Las Vegas Shooter Used Device to Allow Semi-Automatic Weapon to Function As Machine Gun
(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano, Sheila Oliver, Speaker Vincent Prieto, Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald, Eric Houghtaling, Joann Downey and Joseph Lagana to prohibit the sale and possession of a firearm accessory used in the massacre in Las Vegas was released Thursday by an Assembly panel.
The bill would amend state law regarding destructive devices – a list that already includes sawed-off shotguns and silencers – to make the sale or possession of “bump stocks” a third-degree criminal offense in New Jersey. The bill also clarifies that a firearm affixed with a bump stock constitutes an assault weapon and a firearm affixed with a trigger crank constitutes a machine gun.
Under the bill, individuals would be able to voluntarily surrender any bump stock or trigger crank in their possession to a law enforcement agency within 90 days of the bill’s effective date. Licensed manufacturers and retailers would have 30 days to voluntarily surrender these items.
“A bump stock makes it possible for a shooter to maximize the death toll in a massacre, a fact that became painfully clear in Las Vegas last month,” said Quijano (D-Union), chair of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. “Taking these products off the market in New Jersey is about keeping communities across our state safe.”
“As our nation mourns the senseless murder of dozens and prays for the recovery of those injured, we have a collective responsibility to seek ways to ensure that an attack of this magnitude never happens again,” said Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic). “No one should be able to, with mere clicks of a mouse and a few hundred dollars, access a device that facilitates the kind of mass violence America witnessed this week. Banning bump stocks is a common-sense step toward a safer New Jersey.”
“It doesn’t take much to see the connection between the availability of technology that makes mass murder possible and the tragic pattern of mass murder in the United States,” said Prieto (D-Bergen/Hudson). “The broad support for the nation’s automatic weapons ban is rooted in the understanding that we’re not just dealing with muskets and fowlers anymore. The American people recognize that military-style weapons have no place on our streets, and neither does a device capable of transforming any firearm into one.”
“Our nation is in the midst of a gun violence epidemic. Last month, we got 59 tragic reminders that gun policy goes beyond abstract discussion. Lives are at stake,” said Greenwald (D-Camden/Burlington). “With this simple, sensible change to the law, we can prevent the kind of suffering families in Las Vegas and so many other cities throughout America are experiencing today.”
“Bump stocks essentially turn a legal firearm into an illegal firearm,” said Houghtaling (D-Monmouth). “Amending the law to ban them simply would close a loophole that endangers the people of New Jersey.”
“When fully automatic weapons have been banned for decades, it follows that a device used to inflict the same degree of bloodshed also should be off the market,” said Downey (D-Monmouth). “This is sensible action that will rectify an oversight in the law and save lives.”
“As a gun owner, I’m in full support of the right to own a firearm, but I’m also in full support of practical steps toward safer communities,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “In the same way that fully automatic weapons are banned, bump stocks – which allow firearms to function as fully automatic weapons – must be banned as well.”
The bill was advanced by the Assembly Law & Public Safety Committee.