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.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 42 comments… add one }
  • Keith harmon March 30, 2018, 2:39 pm

    You don’t need a bumpstock, you can use paracord or even your belt loop to make it fire like a bumpstock! How lame the NRA and ATF are!!! Research should be done they are fun to shoot. Guns don’t kill people mental illness does or Terrorist do!!! Bottom line

  • CW March 30, 2018, 10:15 am

    Just for info, I hope this helps put things in context and provides some hope for the situation regarding the “punishments,” etc… I haven’t seen any one comment on this particular issue, sorry if I missed it…

    The Ex Post Facto Clauses

    The prohibition upon ex post facto laws appears twice in the United States
    Constitution. Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 prohibits Congress from passing any
    ex post facto law, while Article I, Section 10, Clause 1 applies the same limit
    to the States. (These are commonly considered applicable to criminal cases, with only limited applicability to civil cases. Ref. )

    Justice Samuel Chase declared, “I will state what laws I consider ex post facto laws, within the words and the intent of the prohibition. 1st. Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the
    law, and which was innocent when done, criminal; and punishes such action. 2d.
    Every law that aggravates a crime, or makes it greater than it was, when committed.
    3d. Every law that changes the punishment, and inflicts a greater punishment, than
    the law annexed to the crime, when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal
    rules of evidence, and receives less, or different, testimony, than the law required at
    the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the offender.

    Just a matter of time before the whole thing falls apart – this is what happens with bad, knee jerk lawmaking. Sooner or later it conflicts with other important rights that start to affect those who push for more “reasonable” government control. The children, including David Hogg, who protested in DC already started to see how their freedom in the form of privacy, was taken away as they can now only carry clear vinyl back packs at school, leaving the contents visible to everyone. Oh the irony…

  • Jay October 22, 2017, 7:28 am

    What they are actually saying is it’s not ok for POOR people to own or have any reason to own fully automatic weapons (acknowledging, like the atf, that “bump fire” devices do not mechanically alter semi-auto weapons) If you have the many thousands of $$$ required to obtain license, pay exorbitant taxes, purchase very high dollar weapons and sufficient ammo to feed them then, you certainly may own an automatic weapon. Rich people certainly never would use their weapons to commit a crime. Now poor people, of course WE can’t be trusted with such powerful weapons.
    Now you can just bet the politicians are quietly rubbing their hands eagerly awaiting some slob to use ‘bump-fire TECHNIQUE’ so that they can ban ALL semi-auto weapons.

  • Auggie Will October 21, 2017, 10:51 pm

    They will keep them off the streets just like they do drugs

    • Leighton Cavendish October 22, 2017, 11:11 am

      Go back to alcohol…remember what made the Kennedys rich…bootlegging. LMFAO

  • Paul Skvorc October 21, 2017, 12:34 am

    The NRA should be proud of this one. I am reminded of the old Shake’n’Bake commercial: Momma made Shake’n’Bake and I hayelped”. This one goes like this: “Massachusetts further restricted the constitutional rights of it’s residents, and the NRA hayelped”.

  • John Hurd October 20, 2017, 10:54 pm

    Or airplanes……………

  • Branden Runyan October 20, 2017, 9:20 pm

    Less people were killed in vegas because of bumpstocks u freeken morons. Also now that thousands of people now own one because of the liberal outcry, shouldn’t there be a huge spike in people murdered by bumpstocks? U know because they are so dangerous.

  • Norm Fishler October 20, 2017, 2:34 pm

    No seven or even eight figure job could keep me in Massachusetts after this latest move. MS residents: what’s more important; your freedom or any other of a long list of excuses you can come up with?

  • Steve October 20, 2017, 2:20 pm

    lol. 18 months to LIFE?!
    that is an enormous range in sentencing. and life in prison for possessing something that until this bill passed was perfectly legal, not even an NFA item, or even something that required a 4473? fucking hell.

  • John October 20, 2017, 2:07 pm

    Until recently, Mass AG Maura Healey thought “Bump Stock” was running into the supply shelves in the
    office store room (where she makes all her decisions)…

  • Phil October 20, 2017, 1:52 pm

    My one problem with this article is that the title is a bit dramatic. As much as I hate gun control in general, the proposed law lists a sentence of “18 months to life in prison.” That does not mean an automatic life sentence for anyone found in possession of a bump stock.

    Criminals in this country are no longer held accountable for their full sentence when convicted of a crime. People that get 10 years are out in five. Many get paroled and go right back to offending. There are some that become productive members of society, I’ll give you that. That isn’t the point, though. If you can get convicted of felony murder in Ohio (someone died in the commission of your felony, like a home invasion or robbery) and get a sentence of 5 years, there is something seriously flawed with our system.

    Don’t try to shock me with your dramatic headline only to reveal its actually “18 months to life,” especially since no one’s really held accountable for their actions anymore.

  • Colonialgirl October 20, 2017, 12:03 pm

    Liberalism seems to be a severe brain disease that prevents logical and intelligent thought.
    These people should ALL be locked away in a secure facility to protect them from harm and to keep them from imposing their brand of insanity on everyone else.

