January 15, 2018 — With Congress refusing to act to address the tragedy in Las Vegas, leaders in New Jersey enacted into law the second state bump stock ban since the massacre in Las Vegas last fall. Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, applauded the state for taking up and passing a bill to criminalize the manufacture, sale, and possession of bump stocks.
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 and after it happened, Massachusetts became the first state to sign a bill into law, supported by Giffords, to ban bump stocks.
“Bump stocks played a major role in turning a Las Vegas concert into a tragedy,” said Nico Bocour, State Legislative Director of Giffords. “Ever since the massacre we have called on elected leaders to step up and take action on bump stocks to help reduce gun violence. New Jersey’s move to take bump stocks off the streets is a win for the public safety of communities in the state. With Congress dragging its feet, states like New Jersey and Massachusetts are leading the way to ensure that bump stocks don’t fall into the wrong hands. We applaud them for showing courage and setting an example that other states can follow.”
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.
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.