Demo­cratic law­mak­ers seek bump-stock ban

Ho­gan says de­vice used in Las Ve­gas shoot­ing is ‘worth dis­cussing’

The Washington Post - - METRO - BY JOSH HICKS AND OVETTA WIG­GINS

Mary­land’s top leg­isla­tive lead­ers are back­ing a pro­posal to ex­pand the state’s au­to­matic-weapons ban in 2018 by pro­hibit­ing the sale of bump stocks, a de­vice used to ac­cel­er­ate the fir­ing of semi­au­to­matic weapons, in­clud­ing dur­ing last month’s Las Ve­gas mass shoot­ing.

Leg­isla­tive aides for Se­nate Pres­i­dent Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arun­del) said Wed­nes­day that the law­mak­ers would sup­port pro­hibit­ing sales of such mech­a­nisms, a de­vel­op­ment first re­ported by the Bal­ti­more Sun.

“There is no rea­son that bump stocks should ex­ist,” Busch said. “Think of the num­ber of peo­ple who could have been saved in Las Ve­gas if there wasn’t a bump stock.”

Sen. Bill Fer­gu­son (D-Bal­ti­more City) and Del. David Moon (D-Mont­gomery) have promised to in­tro­duce a bill next year to ban such de­vices, and Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) said dur­ing a news con­fer­ence Tues­day that it is “worth dis­cussing do­ing some­thing about bump stocks.”

On Mon­day, the U.S. Supreme Court de­clined to re­view a Mary­land law that bans the sale of semi­au­to­matic guns with cer­tain mil­i­tary-style fea­tures. The law had been up­held by the U.S. Court of Ap­peals for the 4th Cir­cuit.

Amy Hunter, a spokes­woman for the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion in Mary­land, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion thinks that bump stocks and sim­i­lar de­vices “should be sub­ject to ad­di­tional reg­u­la­tions.” She did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on pro­hibit­ing sales of such items.

Jen Pauliuko­nis, pres­i­dent of Mary­lan­ders to Pre­vent Gun Vi­o­lence, said she is “ex­cited to have lead­ers in Mary­land that take gun vi­o­lence se­ri­ously and work to­ward poli­cies that will make the pub­lic safer.”

She said her or­ga­ni­za­tion is ea­ger to see whether Ho­gan will move from a will­ing­ness to talk about bump-stock mea­sures to back­ing a ban on such de­vices.

“There’s still an ex­tra step, and hope­fully he takes it,” she said.

If the leg­is­la­ture, which has large Demo­cratic ma­jori­ties in both cham­bers, passes a ban, Ho­gan’s stance on the is­sue could be­come a factor in his bid for a sec­ond term in 2018.

Mary­land has some of the strictest gun laws in the na­tion, in­clud­ing a 2013 law that bars the sale of nearly all semi­au­to­matic ri­fles and am­mu­ni­tion mag­a­zines that hold more than 10 bul­lets.

The pro­posal from Moon and Fer­gu­son would not pro­hibit pos­ses­sion of ex­ist­ing bump stocks or the in­her­i­tance of such items if they have al­ready been pur­chased legally. Moon said ban­ning bump stocks and other de­vices that make semi­au­to­matic ri­fles func­tion more like fully au­to­matic weapons would be “a com­mon­sense re­sponse to up­hold the spirit of ex­ist­ing laws in Mary­land.”

In the Las Ve­gas shoot­ing, which killed at least 59 peo­ple and wounded hundreds more, the per­pe­tra­tor fit­ted at least a dozen guns with bump stocks, fir­ing them at con­cert­go­ers from the 32nd floor of the Man­dalay Bay Re­sort and Casino.

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