Connecticut proposes “bump stock” ban as first legislative proposal of 2018


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Governor Dannel Malloy wants to make banning “bump stocks” the first order of business in the 2018 General Assembly Session. The Governor’s proposal would make the sale or possession of these devices a class D felony, a very serious crime.

The inexpensive attachment can make a semi automatic rifle perform like a rapid fire machine gun.  A similar device was used by the Las Vegas country music festival shooter last October that allowed him to fire 1,100 shots in just eleven minutes, killing 58 and injuring over 500 others.

“Simply put, these devices are cheap, they are deadly and they are completely an utterly unnecessary in our society,” said Governor Malloy.

The Governor is asking the legislature to ban the sale and possession of “bump stocks” and any similar devices. Seven states, including Massachusetts have already done so. The New Jersey legislature passed a similar ban yesterday.  Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance attended the Governor announcement today and added,  “If congress is not going to act, then certainly the states can and Connecticut has lead on the issue of gun violence prevention and we continue to do so.”

But the head of the state’s largest gun owner rights organization, the Connecticut Citizens Defense League,  has a different take on this. CCDL President Scott Wilsonsaying, “It is key that the public be aware the legislation proposed today is simply feel good in nature. The devices in question are not needed to replicate the rapid rate of fire.”

It’s a view shared by some waiting in line today to renew their gun permits like David Lee of Windsor who said, “People could jerry rig stuff like that out of nothing.”

Lee said you don’t need a bump stock to make devices fire more rapidly, but he said, “It makes people feel safer if he does ban it.”

The federal government has determined that the bump stock is legal under federal law.

At a news conference Tuesday, Malloy pointed out to Connecticut’s leadership in the fight against gun violence.

“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.”

Research has apparently confirmed that the Connecticut gun law passed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shooting does not cover this device.

“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.”

Massachusetts and California have already banned “bump stocks.” Under the Connecticut proposal, possession, and sale of rate of fire enhancements, including bump stocks, binary trigger systems and trigger cranks will result in a Class D felony. Permit holders who possess fire rate enhancements prior to July 1, 2020 will receive an infraction and be fined $90 for their first offense, and shall be charged with a Class D felony for any subsequent offense.

According to a news release from Governor Malloy’s office, the proposed legislation defines a “rate of fire enhancement” 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.

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