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Cities and states take the lead on banning bump stocks

Posted: Feb 05, 2018 1:46 AM EST     Updated: Feb 05, 2018 12:19 PM EST

Naples Gun Shop & School - Cities and states take the lead on banning bump stocks

By LISA MARIE PANE
Associated Press

In the immediate aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, there was a fevered pitch to ban bump stocks, the device that allowed the shooter's semi-automatic rifles to mimic the rapid fire of machine guns.

With that push stalled at the federal level, a handful of states and some cities are moving ahead with bans of their own.

Massachusetts and New Jersey - two states led by Republican governors - as well as the cities of Denver and Columbia, South Carolina, have enacted laws prohibiting the sale and possession of the devices, which were attached to a half-dozen of the long guns found in the hotel room of the Las Vegas shooter who in October killed 58 people and injured hundreds more attending a nearby outdoor concert. A little over a dozen other states are also considering bans on bump stocks.

Gun-control advocates say the push fits a pattern in gun politics: inaction in Washington that forces states to take the lead. Gun-rights advocates call it a knee-jerk reaction that will do little to stop bad guys from killing, and vow a legal challenge.

For Zach Elmore, the issue is deeply personal. His sister among those wounded in the Las Vegas attack. He finds hope in the statewide and local efforts to ban bump stocks.

"Hopefully it's the start of a big movement versus just a flash in the pan," Elmore said. "Obviously you cannot legislate (against) evil, but you can legislate the things with which bad people will use to perpetrate evil."

The devices were originally intended to help people with disabilities and were little known and little sold until the Las Vegas shooting. They fit over the stock and pistol grip of a semi-automatic rifle and allow the weapon to fire rapidly, some 400 to 800 rounds per minute, mimicking a fully automatic firearm.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives reviewed the devices and approved them in 2010, ruling they did not amount to machine guns that are regulated under the National Firearms Act that dates to the 1930s.

Richard Vasquez was assistant chief of the ATF's technology bureau and led the review of bump stocks. He stands by the agency's 2010 ruling, which relied on a key difference between semi-automatic and fully automatic firearms: While semi-automatic firearms require a separate and independent pull of the trigger to fire a bullet, fully automatic firearms can fire multiple rounds with a single trigger pull. ATF determined bump stocks didn't convert a semi-automatic firearm into one that is fully auto.

"It's a proper determination. Everybody wants to jump the gun and say that ATF made a mistake," said Vasquez, who left the agency in 2014. "ATF didn't make a mistake."

The federal agency is reviewing its ruling, something Vasquez and others caution is a dangerous move without Congress first changing the law to specifically make such devices illegal.

"If ATF is allowed to write a regulation to change the definition of this device, instead of a law, it's going to give all government agencies authority to change their regulations, which could affect us in a wide variety of ways," Vasquez warned.

Legislation in Congress has remained in limbo despite early signs from a bipartisan mix of lawmakers and advocates who voiced alarm that such a device was deemed legal and on the market. Even the National Rifle Association sounded open to great regulation of bump stocks.

Joyce Malcolm, a professor at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia School of Law, said the bans likely would withstand a legal challenge, but she wonders about more practical matters: How might they be enforced?

"I don't see a real constitutional issue. I just wonder about actually getting these devices out of circulation for people who already have them," she said.

It's not known how many of the devices are in circulation. At the time of the Las Vegas shooting, gun dealers said they rarely had customers wanting to buy one - but then couldn't keep up with the demand in the days and months afterward. The leading manufacturer of bump stocks, Texas-based Slide Fire Solutions, briefly stopped selling them, posting a notice on its website that it had suspended sales to keep up with demand. It has since resumed sales.

Massachusetts, which has some of the nation's strictest gun laws, enacted its ban a month after the Las Vegas shooting, pushed through a Democratic-controlled Legislature and signed into law by a Republican lieutenant governor. New Jersey followed suit last month with a measure signed into law by outgoing Republican Gov. Chris Christie. About a dozen other states are considering similar bills.

"This is a very familiar story. The Congress cowers in the face of the NRA, and the states act," said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, which advocates for tougher gun laws.

Connecticut, home to some of the world's most legendary gun makers, is among the other states considering bans.

Rep. William Tong, a Democrat and House chairman of the Connecticut Legislature's Judiciary Committee, called it a commonsense measure that puts public safety first.

"The federal government has demonstrated that, given the composition of the Congress right now, it's not possible to pass commonsense gun laws," he said. "Connecticut can't wait."

Gun-rights advocates say the efforts undermine the Second Amendment and will do little to stop criminals.

"Anti-gun Democrats love to ban things. That is their answer," said Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who added bump stocks have rarely, if ever, been used in a crime before the Las Vegas shooting. "This is their chance to say, 'Hey, we're doing something. Look at us. We're doing something.' It's not going to do anything."

