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News Brief: State Senate votes to ban bump stocks, trigger cranks

'There is no legitimate purpose for the use, sale, and possession of these devices or than to cause as much damage as possible.' Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg, D-Amherst.

State Senate votes to ban bump stocks, trigger cranks

Boston — The Massachusetts Senate voted Thursday to ban bump stock and trigger cranks and classify them under the same general law that governs machine guns. The amendment, offered by Sen. Cynthia Creem, D-Newton, establishes identical penalties – 18 months to life in prison – for the use and possession of bump stocks and trigger cranks as current law holds for machine guns. Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, was part of a small working group to develop the final legislation.

“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 or 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.”

“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 amendment also instructs the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to notify licensed owners and manufacturers of bump stocks and trigger cranks of the effective date of the changes.

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, illegal in Massachusetts since 1994. On Sunday, Oct. 1, 58 people were killed and hundreds injured at a Las Vegas country music festival. Law enforcement found multiple bump stocks and trigger cranks in Stephen Paddock’s hotel room where the shooting originated.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a similar bump stock ban and the two versions will be reconciled before being sent to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk for his signature.

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