House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff is proposing legislation that would ban the sale, purchase, and possession of bump stock attachments to semi-automatic rifles.
To learn more about Rep. Shurtleff, including his position on issues like gun control, see his profile page.
Bump stocks and the Las Vegas shooting
A bump stock is an attachment that makes a semi-automatic weapon function more like a fully automatic weapon, making it possible to fire more rapidly.
Authorities say bump stocks were used by the Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, who rained a hail of bullets on concert goers last week, killing 58 and injuring more than 500 people.
Laws regulating bump stocks
Shurtleff’s proposed measure would make it a crime to sell, import or possess a bump stock (also known as a "multiburst trigger activator") in New Hampshire.
To learn more about current New Hampshire gun laws, see our issue page.
Federal gun laws forbid the sale of fully automatic weapons, but allow bump stocks. In the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and other lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are pushing legislation for a federal ban. Among states, California is the only state that currently makes it unlawful to possess a device like the bump stock.
Potential logistical hurdles for bump stock regulation
Since the deadline has passed to file bills for the 2018 session of the state Legislature, Shurtleff will need permission to submit this measure. A hearing by the House Rules Committee will be held Wednesday.
Shurtleff, a Vietnam War veteran, said there is no need for a registered gun owner to possess a device that enables a legal semi-automatic weapon to be used in a manner that bears more resemblance to an illegal fully automatic weapon. He notes the National Rifle Association has announced its support of tighter restrictions on bump stocks.
In arguing against the proposed measure, the New Hampshire Firearms Coalition said politicians should not use tragedies such as the one in Las Vegas to push Second Amendment right restrictions.
“Many people still wish to lawfully experience the uniqueness of firing a machine gun," said the coalition. "Enter the bump stock as an inexpensive, lawful solution to the problem."
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