Martin M. Looney

Senate President Pro Tempore

Martin M. Looney

An Advocate for Us

May 8, 2018

Senate Democrats Lead Passage of Bill Banning Bump Stocks

Rapid-fire devices can turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic machine guns

HARTFORD, CT – Democrats in the State Senate today led passage of critical public safety legislation banning bump stocks which can turn semi-automatic weapons into automatic weapons. Bump stocks are devices that transform the firing mechanism of a semi-automatic weapon into a weapon that fires like a fully automatic weapon; a bump stock was used in the Las Vegas shooting, where the shooter was able to fire an estimated 90 shots in 10 seconds. It also makes the weapon less accurate.

“Semi-automatic weapons with a bump stock device have been used in a mass shooting where clearly accuracy was not an important criterion to the shooter,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven). “There is no legitimate reason why bump stocks should be owned or sold in our state. They have no legitimate use in civilian life.”

“Bump stocks and other rapid fire devices transform an already lethal weapon into a killing machine suitable for the battlefield,” said Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff (D-Norwalk). “The mass shooting in Las Vegas demonstrated the kind of extreme threat to public safety bump stocks and rapid fire devices pose. Today, the Connecticut Senate passed this common-sense gun safety reform.”

“This bump stock ban is probably the most obvious piece of legislation at the State Capitol this year to ensure the health and safety of the Connecticut public,” said Senator Beth Bye (D-West Hartford). “The ban has received wide, bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans on the Judiciary Committee and in the House of Representatives, which I believe speaks to the common-sense nature of the bill. And more than 80 percent of Americans support banning bump stocks. So obviously the overwhelming opinion of Democrats, Republicans and Americans is that we in the Connecticut legislature made the right decision this evening.”

“In our society, I don’t see the need to turn any semiautomatic weapon into a machine gun,” said Senator Carlo Leone (D-Stamford). “Even the president and his attorney general believe bump stocks should be banned.”

“Bump stocks are unnecessary, they’re dangerous, and there’s no better evidence of that than the massacre of 58 people in Las Vegas late last year,” said Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester). “And no one that I’ve spoken to in the ensuing months has been able to articulate to me any reason why bump stocks should be allowed in Connecticut.”

“Banning these bump stocks will move us closer to making our state a safe place where people want to raise their children,” Senator Marilyn Moore (D-Bridgeport) said. “In the 22nd Senatorial District, we felt the pain of our neighbors in Newtown in 2012, and we know the damage that can be done using these automatic-style weapons. It’s harmful to families and the communities they live in.”

“Too many lives across the country, including the 58 lives in the tragic Las Vegas shooting, have been lost to these types of weapons,” said Senator Ed Gomes (D-Bridgeport). “These bump stocks, which make it easier to fire rounds quickly from a semi-automatic weapon, have no place in our society. Banning them is the right thing to do to make our communities safer.”

“The Vegas shooter left 58 people dead and was also able to injure hundreds more just by tacking on one of these bump stocks to his weapon,” said Senator Gary Winfield (D-New Haven). “No average citizen should be able to walk around our communities with that kind of ammunition.”

“These bump stocks allow regular firearms to mimic automatic fire which means that once that trigger is pulled and held, that weapon will fire on, and on, and on, and on, and on until the trigger is released or it runs out of ammunition,” said Senator Tim Larson (D-East Hartford). “This serves no purpose for hunting or protection and should be banned in order to make our communities safer.”

“I believe that we don’t need bump stocks in our society. They are a huge threat to our children, parents, and the citizens of Connecticut,” said Sen. Gayle Slossberg (D-Milford). “I am so proud to stand with my fellow Democrats and vote to ban bump stocks in Connecticut.”

HB 5542, An Act Concerning Bump Stocks and Other Means of Enhancing the Rate of Fire of a Firearm, generally makes it a class D felony for anyone, except a licensed firearms manufacturer fulfilling a military contract, to sell, offer to sell, otherwise transfer, or offer to transfer, purchase, possess, use, or manufacture a “rate of fire enhancement” (e.g., a bump stock). By law, a class D felony is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine up to $5,000, or both.

Massachusetts, California, Washington, Vermont, New Jersey, and Florida have already passed laws banning bump stocks and other rapid-fire devices.