Press Release

Giffords Applauds Delaware for Joining a Growing List of States Moving Forward with Bills to Ban Bump Stocks

January 24, 2018 — With Congress refusing to take action to address the tragedy in Las Vegas, leaders in Delaware have moved their own bill forward to ban bump stocks.Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the Delaware House Administration Committee for holding a hearing on the bump stock legislation, taking testimony from advocates, and then passing the measure to criminalize the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks. The bill can now be considered by the full Delaware House for a vote.

In October 2017, a gunman in Las Vegas used multiple bump stock devices to convert semi-automatic rifles into weapons that fired 9 shots per second. It was the deadliest mass shooting attack in modern history. More than a dozen states across the country have begun to take action to pass these dangerous devices. That includes Massachusettsand New Jersey where bills were signed into law by Republican officials with backing from Giffords, and Virginia, where a Republican Senate approved a bill.

“While Congress drags its feet, states like Delaware are leading the way to prevent dangerous people from getting their hands on bump stocks,” said Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director of Giffords. “There is little debate amongst law enforcement and gun law experts that in the case of the Las Vegas shooting, bump stocks helped a killer become a killing machine. Elected leaders in state capitals across the country should be commended for taking urgent action to prevent reduce the risk of this tragedy happening again. We applaud Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Delaware leaders for showing the courage to act and are eager to see this signed into law so we can get bump stocks off our streets.”

After the Las Vegas shooting, 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.

“The horrifying scene in Las Vegas last fall proved how dangerous bump stocks are,” said Will Smith, Delaware State Trooper (Ret.), International Law Enforcement Consultant, and Advisory Committee Member of the Giffords Delaware Coalition. “It’s time to take action on these devices so they can’t be used to make a mass shooting even more deadly. Congress knows this is a problem but refuses to act. That’s why we are urging leaders in our state to show courage and move to keep bump stocks away from individuals who want to harm others. Today is a great step forward for Delaware, proving, once again, that we will take action to make our communities safer by addressing gun violence.”

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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 foreach bullet that leaves the barrel. This means that these deadly devices 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.