Connecticut’s governor says his top legislative priority for 2018 will be to tighten the state’s gun laws, outlawing bump stocks and other weapons modifiers.
Bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic weapons to fire faster, hit the headlines after the massacre in Las Vegas last October. The gunman, Stephen Paddock, killed 58 people and injured more than 500 in just 11 minutes using such a device.
It made the Las Vegas shooting the deadliest in U.S. history.
In a press conference Tuesday, Governor Dannel Malloy noted the use of a bump stock allowed Paddock to fire 90 rounds every 10 seconds.
“While bump stocks don’t change the mechanics of the weapon they are attached to, they increase the rate of fire to machine gun-like speeds,” he said. “Simply put, these devices are cheap, they are deadly and they are completely and utterly unnecessary in our society.”
Malloy’s proposed bill would make possession or sale of such a device a Class D felony in Connecticut, carrying the threat of a five-year prison term. It would also encompass binary trigger systems and trigger cranks.
The penalties would be phased in. Permit holders who possess fire rate enhancements prior to July 1, 2020 would receive an infraction and be fined $90 for their first offense.
Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance said it’s now up to states to take action on the devices.
Massachusetts passed a bump stock ban shortly after the Las Vegas massacre, and New Jersey’s legislature sent a bill banning the devices to Governor Chris Christie’s desk just this week.
“We should be able to go to schools, concerts, movies, malls, and churches without the threat of getting gunned down brutally and senselessly by weapons of war,” said Murray. “Until Congress acts, states must pass a ban on these dangerous accessories.”
In the wake of the Las Vegas attack, there seemed to be bipartisan support for a bump stock ban at the federal level, but so far no legislation has passed.