  • Dexter Winslett October 20, 2017, 11:48 am

    They ought overthrow the government there.

  • Dr Motown October 20, 2017, 11:20 am

    What ever happened to the ban on pressure cookers? That’s inflicted more carnage on MA residents than a bump stock ever did

    • L. Fields October 20, 2017, 1:03 pm

      That’s funny. I like that.

  • John Condon October 20, 2017, 9:56 am

    They’d better outlaw belt loops, too, for using semi-auto pistols!

  • joefoam October 20, 2017, 9:47 am

    Wow, life in prison for a device the BATFE has deemed legal. MA residents have no one to blame but themselves for electing these people. stop complaining, get out and vote!

  • Greg October 20, 2017, 9:36 am

    Let’s see, rapists use their penis to rape women….does this mean Mass. will soon demand all males be castrated because that will stop rape …. after all, they believe if only one life is saved, it’s worth destroying rights. Wait….since prostitutes use their vaginas in the commission of a crime and they spread VD…seems like Mass. and the dems will want to eliminate them also. One generation and no more problems, no more people…at least in mass.

  • Sandman October 20, 2017, 9:22 am

    The problem with what Blue Dog, or whatever his name is saying, he is intent on calling it a “Full Auto”. If he would research it and know what he’s talking about, it isn’t a full auto. It fires one time with each pull of the trigger, it just helps you do at a faster rate. If you are going to sit and bitch about things, at least get it right. It was supposed to help people that had dexterity problems be able to be able to shoot. It just helps people without the problems do it faster. It is still shooting in a semi-auto mode. At least try to get it right. That is why the ATF approved it. All of the devices mentioned in theses people are bitching about still have the gun shooting in semi-auto mode, just at a higher rate. The problem you run into with them is the same as any rapid fire weapon, the faster you shoot, the more muzzle climb you get, the more inaccurate you become. So please, at least get things right.

  • mike October 20, 2017, 8:10 am

    MA thinks they are so much smarter than the rest of the USA. we’re going to ban this, ban that, they think the rest of the states will follow their lead, but truth is the rest of the country is laughing at the fools in MA……If we all followed MA then Hillary would be President! FU MA FU maura healey, FU hillary clinton

  • Rick October 20, 2017, 8:05 am

    Whew! I’m glad that I got out of the People’s Republik.

  • Infidel762x51 October 20, 2017, 8:01 am

    MA, once home to freedom, now home to communism.

  • Walt Blackstock October 20, 2017, 7:46 am

    After reading all the comments here concerning bumpstops I failed to see anything that gave a logical argument. Regulation? The rifle is regulated. Take all the guns away and we will blow each other up with bombs. People have been killing each other long before the gun was invented. I happen to like the shooting sport. I also happen to like using my bumpstop on occasion at my local range. I prefer handguns because there is more of a challenge. Crazy gun nut? Nope but I am a retired LEO.
    Show me a solution that works and I will go along but blow smoke on something you have no clue about? I am out.

  • Tj October 20, 2017, 6:58 am

    Ban bump stocks because someone used them to kill people ? How stupid is that ? everyone who’s ever killed someone else did it with their mind controlling their trigger finger ! Why don’t we just ban trigger fingers ? Or how just banning feet ! So we can’t walk anywhere in the first place. That will stop random assholes for sure. Just ban feet , legs and trigger fingers ! That will do it ! You go Massachusetts ! Lead the way ! Oh yeah you banned feet so guess we can’t follow.

  • frank October 20, 2017, 6:26 am

    This is why I don’t reside in a socialist state.

    • Mike October 20, 2017, 8:33 am

      Sorry Frank but that’s the wrong idea. If people just move around because they don’t like the laws their state passes, then eventually a majority of states will drive federal law.
      One needs to get involved with their current community and make a change!
      I am hoping CT will become a RED state again. But if I move out, then the democrats have one less conservative voice to deal with.
      Soon my state will be done with Gov Malloy, who like Obama has sent us into too much debt. Next to go will be Esty, Murphy, Blumenthal. Do nothing blow-hards.

  • Rich October 20, 2017, 5:00 am

    Utterly unenforceable. With the advent of 3D printing, it is possible to print a bump-fire stock, standard capacity magazines (as opposed to “compliance magazines” which hold 10 rounds or less – those are “reduced capacity”, just like a liberal gun-grabber’s so-called “mind”). Just look up “FossCAD Mega Pack” and you’ll see. Ban 3D printers? It’s easy for anyone with technical savvy to build one from scratch. Prohibit the downloading and possession of 3D images that allow the printing of anything gun related? again, you might catch a few people, but the information is already out there. You can’t stop crime by banning a thing. The government tried that in the 1920’s with Prohibition – they even made it a Constitutional amendment. It only ended up CAUSING more crime than it ever prevented. As for the idiots who think our gun laws should get in line with the “rest of the civilized world”…yeah, right. Ask the victims of the mass shootings in France how well that worked. For that matter, you don’t even NEED a gun to cause mass carnage – terrorists are using vehicles to ram into crowds now. China, which has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, has mass knifings instead of mass shootings. In fact, on the same day that nutjob shot up the theater in Aurora, CO, a Chinese lunatic killed only two fewer people in a crowd just using a knife. You can’t stop the lawless, by punishing and restricting the law-abiding, because the law-abiding by nature are the only ones who will… well… abide by the laws in the first place!

