Mass. Sen­ate votes unan­i­mously to ban weapon bump stocks

Would be first state to reg­u­late add-on de­vices

Woonsocket Call - - Region / Obituaries -

BOS­TON (AP) — Mas­sachusetts is on its way to be­com­ing the first state since the Las Ve­gas shoot­ing mas­sacre to out­law de­vices that al­low semi-au­to­matic weapons to mimic fully au­to­matic guns.

The state Sen­ate voted 33-0 on Thurs­day to ban the sale of bump stocks and trig­ger cranks, at­tach­ments that in­crease the fir­ing rate of a weapon. A day ear­lier, the state House voted 151-3 in fa­vor of a bump stock ban.

The two ver­sions must be rec­on­ciled be­fore a fi­nal bill is sent to Re­pub­li­can Gov. Char­lie Baker, who has said he would sign a ban if it reaches his desk.

A bump stock fits over the stock and grip of a semi­au­to­matic ri­fle and al­lows the weapon to fire con­tin­u­ously. The Las Ve­gas shoot- er, who fired upon a coun­try mu­sic con­cert crowd from his 32nd-floor ho­tel room and killed dozens of peo­ple, had 12 weapons fit­ted with such de­vices.

The Sen­ate bill would clas­sify bump stocks and trig­ger cranks un­der the same state laws re­strict­ing ma­chine guns. The bill would set a penalty of 18 months to life in prison for the il­le­gal use and pos­ses­sion of bump stocks and trig­ger cranks.

Demo­cratic Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Stan Rosen­berg said there's "no le­git­i­mate pur­pose for the use, sale and pos­ses­sion of th­ese de­vices other than to cause as much dam­age as pos­si­ble."

Re­pub­li­can Sen­ate Mi­nor­ity Leader Bruce Tarr said the Sen­ate bill would mean that "those who are not ap­pro­pri­ately li­censed to pos­sess de­vices that are in ef­fect ap­prox­i­mat­ing a ma­chine gun will be in vi­o­la­tion" of the law.

The House ver­sion of the bill says that any­one who "pos­sesses, owns or of­fers for sale any de­vice which at­taches to a ri­fle, shot­gun or firearm, ex­cept a magazine, that is de­signed to in­crease the rate of dis­charge ... or who­ever mod­i­fies any ri­fle, shot­gun or firearm with the in­tent to in­crease its rate of dis­charge" will face between three and 20 years in prison.

Demo­cratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo de­fended the de­ci­sion to vote on the bill with­out hold­ing pub­lic hear­ings first, say­ing the state has a long his­tory of tak­ing ac­tion to pre­vent gun vi­o­lence.

"I think it's im­por­tant for us to take it up and take it up im­me­di­ately," DeLeo said Wed­nes­day be­fore the House vote.

The ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Gun Own­ers Ac­tion League of Mas­sachusetts, Jim Wal­lace, has faulted law­mak­ers for rush­ing to ban the de­vices, call­ing it pre­ma­ture.

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