700 exhibitors, although it was last year. It didn’t return messages seeking comment. The company also isn’t on the list of those attending this year’s National Rifle Association annual meeting or other prominent gun trade shows.

In the aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre Oct. 1, Slide Fire had so much trouble keeping up with demand it temporarily stopped taking orders for the product. It has since resumed.

“From purely a public relations standpoint, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all if bump stocks just sort of disappeared this year,” said Robert Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and an expert on firearms and the Second Amendment. “That’s a PR no-brainer.”

Still, the convention floor is likely to have plenty of other devices that gun-control advocates have taken aim at in recent years: accessories that make it easier to carry a firearm, shoot it or reduce the noise it makes.

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