Ortiz wants to ban ‘bump stocks’ in New York; says device makes rifles ‘like machine guns’
Gun Modification Used by Las Vegas Killer
Most people didn’t even know what “bump stocks” were before a gunman killed 58 people in Las Vegas in October of last year.
Now, legislation to ban the firearm attachment, backed by Assistant Speaker Felix Ortiz (Red Hook, Sunset Park), is moving through the New York state Assembly and Senate.
Bump stocks attach to semi-automatic rifles and accelerate their firing rate, simulating an automatic firearm. Multiple bump stocks were discovered mounted on guns owned by Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock. According to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the conversion allowed his guns to fire at the rate of 9 shots per second.
After the mass shooting, many people, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, said they believed bump stocks were already illegal in New York. But this was not the case. It turns out that while using a bump stock is illegal in New York, owning or selling one is not. The proposed amendment would close this loophole, prohibiting the “possession, manufacture, transport or shipment and sale” of bump stocks.
“We have seen the devastating impact of these devices and too many deaths in mass shootings,” Ortiz said in a statement on Friday, adding, “The possession of machine guns by civilians has been prohibited in the United States for close to a century. There is no legitimate reason for any person to possess the functional equivalent of a machine gun.”
State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie called for a ban in January. New York State Rifle and Pistol Association President Tom King, however, came out against Heastie’s proposal.
According to the Daily News, King, an NRA board member, said, “This is the usual knee-jerk response.”
The Brooklyn Eagle has reached out to NRA for official comment but has not receive a response at this time.
New York is not the first state to seek to outlaw bump stocks. Before leaving office in January, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill making it a crime to possess a bump stock (even if the owner is not in possession of an actual gun). The legislation cited the Las Vegas shooting.
Bump stocks are also banned in California and Massachusetts. In addition, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has called for a ban on the devises. A move to ban the modification has stalled in the U.S. Congress.
How it works: According to Giffords Law Center, a bump stock allows the weapon to slide (or “bump”) back and forth very rapidly between the shooter’s shoulder and trigger finger. The bump stock harnesses the weapon’s recoil, causing its trigger to be engaged many times faster than a human could otherwise fire.
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