Massachusetts’ Second Amendment Group Cries Foul Over ‘Bump-Fire Stock’ Ban

Printed from: http://newbostonpost.com/2017/10/11/massachusetts-second-amendment-group-cries-foul-over-bump-fire-stock-ban/

 
 BOSTON — The state’s leading pro-Second Amendment organization is not pleased with legislation attached to the supplemental state budget passed Wednesday by the House, aimed partially at banning “bump-fire stock” equipment, the add-on gear authorities claim maximized the casualties in last week’s Las Vegas shooting massacre.

The point of contention for members of the Gun Owner’s Action League of Massachusetts, however, is apparently not related to a specific ban on bump stocks — the fight coming from the gun rights group stems from language pertaining to what they fear is a broader, less-defined host of add-on components. 

“The language of the amendment was in three parts,” the organization announced in a press release, issued minutes after the budget legislation flew through the House by a 151-3 margin, which saw only three Republicans — Peter Durant and Donald Berthiaume of Spencer, along with Southwick’s Nick Boldyga — voting in opposition. 

As of late Wednesday night, the roll call vote has yet to be posted to the Massachusetts Legislature web site.

The “bump stock” ban, which GOAL had previously appeared ambivalent toward, was unlawfully expanded upon, the organization claims. 

GOAL in its press release broke down its complaints:

“The first [section] outlines a ban on components that can be added to a firearm, rifle, or shotgun that could increase the rate of fire:  ‘Whoever possesses, owns or offers for sale any device which attaches to a rifle, shotgun or firearm, except a magazine, that is designed to increase the rate of discharge of the rifle, shotgun or firearm or whoever modifies any rifle, shotgun or firearm with the intent to increase its rate of discharge, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison by not less than 3 nor more than 20 years’,” the organization quoted, from the amendment. “The second part states that the bill, ‘shall take effect 180 days after the effective date of this act.’

“The third part states, ‘The Secretary of Public Safety shall promulgate regulations by January 1, 2018 concerning the allowability of maintenance and enhancement of rifles, shotguns and firearms consistent with the intent of this section.'”

According to GOAL:

“The first part is loosely worded and doesn’t provide definition as to what rate of fire is. As written it will include any gun including a bolt-action rifle. In other words, if a bolt-action rifle is modified so that the bolt can operate with more ease, or less friction, it could be considered a felony. 

“The third part is extremely egregious, as it will give the state regulatory authority over the maintenance and enhancement of all firearms. Can you imagine what our attorney general will do with this?”

GOAL is urging members to contact their state senators.

Per the legislation passed Wednesday:

Mr. David Linsky of Natick moves to amend the bill by adding the following 2 sections:

Mr. Linsky of Natick moves to amend the bill by adding the following three sections:

“SECTION XX: Chapter 140 of General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 131Q, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, the following section:-

Section 131R. Whoever possesses, owns or offers for sale any device which attaches to a rifle, shotgun or firearm, except a magazine, that is designed to increase the rate of discharge of the rifle, shotgun or firearm or whoever modifies any rifle, shotgun or firearm with the intent to increase its rate of discharge, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison by not less than 3 nor more than 20 years.

SECTION YY. Section XX shall take effect 180 days after the effective date of this act.”

SECTION ZZ. The Secretary of Public Safety shall promulgate regulations by January 1, 2018 concerning the allowability of maintenance and enhancement of rifles, shotguns and firearms consistent with the intent of this section.

GOAL previously had appeared sympathetic to the passage of a bill specific to banning bump-fire stocks, one proposed last week by Linsky, a Democrat, the same lawmaker whose amendment was successfully attached to the House’s closeout budget.

 On Wednesday, Linsky — ahead of the House vote — talked about his amendment: 

“The umm … we’re going to save that debate for another day,” Linsky said, addressing a question about a different proposal aimed at limiting firearm magazine capacity.

Linsky continued:

“The bump-stock loophole was just that — it was a loophole,” Linsky said. “And it’s a loophole we needed to fill quickly, we’ve studied … umm … the gun laws in Massachusetts and federally for a long, long time, it’s something quite frankly that the drafters of legislation for years and years and years have missed. 

“The magazine issue is … a more difficult issue. And while I’m still very much committed to closing the magazine loophole we’re going to save that debate for another day. We have an opportunity to do the bump-stock legislation today, we’re gonna take it.”

Linsky also addressed House Republicans’ efforts to regulate bump-stocks, ahead of Wednesday’s budget vote.

“We’ll see when we get to to the floor,” Linsky told reporters. “There’s some drafting differences between what I’m proposing and what the Republicans are proposing. I applaud their efforts to put forth something, but this is the amendment that we’re gonna debate.”

Linsky then read to reporters the language of his amendment.

Linksy later told reporters to talk to Senate members to get their opinion on his amendment. Judging by the last few years of action, the Democrat-controlled Senate has been far more left-of-center than the House. 

Linsky’s original bill banning bump-fire stocks has yet to receive a committee hearing. He pointed to the number of Senate co-sponsors who attached their names to his original bill, the details of which have not been posted online by the House clerk. 

“There were a number of Senate cosponsors to my original bill,” Linsky claimed. 

The budget, including this amendment, is scheduled to be voted on by the Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday.

“The only reason you own a bump stock is to increase the rate of fire of your otherwise legal semiautomatic weapon into the same rate of fire as an automatic weapon, to kill people quickly and more effectively. That is the reason. That is not a legitimate reason,” Linsky said.

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