Violators of Massachusetts Bump Stock Ban Could Receive Life in Prison

(Photo: NRA-ILA)

Massachusetts is taking the lead in the national race to ban bump stocks with both the state House and Senate voting to approve legislation that would greatly restrict the ownership of the firearm accessory.

The House approved its sweeping ban Wednesday followed by the Senate, which unanimously approved a more narrow version Thursday.

“Bump stocks and trigger cranks effectively change the nature of a semi-automatic weapon to make it into a machine gun,” state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg (D-Amherst) said in a statement Thursday.

“There is no legitimate purpose for the use, sale, and possession of these devices or than to cause as much damage as possible,” Rosenberg continued. “Taking this action today protects public safety, provides ample time for residents to comply, and establishes sufficient penalties for violations.”

Under the House version “any device which attaches to a [firearm]…that is designed to increase the rate of discharge” of a firearm would be prohibited.

As the NRA-ILA pointed out, this purposefully vague and open-ended language would leave the door open for bans not only on bump stocks and trigger cranks but also on match grade triggers, muzzle brakes, and other ergonomic modifications.

SEE ALSO: Public Support for Bump Stock Ban at 79 Percent, Says New Poll

The Senate version, on the other hand, would exclusively target bump stocks and trigger cranks.  And they wouldn’t technically be outlawed, rather they would be regulated as “machine guns” under Massachusetts law.

“The Senate’s bipartisan action means that those who are not appropriately licensed to possess devices that are in effect approximating a machine gun will be in violation of our state’s comprehensive firearms laws,” Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) said in a statement.

Violators would face 18 months to life in prison for the illegal use and possession of either accessory, according to the Senate bill.

All signs point to some form of this bipartisan legislation passing in the coming weeks.  Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has already said that he plans to sign it into law.

“Look, that should be outlawed,” Baker told reporters earlier in the week. “And if that were to pass tomorrow, we would sign it.”

Massachusetts is not alone in moving to outlaw bump stocks and trigger cranks.  Ohio, Maryland, and Illinois are also considering similar bills.  And, of course, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation on the federal level to ban bump stocks nationwide.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Blue Dog October 17, 2017, 1:35 am

    Of course bump stocks should be illegal! They are a tangible loophole for skirting the law by making a semi-auto rifle into a fully-auto rifle. If anything, the over-the-counter availability of bump stocks without background checks illustrate how other dangerous loopholes in the woefully outdated national firearm policy get neglected because we concentrate too much on closing the gun show loophole. The entire current body of firearm regulations should be revisited. Universal background checks, a national firearm registry and mag capacity limits are minimal common-sense gun safety measures that need to be introduced as soon as possible. The government should also reconsider what sorts of accessories they allow us to buy and start working to crack down on ghost guns, 80% lowers and 3-D printed firearms. We are America – we can do better! We need to bring our firearm laws closer in line with the rest of the developed nations of the world.

  • JT October 16, 2017, 7:50 pm

    I own many firearms including an AR-15. Im a staunch conservative, a father and I miss the days we could enjoy going to a concert or ballgame with out fear for our lives -and everybody since 9/11 wonders the same thing if just for a second. That said, \”bump\” stocks or any modification that allows one to \”easily\” attain fully automatic function has no place in the public sector. If I need a weapon to defend my family in any imaginable event, a Semi Auto will do just fine where a Full Auto puts other members of my family and society at risk. Imagine, the zombie apocalypse comes, there are enemies coming upon you out in public somewhere, you open a spray of full auto in the enemy\’s direction. Besides hitting them, rounds fly through the buildings behind them hitting a boy seated at the barber shop…. into oncoming traffic killing a woman as she sits at a traffic light… etc. Only need for full auto is to spray bullets. Fully Auto weapons have been federally regulated for decades, why should simple loopholes that allow the same function not be illegal. Especially when there is a clear cut case of the guy in Vegas who just used the same device to kill nearly 60 people and send over 500 to the hospital. Why my fellow gun owners can\’t concede a simple provision limited to full auto function mods is beyond me.

  • Bobs yer uncle October 13, 2017, 12:24 pm

    Wow! they can’t solve any other issues, but they can keep you from owning things, Wow! what brave legislators, they should vote to stop you from owning a 747 as well, why? because some crazy people did something horrific We are all safe now. They’er doing something.

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