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States Take Action to Prohibit Bump Stocks as Congress Fails to Act

January 16, 2018

Last year, 58 people died and nearly 500 more were injured in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. The Las Vegas shooter had rigged his guns with bump stocks, devices that enabled the shooter to fire more rapidly, approaching automatic fire. Bump stocks skirt existing law, since fully automatic firearms have long been tightly regulated.

Immediately following the shooting, Republicans and Democrats alike signaled they were interested in congressional action to prohibit bump stocks. However, that bipartisan enthusiasm quickly evaporated after the NRA opposed legislation to address bump stocks and proposed a lengthy regulatory review instead. Thankfully, the states have stepped in where Congress has failed to lead.

  • New proposals to tackle bump stocks are being introduced in red, blue and purple states across the country, including Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Indiana.
  • Just yesterday, Gov. Christie signed a bill that the New Jersey Assembly passed last week to make owning a bump stock illegal.
  • Last week, Connecticut Gov. Malloy called for state action on bump stocks.
  • In November of last year, Massachusetts became the first state to officially make these devices illegal.

Of course, this is far from the first time the states have taken action to prevent gun violence when national politicians have failed us. While congressional leaders rejected efforts to close the background check loophole after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook School, 19 states and D.C. have passed laws to require a criminal background check on every handgun sale. And, 25 states and D.C. have passed more than 37 new laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers since 2013.

We don’t expect this year to be any different. As statehouses around the country reopen for business, our volunteers will be advocating for stronger gun laws, including curbs on bump stocks, in the states. If you have questions about bump stock or other gun safety bills in statehouses this year, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


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