Cassie Follman ‘20
Responding to the Las Vegas shooting and other mass shootings in the United States, the state of Massachusetts has recently banned the sale of bump stocks. The ban removes bump stocks from stores and prevents their private use within the state.
Bump stocks enable legal semi-automatic weapons to become machine guns. The use of bump stocks recently came under scrutiny following their use in the Las Vegas shooting. They were thought to play an integral role in the massacre, in which 59 people died and hundreds more were injured.
After the incident, people adamantly argued both for and against the ban of bump stocks.
The New York Times reported on what they are and how they are used in their article “What is a Bump Stock and How Does It Work.”
“The bump stock in not banned under federal law even though it allows a weapon to fire at nearly the rate of a machine gun without technically converting it to a fully automatic weapon,” the Times reported.
The Daily Hampshire Gazette reported, “It’s not known how many of the devices are in circulation. At the time of the Las Vegas shooting, gun dealers said they rarely had customers wanting to buy one-but then couldn’t keep up with the demand in the days and months afterwards.” This trend can most likely be attributed to pro-gun individuals who fear the government is encroaching upon their rights by banning the weapon accessory.
“Massachusetts, which has some of the nation’s strictest gun laws, enacted its ban a month after the Las Vegas shooting, pushed through a Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed into law by a Republican lieutenant governor,” the Gazette also reported.
New Jersey enacted a similar bill, signed by former Republican governor Chris Christie.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, or ATF, received numerous complaints against bans for bump stocks, as reported by The Hill.
According to the Hill, “[ATF] has received more than 36,000 comments on the issue since asking for responses in December.” The article continued, saying that analysis was performed on the comments, and that “only 13 percent of the 32,000 comments it looked at supported regulating the devices.”
In October 2017, The Sophian previously wrote about a possible federal bill that would ban the selling of bump stocks. The Sophian wrote, “Following the tragedy in Las Vegas, there has again been calls in favor of gun control reform,” and that “Congress has introduced a bill that would ban the use of bump stocks.”
The bill proposed in Congress is currently stalled, thus leading states and cities to take action among themselves.
Other states and cities also banned bump stocks, included amongst them New Jersey, Denver, Colorado and Columbia, South Carolina. Other states and cities are considering similar bans, but it is unknown whether or not those will be enacted.