___

Follow Lisa Marie Pane at http://twitter.com/lisamariepane

Source: http://www.nbc-2.com/story/37425654/cities-and-states-take-the-lead-on-banning-bump-stocks

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Naples Gun School - 5 stars I am an attorney from New York and currently residing in Florida. I have no experience with guns and never thought of owning one. Nevertheless, I wanted to understand gun culture and gun issues in Florida especially now that I am a permanent Florida resident. David Rich's class was extremely informative and David clearly demonstrated not only his knowledge of guns and gun safety but more importantly for me, he provided the legal framework and ramifications and responsibilities of gun use and ownership. Overall, the class was thoroughly worthwhile and enjoyable. Dean Fong

  Nahun YCaridad Flores recommends Naples Gun Shop & School. I attended class last Saturday. It was a wonderful experience. I definitely recommend.

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great class. Made the class interesting. Instructor was extremely helpful and made my wife and I very comfortable. Antonio Santos

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Love this place. Dave treated me like a V.I.P. He's a cool guy. He takes time teaching you throughout the course. This is the place to buy firearms, supplies and for class. A++++ Anthony Rojas

Naples Gun School - 5 stars Great class!! There was a lot more hands on instruction than the class that I had in Tennessee. David was knowledgeable and entertaining. Good insights on Florida law. My wife will be taking the class shortly. Thanks David. Kevin 9/15/2018

  I thoroughly enjoyed the concealed weapons class on 8/11/18. The class went beyond my expectations. Dave you are an awesome instructor and made the class fun. I would highly recommend Naples Gun Shopping and School! Thanks for sharing your knowledge! - Teresa Cannon

David is an excellent instructor. The class is excellent and exceeded my expectations with information on the laws of Florida, and as well to carry properly, load the weapons as well as placement of holding weapons. If your looking to buy a weapon he is the man to go to. I personally bought my firearm from. - Carlos Casiano

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  Martha Hohenthaner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  This was a very good class. I did not have to take it, as I am a Veteran, however it is a good idea. I learned a lot about Florida Law I did not know. It will in the long run help keep you out of trouble. David was very patient with my wife when we live fired, because she has arthritis and had a hard time pulling the trigger in double action mode. Good Job David thanks so much..Joseph Hohenthaner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  The class was engaging and as fast paced as it can be. The instructor was knowledgeable and worked well with a class spanning all the levels of experience and age you can imagine. I also felt it was fairly priced, especially as you just had to bring yourself and an ID - all other supplies were, er, supplied.Cliff Elam 

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  Naples Gun Shop & School gets an A+ in my book! David and Ginny were great. I took the CWP class today 7/21/18. Both are extremely knowledgeable and easy to talk to. David is one of the best instructors that I have had the pleasure of meeting. I highly recommend Naples Gun Shop & School. Best prices, Great training, and easy to deal with. I will definitely be returning to do further business. Thank you David & Ginny....see you soon!Nicholas Lupo

Naples Gun School - 5 stars  I've been a repeat customer for FFL transfers with Naples Gun School for quite some time. Dave's customer service and knowledge are second to none. After speaking with Dave for a few moments, you start to feel as if you have known him for quite a while. I look forward to continuing my business when the new location opens. - Robert Boyette

I really enjoyed the class yesterday, and it was very nice to meet David and Ginny. David is very knowledgeable, helpful, and best of all: has a sense of humor. I was more nervous than I thought I would be because this was the first time in my life that I've ever shot a semi-automatic weapon. David lives and breathes this stuff and his presence and ease with weapons was very calming for me when I was at the range. Ginny was also very supportive throughout the whole class. Thank you guys so much! It's a pleasure and I will be back to purchase supplies from you! - Shenandoah Webb

Naples Gun School - 5 starsTook the 3/31/18 class and loved it! Dave was very informative and his laid back teaching style made the 4 hour class fly by. Would recommend this class to anyone interested in a CWP. Thanks Dave and Ginny! - Kelly Gardner

Naples Gun School - 5 stars I’d like to thank The Naples Gun School for the time and effort they took in order to help me become a more responsible hand gun owner. By taking your CCWP class on 3.31.2018, I’m honestly a better person today than I was yesterday. Your course is not only interesting, but informative as well. The time we had together flew by. Throughout the whole process, they were calm and patient with every student. Especially after everyone seemed to drop their cartridges on the floor during the revolver training portion of the program. I highly recommend Naples Gun School to anyone that’s interested in becoming a CCWP holder. And I definitely will use their services by purchasing all my gun needs through their establishment. David & Ginny, thank you so much. I had a wonderful time!Chris Shaffer

Naples Gun School - 5 stars This class kept me very interested, informed and didn’t even realize 4 hours went by! Would recommend everyone to take this class! - Douglas Shaffer

Naples Gun School - 5 stars - Lurybella Lora Trejo

 

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