Governor proposes legislation to ban bump stocks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Governor proposes legislation to ban bump stocks

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Newtown Alliance supports banning bump stocks and said we must make these dangerous devices illegal. (WFSB) Newtown Alliance supports banning bump stocks and said we must make these dangerous devices illegal. (WFSB)
Connecticut State Police Firearms Unit shows the media how bump stocks work. (WFSB) Connecticut State Police Firearms Unit shows the media how bump stocks work. (WFSB)

The governor announced that he is proposing legislation to ban the purchase and sale of “rate of fire enhancements." 

The proposed legislation would ban the purchase of items such as bump stocks, binary trigger systems, and trigger cranks that the governor said would "build upon Connecticut’s smart, commonsense, and nationally recognized gun reform legislation."

“Bump stocks are cheap, they are deadly, and they have no place in our society,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. 

“Rate of fire enhancements" would be defined by the proposed legislation "as any device, component, part, combination of parts, attachment, or accessory that uses energy from the recoil of the firearm to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates repeated operation of the trigger, including but not limited to bump stocks; repeatedly operates the trigger through the use of a crank, lever or other part, including but not limited to trigger cranks, except for in cases where firearms that are otherwise legally possessed were designed and manufactured to fire through the use of such crank, lever or other part; causes a semiautomatic firearm to fire more than one round per operation of the trigger, where the trigger pull and reset constitute a single operation of the trigger, including but not limited to binary trigger systems; or is constructed, manufactured, designed or intended to mechanically increase the rate of fire of a firearm in any way."

During a news conference at Connecticut State Police headquarters on Tuesday morning, Malloy criticized federal inaction on sensible gun laws. 

“In Connecticut, we refuse to allow federal inaction to endanger the lives of our residents, despite the best efforts of powerful lobbyists from the NRA. Our state has long been a champion in the fight against gun violence, and today we take a step towards further cementing our reputation as a leader in smart, safe, and commonsense gun reform,"  Malloy said. 

The governor said he expected the proposed legislation to pass. It will be debated when lawmakers return in February.

“We have been very fortunate in Connecticut to have a Governor who has been so supportive with passing commonsense gun laws and instrumental in making Connecticut among the states with the strongest gun laws,” Jeremy Stein, Executive Director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said.

Under the proposed legislation, possession and sale of “rate of fire enhancements" would "result in a Class D felony." The legislation would allow permit holders of “rate of fire enhancements" prior to July 1, 2020 will receive an infraction and be fined $90 for their first offense. For any subsequent offense, they would be charged with a Class D felony. 

“I don’t think we should wait for more tragedy, for more senseless deaths before we act to protect residents,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said.  “The Governor’s initiative takes a smart, well-reasoned approach to bump stocks.  As state leaders, we should have the courage to pass commonsense, anti-violence legislation to help avoid the types of tragedies that we experienced here in Connecticut and that we see continuing throughout the nation.”

Newtown Alliance supports banning bump stocks and said we must make these dangerous devices illegal. 

“The Las Vegas gunman fired more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition in only 11 minutes, using semi-automatic rifles modified with bump fire stocks designed to dramatically accelerate the rate of gunfire and cause maximum damage,” Po Murray, Chairman of the Newtown Action Alliance, said.  “After the heartbreaking Sandy Hook mass shooting incident five years ago, Connecticut passed the second strongest gun laws in the nation under the leadership of Governor Malloy and it is time for Connecticut to act now to lead the nation once again by banning bump stocks and other dangerous accessories to keep our families and communities safe.”

Kara Baekey, Connecticut chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said. the governor's announcement is "a crucial step in ensuring that tragedies like the Las Vegas mass shooting do not occur in our state."  

“Bump stocks and other dangerous rapid-fire devices allow semi-automatic firearms to approach the firing speeds of machine guns – this is entirely unacceptable. Connecticut is a national leader on gun violence prevention, and we hope our lawmakers will stand with us and pass a strong piece of legislation to continue that legacy," Baekey said. "The future of our state is on the line.”

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal called  these “rate of fire enhancements" "carnage force multipliers" and said they "must be banned in Connecticut and nationwide."

"Connecticut is once again poised to lead the nation in the face of Congressional failure-- a chance to prove again to the nation that it is possible to pass commonsense, serious solutions to protect our communities from the scourge of gun violence,” Blumenthal said in a statement on Tuesday. "But gun violence does not stop at the state line, and states like Connecticut with strong laws will remain vulnerable until Congress acts. I will not give up the fight."

Blumenthal joined senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) when they introduced the  Automatic Gun Fire Prevention Act, which they said would "close a loophole that allows semi-automatic weapons to be easily modified to fire at the rate of automatic weapons."

“Automatic weapons are outlawed for a reason, and bump stocks are a backdoor way to make dangerous guns even worse. I’m glad Connecticut is leading the nation on commonsense gun reforms,” Murphy said in a statement on Tuesday. "Congress needs to follow our lead and make sure no one in the country can buy these devices.”

Blumenthal and Murphy also introduced the Assault Weapons Ban of 2017 to ban the sale, transfer, manufacture, and importation of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. The measure that was backed by 19 other Democratic senators would ban bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) agreed with Murphy and Blumenthal and said the governor's proposed legislation "demonstrates Connecticut’s continued commitment to making our communities safer." 

"Any products that modify guns to make them fully automatic weapons have no place in our state or our nation. Proposals like this are vital at a time when the Republican majority in Congress has begun weakening our gun safety laws through bills like the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This is the absolute wrong direction for the American people. Instead, we must strengthen background checks, allow research into the causes and trends related to gun violence, and institute a ban on assault weapons and devices that convert rifles into rapid-fire weapons. These commonsense measures will help our nation fight the scourge of gun violence that has taken far too many lives from us too soon,"  DeLauro said in a statement on Tuesday.

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