Low turnout at hearing on bump stock ban

Legislation comes in the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history

FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2017, file photo, shooting instructor Frankie McRae demonstrates the grip on an AR-15 rifle fitted with a "bump stock" at his 37 PSR Gun Club in Bunnlevel, N.C. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed the lawsuit on Friday, Oct. 6, 2017, against the makers and sellers of “bump stocks,” which use the recoil of a semiautomatic rifle to let the finger "bump" the trigger, allowing the weapon to fire continuously. The devices were used by Stephen Paddock when he opened fire on a country music festival in Las Vegas, killing dozens of people. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)

BOSTON (WWLP)—Lawmakers held an “informational” hearing at the State House on proposals to ban bump stocks, hoping to give the public a chance to comment on the issue and help settle language differences between the House and Senate proposals. But no members of the public participated.

The only person to testify was State Representative Donnie Berthiaume (R-Spencer). He wants the proposed law to be clear.

“It can’t be vague. The ambiguity is-that was the issue everybody I talked to had and that’s the reason I voted against the House language,” Berthiaume said.

The legislation comes in the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history where 58 people were murdered and about 500 wounded in a shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas earlier this month. Massachusetts lawmakers are moving quickly to pass legislation to ban bump stocks—a device found on 12 weapons the shooter had.

“The bump stock greatly increased the shooter’s rate of fire and contributed to the deadliness of the attack,” State Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury) said.

Executive Director Jim Wallace of the Gun Owners’ Action League chose not to testify because he said there’s no sense in testifying for something that’s already happened.

“We have one choice which is the House bill that’ll actually put people in prison for cleaning their gun or we have language from the Senate that’s very concise and clear,” Wallace said.

The House and Senate voted to approve proposals last week before holding a hearing. They must compromise on a final proposal before it goes to the Governor.