Malloy signs bump stock ban into law
HARTFORD - Surrounded by gun control supporters and high school students, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday officially signed a new law banning bump stocks and other devices that increase how fast a gun can fire.
"This legislation was the result of a shooting in Las Vegas where bullets were raining down on concert goers," Malloy said, referring to the October 2017 shooting at a Las Vegas concert that left 58 people dead and more than 800 injured.
"It focuses again on the issue of weapons of mass destruction being owned and operated by a citizenry that was never considered at the time the Second Amendment was added to the Constitution," Malloy said.
The Las Vegas shooter used bump stocks to modify various semi-automatic rifles so they could fire 90 bullets every 10 seconds. The devices use the recoil of the gun to increase the rate of fire.
The bill, passed by bipartisan majorities in the state House and Senate, bans possession of bump stocks and other trigger enhancement devices after Oct. 1. Anyone found with a prohibited device would be guilty of a Class D felony.
Gun owners with a gun permit would be guilty of a Class D misdemeanor for a first offense until July 1, 2019 and a Class D felony in the following years.
Similar bump stock bans have already been approved in Massachusetts, California, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Washington, Hawaii and Florida.
The bill signing ceremony was held at a library at Bulkeley High School in Hartford, where students — along with thousands of others across the state and nation — recently walked out of class in support of gun control following the Parkland, Florida high school shooting that left 17 students and adults dead.
"Student voices are important and powerful," said Jasmine Lall, a Bulkeley student. "This bill is one example of how powerful student voices can be. Our voices are the voices of a generation excited for change."
Tom Campbell, who serves on the board of the Newtown Action Alliance, said federal lawmakers must also pass gun control measures, including a national bump stock ban.
"While the feds are still fiddling with a procedural review of bump stocks through the [federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms], our people in Hartford — both chambers and the governor’s office — got to work and put these things on the Big No list. Bravo."
Some speakers noted state lawmakers next year will try to ban ghost guns, which are gun kits that buyers assemble. The weapons carry no serial numbers that can be used to track the weapons.
During the legislative debate a few weeks ago, opponents of the bump stock ban noted prohibiting the devices will do nothing to decrease violence and only infringes on the right of law abiding citizens to enhance their weapons for a variety of uses, including shooting competitions and other sporting events.