Rhode Island, Connecticut Are Latest States to Take Action Against Bump Stocks
Local and state lawmakers aren’t holding their breath waiting for the federal government to take action on guns.
Several cities and states have taken matters into their own hands since the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, from raising the age limit for owning guns, banning bump stocks or increasing gun restrictions for people convicted of domestic abuse.
Here are some highlights:
Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy signed a bill in May that bans bump stocks as well as other firearm enhancements.
“There is no reason why anyone needs to own a device that can fire 90 bullets every 10 seconds but for the mass killing of people,” the governor said in a statement.
Connecticut, a largely Democratic state, has been one of the leaders in gun control legislation since the 2012 shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Officials in Deerfield, Illinois, passed an ordinance that not only bans assault weapons, but will penalize residents who don’t forfeit or secure weapons that fall under the ban by June 13.
They could be charged from $200 to $1,000 a day as a penalty, according to the new rule in the Chicago suburb that passed April 2. The ordinance makes specific reference to recent mass shootings in Parkland, Florida; Las Vegas; and Sutherland Springs, Texas. And it passed with the aim of increasing the “public’s sense of safety.”
But gun advocates call the measure “draconian” and groups have filed a lawsuit against it.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill named after Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in March that tightens gun control in several ways and also includes a provision that would allow some teachers to be armed. It raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, required a three-day waiting period for firearm purchases and banned the sale or possession of bump fire stocks.
The National Rifle Association immediately filed a federal lawsuit against Florida, saying the age-minimum section of the law violates the Second and 14th amendments of the US Constitution.
The new law also allows law enforcement officers to ask the court to temporarily prohibit someone from possessing or buying firearms.
The Lincoln City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance to ban bump stocks in March, reported CNN affiliate KOLN.
The ordinance bans the sale and ownership of the gun accessory that makes it easier to fire rounds quickly from a semi-automatic weapon, mimicking automatic fire. The device was used by the gunman in Las Vegas who killed 58 people, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed an executive order on April 6 calling for key information related to gun offenses to be made available to the public.
The state will issue quarterly reports on where guns used in crimes had come from, identifying their state of origin. More than 80% of the guns used in crimes committed in New Jersey come from outside the state, according to the New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General.
Murphy said in a statement the new tool “will allow residents to see how gun violence impacts their communities and gain a fuller understanding of how firearms are trafficked into New Jersey from other states.”
The New Jersey State Police will release monthly reports on gun crimes, including the offense committed, the type of gun used, number of people shot and where it happened.
New Jersey is ranked second as having the strongest gun laws in the United States by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. California ranked first.
People convicted of domestic abuse in New York will now have to turn over all firearms, not just handguns. A news release from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in March said the legislation amends state law passed after the Sandy Hook killings that previously prohibited domestic abusers from owning pistols and revolvers.
The changes in the law included adding a list of serious misdemeanors.
Cuomo said the state wants its laws to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill in March to prevent convicted stalkers and domestic violence offenders from buying and keeping guns. The law is intended to close what was known as the “boyfriend loophole” in the state’s gun law that had allowed convicted domestic abusers and stalkers to buy firearms if they weren’t married to the victim. The law expands that to intimate partners, according to CNN affiliate KOIN.
State lawmakers on Thursday passed two bills — one banning bump stocks and “other rapid-fire gun modifications,” and one creating a statewide “red flag” policy aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of people who could pose a danger to themselves and others. Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed the bills Friday.
Weeks after the massacre at the Parkland high school, Raimondo had signed an executive order in February, creating a statewide “red flag” policy to keep guns out of the hands of people who could pose a danger to themselves and others.
The red-flag bill allows police to ask a court for an “extreme risk protection order,” which would temporarily prohibit someone from having or buying firearms. Police would make this request if they see “red flags” such as recent threats of violence, including those made in person or on social media.
Raimondo is part of a coalition to combat gun violence that was formed by four Democratic governors from the Northeast in February in the aftermath of the Parkland shooting.
Vermont Gov. Phil Scott signed sweeping gun control measures that ban bump stocks, limit rifle magazines to 10 rounds, require all gun transactions to be facilitated by a licensed dealer and raise the purchase age to 21.
Residents will be permitted to keep larger-capacity magazines they already own.
Scott, a Republican who called himself a Second Amendment supporter, signed the bill in April.
The legislation makes exceptions for law enforcement and the military and those who have taken gun safety courses. The bill was opposed by gun rights supporters who held a large protest in Montpelier in early April in which they handed out free rifle magazines, capable of holding 30 rounds of ammunition.
Bump stocks will be illegal in Washington state, starting July 2019. From that date, police will be able to seize them.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill in March making it a crime to manufacture or sell the device starting this July. A year later, it will be illegal to buy, own, furnish, assemble, repair, loan, transport or possess bump stocks in the state. The Washington State Patrol is creating a bump stock buyback program for $150 per device.
Meanwhile, on the federal level…
- In March, Congress passed a $1.3 trillion spending package that includes a bill that incentivizes state and federal authorities to report more data to the country’s gun background check system.
- President Donald Trump announced in March that his administration will issue a rule banning bump stocks. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Justice Department would clarify rules that define bump stocks within the definition of “machine gun” under federal law, a move that would ban the sale of such accessories. The public comment period is open until June 27.