WASHINGTON, DC — With Congress refusing to take action to address the tragedy in Las Vegas, leaders in New Hampshire are moving forward with a bill to limit the use of bump stocks. Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the New Hampshire Senate Judiciary Committee for passing a bill prohibiting the use of bump stocks. The legislation would establish a misdemeanor offense for the manufacture, sale, possession, or use of a multiburst trigger activator and can now be heard on the Senate floor.
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 Massachusetts and New Jersey where bills were signed into law by Republican officials with backing from Giffords, and Virginia, where a Republican Senate approved a bill.
“With Congress silent, states like New Hampshire have decided to lead the way and keep bump stocks out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director of Giffords. “The whole country saw the death and destruction that use of bump stocks caused in Las Vegas. No one wants a repeat of that tragedy. Elected leaders need to keep the progress up, pass this bill, and make it harder for bump stocks to fall into the wrong hands.”
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.
“Las Vegas demonstrated how a killer can use a bump stock to become a killing machine,” said Bill Barry, a New Hampshire law enforcement officer with 33 years of experience and member of the Giffords New Hampshire Coalition. “But we have the power to take action and make sure these deadly devices can’t be used to hurt innocent Americans anymore. It’s up to our elected leaders to act. While Congress is failing to do its job, we can make sure the New Hampshire legislature does theirs. We are going to keep the pressure up so this bill keeps moving and we can finally make progress to make our communities safer from the gun violence epidemic.”
Giffords Applauds New Jersey for Passing New Law to Ban Bump Stocks [January 15, 2018]
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 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.