By: Earnest Jones | 11-05-2017 | News
Photo credit: NBC News

Massachusetts Becomes First State to Ban Bump Stocks After Vegas Shooting: Will Other States Follow

Massachusetts has pioneered the ban on bump stocks following the deadly shooting at a Las Vegas music festival.

If you’re well acquainted with rifles you probably know that bumps are designed to make semi-automatic rifles mimic the firing action of fully automatic weapons.

The appropriations bill that included a prohibition on these devices was signed into law Friday by Republican Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. The final approval was given by the Democratic-controlled Legislature on Thursday.

Massachusetts’ acting chief executive Polito and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker on vacation outside of the state. Baker had previously expressed support for banning the devices.

This comes after the investigators handling the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history revealed that the gunman, Stephen Paddock, used a bump stock when he opened fire Oct. 1 from his Las Vegas hotel room on concert-goers below. The incident left Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds more wounded.

An alert has been sent by The Gun Owners Action League of Massachusetts, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, to its members earlier Friday urging them to contact Baker's office and demand that he use his line-item veto power to separate out the bump stock ban from the rest of the $85 million budget bill, which was needed so the state's comptroller can close out the books on the previous fiscal year.

"The provision passed by the legislature … allows for excessive punishment including life imprisonment, with a minimum sentence of 18 months, for the mere possession of these accessories," said the group.

The legislation, which would also ban most trigger cranks, provides no "pathway to legal ownership," for the devices and no ability for current owners to sell them, said the gun owners group. The group previously criticized lawmakers for taking a vote before even holding a public hearing.

Rep. David Linsky said that the move would make the state safer while respecting the rights of gun owners.

"I am proud of my colleagues in the Legislature for continuing Massachusetts' reputation as having among the safest and most effective gun laws in the nation," Linsky said in a statement.

Massachusetts lawmakers have been praised by an organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was grievously wounded in a 2011 shooting in Arizona, for banning bump stocks and urged other states to follow suit.


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