Massachusetts Legislature Bans Bump Stocks, Sends Supplemental Budget to Governor Baker’s Desk

Supplemental Budget for FY17 also includes state funding increase for Cape Tech Building Project

Last night, the Massachusetts Legislature became the first state in the nation to ban bump stocks, devices used to turn ordinary rifles into automatic weapons. The ban on bump stocks was included in a budget deal reached between the House and Senate that includes more than $129.3 million in spending, including language to increase the state’s contribution to the building of a new facility for Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, increasing the state’s contribution to the project by $5.3 million. The additional contribution from the state will save Cape taxpayers nearly $10 million when taking into account the interest that would accrue to the towns. A district wide election on October 24th overwhelmingly approved the building project.

“Bump stocks and trigger cranks effectively change the nature of a semi-automatic weapon to make it into a machine gun.  There is no legitimate purpose for the use, sale, and possession of these devices other than to cause as much damage as possible,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).  “Taking this action today protects public safety, provides ample time for residents to comply, and establishes sufficient penalties for violations.”

“Today Massachusetts became the first state in the nation whose Legislature has banned the sale and use of bump stocks,” said Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “These devices should not have been legal in the first place. I am proud of the bipartisan conversations that the Senate led to ensure today’s action is responsible and does not reap any unintended consequences.”

“The Senate’s bipartisan action means that those who are not appropriately licensed to possess devices that are in effect approximating a machine gun will be in violation of our state’s comprehensive firearms laws," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

The final bill sent to Governor Baker’s desk bans the ownership of bump stocks and trigger cranks, with no exceptions for police trainers or collectors. The ban on bump stocks and trigger cranks was narrowed from the original House proposal, which sought to ban any device that could increase a weapon’s rate of fire.

Bump stocks use the recoil power of a weapon to effectively increase the rate of fire to make the gun a fully automatic assault weapon, which have been illegal in Massachusetts since 1994. On Sunday October 1, fifty-eight people were murdered and hundreds injured by alleged killer Stephen Paddock at a Las Vegas country music festival.  Law enforcement found multiple bump stocks and trigger cranks in Paddock’s hotel room where the shooting originated.

The supplemental budget also includes money to cover accrued costs for snow and ice removal last winter, as well as additional spending for sheriffs, district attorneys National Guard tuition reimbursements and other items.

Governor Baker is on vacation until Monday, but Lt. Governor Karyn Polito has said she is prepared to sign the bill in her capacity as acting governor once the Legislature finalizes it, and if the administration has no objections. 

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