  • 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.

    • cawpin October 20, 2017, 3:14 am

      I sincerely hope you’re being sarcastic.

    • Jsk October 20, 2017, 3:18 am

      Looks like the anti groups are out in full force hitting the gun blogs. Go troll elsewhere losers!

      • ron October 20, 2017, 7:02 am

        Trolls are a little unusual on here. I think this is the first time I have seen mindless gun-grabbers posting their drivel on this site….

    • Mike V October 20, 2017, 5:09 am

      How many crimes committed using a bump stock in the history of bump stocks?
      Why are you here? There is literally nothing in your proposals that would indicate either a firearms user or supporter of the 2nd amendment.

    • Not a sheep October 20, 2017, 5:18 am

      registration leads to confiscation. Worked out so well for the jews, russians, Armenians… etc. How the heck are you going to ban 3d printers. You can get the same effect with a wood dowel no need for a bump stock.

    • Topol October 20, 2017, 5:47 am

      Blue dog, I’m going to say this once. Go kill yourself so that you do not contaminate the gene-pool.

  • 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.

    • Jsk October 20, 2017, 3:14 am

      Your lying, you are not a gun owner, go troll elswhere loser.

    • Mike V October 20, 2017, 5:16 am

      Really? I’ll concede my rights when the government concedes theirs…

      • Dp October 20, 2017, 8:35 am

        I’ve got to agree there, it sounds like a good bumper sticker too ! I read in the Boston paper today that they are seeking Life in prison for owning a bump stock. They just can’t stop themselves. Our legislators are 90% Democrat, enough said. Until I knew, I didn’t know you can purchase full auto in NV. Buying them is pretty expensive, but it seems the shooter had the money if he chose to do so.

        As soon as I heard the audio, my first response was they finally did it, some sick asshole got ahold of an automatic weapon and did The unthinkable. Then, I wondered why it hadn’t happened before. The devastation was lower than it could have been. It made me sick. When I found out later it was a bump stock I was amazed that it worked and sounded like a military AR. The results were about what we would expect.

        There are legal ways to own an FFL to obtain the weapons even in my state. We may have been about to about to approve sale of the bump stocks, but I still think you had to pay the tax stamp. I never would have gotten one, I don’t have the money nor the need to throw that much lead down range. But if you really wanted to have a weapon that would, and didn’t have the money or the knowledge of how a seer can be manipulated, it isn’t that hard. I know my range wouldn’t allow it, and not any others that would either, legal or not. What it would do is put you on a map even if just word of mouth was the source. I don’t want to be that popular.

        I believe it was JFK that said something like, ‘all somebody has to do is have the desire to trade their life for mine’ in referring to being assasinated. If somebody has the will and desire to die to commit an act of mass killing via an automatic or bump or whatever means, we all know the legal aspect isn’t a deterrent in that decision. So, to get an FFL and to purchase an automatic weapon in this state, you are going to spend in to the five figure range to do so and be on way too many government lists and files as such. The bump stock let’s you avoid that issue and expense. I believe we are going to start seeing incidents a lot more now involving them. Even if they were banned, where there’s a will there’s a way. A law or a ban will simply make people stealthy enough to get the stock. As I remember being told, ‘just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should’. Apply that in your life on any subject and you’ll see the wisdom.

        Any responsible experienced gunner knows, a rifle is not a good choice for home defense. If that’s all you own, well then it’s a great choice. Adding a bump stock will not better your chances of self defense. Knowing how to use your own weapon, and practice will. I can’t allow myself to say the word ‘ban’, but I honestly don’t think there is a place for these in the hands of your regular shooting practice. I’m sorry brothers, I gotta say I’m on the negative side of this product. Be safe, be ready.

        • Phil October 20, 2017, 1:35 pm

          The problem with what you’re saying is that it’s never enough for them to just go after bump stocks. Read House Bill 3999 and see how vaguely worded it is. Bump fire stocks are not even mentioned by name. They aim to take a lot more away from us with this legislation.

    • Phil October 20, 2017, 1:41 pm

      I hear what you’re saying. The problem is you’re taking what Curbelo and a bunch of democrats say at face value. Politicians don’t say what they mean.

      They are not just going after bump stocks. Read House Bill 3999 and see how vaguely written it is. Bump fire stocks aren’t even mentioned. It will allow them to go after you for putting a match trigger, low mass bolt carrier, muzzle brake etc on your AR-15 because “increased rate of fire” is subjective. What is the cyclic rate of a semi-auto rifle? The truthful answer is there is none.

  • 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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