Giffords Applauds Massachusetts Legislature For Advancing Bill To Ban Bump Stocks

November 3, 2017 — With federal action to address bump stocks stalled on Capitol Hill, state lawmakers in Massachusetts are taking action into their own hands, moving to pass the first state bump stock ban since the massacre in Las Vegas last month.

Robin Lloyd, Government Affairs Director at Giffords issued the following statement applauding the Massachusetts Legislature for advancing a bill that would ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and possession of bump stocks that allow shooters to a rate far beyond the standard rate for a semi-automatic gun.

“Following last month’s tragedy in Las Vegas, it’s important for our nation’s elected leaders to examine all aspects of the shooting – including the role of bump stocks – and take responsible steps that effectively reduce gun violence. We applaud the Massachusetts Legislature for taking this important step forward, which will undoubtedly make Bay State communities and families safer. If Congress refuses to take responsible steps to prevent bump stocks and other dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands, we hope other states around the country will stand up to the gun lobby, follow Massachusetts’ lead, and ensure bump stocks and other similar devices are kept off our streets. We especially want to thank Rep. Linsky for his leadership in advancing this proposal, which will make Massachusetts safer.”

Earlier this week, Giffords and SiX Action, an advocacy organization committed to achieving change at the state level, released a state legislative toolkit for addressing bump stocks, that details legislative options for lawmakers who want to take action. States can protect their communities by looking to other legislation that has been enacted or introduced at the state and federal level.

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Background information on bump stocks:

  • According to ATF, even when a bump stock is attached to a semi-automatic rifle, the gun is still not a machine gun, since the trigger has to function once for each bullet that leaves the barrel. This means that they are not subject to federal registration requirements when they are manufactured or transferred. California law currently bans bump stocks and other devices under its multiburst trigger activators prohibition.
  • Even though they are not regulated like machine guns, bump stocks allow a person to hold a finger steady, and simply “bump” the gun against his or her shoulder back into the trigger. The person does not have to pull the trigger each time.  Bump firing is the act of using the recoil of a semi-automatic firearm to fire shots in rapid succession to simulate a fully automatic rate of fire.
  • Bump stocks—specialized rifle stocks that allow shooters to more accurately bump fire rifles without compromising accuracy—are legal to be sold and not regulated by the federal government. The Slide Fire® bump stock, for example, was ruled by ATF in 2010 as an accessory “intended to assist persons whose hands have limited mobility to Bump Fire an AR-15 type rifle” and did not qualify for regulation under the Gun Control Act of 1968 or National Firearms Act.
  • Mass shooters choose guns that allow for rapid-fire because they increase casualties.  For example, the TEC DC-9 assault pistol used to kill eight and wound six in a mass shooting at the Pettit and Martin law firm in San Francisco in 1993 was equipped with a Hellfire trigger activator.