HARTFORD, CT — The Senate gave final passage Tuesday to a bill that bans bump stocks, which are devices that modify semi-automatic rifles to increase their rate of fire closer to automatic.
The bill, which passed 26-10, now heads to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s desk.
Sen. Paul Doyle, D-Wetherfield, said the goal of the legislation is to eliminate the devices on the open market.
“I’m not going to represent that these would eliminate shootings,” Doyle said. However, he said it could reduce the carnage.
Those who have these devices can destroy them when the ban is signed into law, or move them out of Connecticut, or bring them to the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.
“I don’t think, I’ve ever in my life even seen a bump stock,” Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield, said.
He asked if it was a firearm and Doyle said it was not.
The Senators explained it as a covering that fits over the stock of a semiautomatic weapon and it comes with a trigger crank that bounces back on the trigger to get a greater rate of discharge.
Kissel asked Doyle if he knows how many of the devices are owned by Connecticut residents.
“I do not know that answer,” Doyle said.
“Have any of these devices ever been used in a crime?” Kissel asked.
“I do not know,” Doyle said.
Kissel asked if residents would be compensated by the state for surrendering their bump stocks.
Doyle said they would not.
“There are certain situations where the public interests can trump a property right,” Doyle said.
Kissel introduced an amendment that would grandfather bump stocks, but it failed 21-15.
Sen. Craig Miner, R-Litchfield, said he doesn’t think the bill was meant to be a trap for gun owners who take care of their weapons.
He said he didn’t believe the bill would impact a skeet shooter who has a reverse trigger or someone who wanted to modify their trigger to better fit their hand.
But make no mistake about it, Miner said, when the Senate gets done passing this there will be “a whole group of people who go out tomorrow morning and buy more guns.”
Five years ago when they strengthened Connecticut’s gun laws following the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary, Miner’s concern was the amount of time young people spend watching video games.
“When you play shoot the garbage man four hours a day in the basement of your house, don’t be surprised if it no longer has a feeling,” Miner said.
The bump stock ban entered the conversation in Connecticut and other states after the mass shooting in Las Vegas last October that left 58 people dead and hundreds injured.
Twelve of the rifles that the gunman had with him in the 32nd-floor hotel room in Las Vegas were modified with bump stocks.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 20 states are looking to ban the devices.
Massachusetts enacted its ban about a month after the Las Vegas shooting in October 2017. New Jersey’s bill became law in January 2018.