Massachusetts lawmakers moving forward quickly with legislation to ban bump stocks

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013, file photo, an employee of North Raleigh Guns demonstrates how a "bump" stock works at the Raleigh, N.C., shop. The gunman who unleashed hundreds of rounds of gunfire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas on Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, attached what is called a "bump-stock" to two of his weapons, in effect converting semiautomatic firearms into fully automatic ones. (AP Photo/Allen Breed, File)

BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are taking steps to update the state’s gun laws.

Massachusetts lawmakers are working quickly to pass legislation that would ban bump stocks, a device found on 12 weapons the Las Vegas shooting shooter had. Supporters say the move could help save lives.

Nearly 60 people killed and about 500 injured in Las Vegas earlier this month in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. Responding to the incident, Massachusetts lawmakers are moving forward with legislation that would ban bump stocks, a device for a semiautomatic firearm that increases its rate of fire.

State Senator Eric Lesser, (D) Longmeadow, told 22News, “It’s frankly a loophole around the assault weapons ban that allows people to legally manipulate weapons so that they can be turned into automatic weapons.”

The Senate voted 33-0 Thursday in favor of a proposal that would make it illegal to purchase or sell a bump stock or trigger crank. Some lawmakers say lives may have been saved if the device was not available to the Las Vegas shooter. Other lawmakers are concerned the legislature may be rushing the bill, having voted on it without holding a public hearing.

“I think that it’s most important that we take it up and that we take it up immediately and that again, we show that Massachusetts is the number one country in the state when it comes to battling gun violence,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo.

The House overwhelmingly approved a similar proposal in a 151 to 3 vote Wednesday.

State Representative John Velis told 22News, “Absolutely though it should be banned, but we need to be very careful about making sure that we don’t penalize other things. The harsh reality of it is that you could have had all the laws on the books, none of them would have stopped what happened in Las Vegas.”

The House and Senate must come up with a compromised version of the proposal before it can get sent to the Governor. It needs his signature to become law.

Governor Baker would sign ban on bump stocks