Bumpstock debate hits legislatures around the country

After Las Vegas shooting, many state and federal officials question legality of bumpstocks

May Paddor, News Editor

According to WTTW Chicago Tonight, state rep. Marty Moylan’s bill to ban “bump stocks” did not pass on Oct 26 failing by a vote of 48-54.

Moylan’s bill came about in response to the Las Vegas shooting. “Bump stocks” are gun attachments increase the speed at which semiautomatic rifles can fire.

CNN reported that the Vegas shooter, Steven Paddock, allegedly used bump stocks to kill dozens and injure hundreds.

The bill, otherwise known as House Bill 4117 would prohibit any gun add-ons that inhibit different rate of fire accelerations.

The gun ban would affect a considerable number of gun-owners. Representative Jerry Costello, D-Smithton told CNN, “I believe that this particular bill covers 40 to 50 percent of guns owned by law-abiding citizens in the state of Illinois.”

This law could also affect recreational activities because it does not discriminate against what the gun is used for.

“[Moylan’s bill would have affected] Guns that are used for hunting, [and] guns that are used for competition purposes. I can tell you that probably 40 percent of the guns I own would fall into this bill, I use them for hunting. Hunting only,” said Costello.

The bill would have also inhibited the availability of gun-use to people with disabilities; people who need the extra modifications to use guns.

Representative and southern Illinois lawmaker Teri Bryant, R-Murphysboro told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s about whether someone with a disability is actually able to use a firearm. This piece of legislation… would also control common gunsmithing items such as triggers, springs, slides, firing pins, bolts, buffers, muzzle-breaks and we could go on and on.”

Not all representatives were against passing the bill.

In response to the alleged plans the Las Vegas shooter made to attack Lollapalooza, Representative Chris Welch, D-Hillside, told The Chicago Tribune, “We all know someone who attended Lollapalooza. The question is, what will it take for us to take action? Will it take your mother, father, son or daughter to be shot before you will speak up?”

There was an alternate bill with the support of the NRA that the Chicago Tribune reported, proposed by Barbara Wheeler, R-Crystal Lake. This bill proposed to solely ban bump stocks, leaving out the other gun add-ons.

Since Moylan’s bill’s rejection, the New York Times has reported that the national fight has slowed to ban bump stocks.

They reported that the National Rifle Association and Republican party now rely on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, otherwise known as A.T.F., to move forward with action, despite their original support for stricter gun regulations.

National advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety president John Feinblatt said, “Their original statement was a wink and a nod by saying that it should be something that A.T.F. reviewed. They knew very well that was an effort to divert attention from legislation.”

Illinois isn’t the only state with ideas to ban bump stocks. Fox 5 DC reported that a state lawmaker in Georgia has pre-filed legislation to ban the use and possession of bump stocks in Georgia.

New Jersey, on the other hand, was able to move forward with the legislation. US News & World Reports stated that several states, including Massachusettes and California, have passed legislation against bump stocks and other implements.

Even the bump stock debate has been stalled by the NRA and A.T.F, states will continue to look into it, especially because of the great repercussions it can cause.

But the fight is still going on. Republican Senator John Cornyn said, “If you believe that automatic weapons should be highly regulated and limited, then why would you be against banning a device that makes a gun an automatic weapon?”