State House passes bump stock ban in 114-35 vote

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HARTFORD -

Connecticut is one step closer to banning bump stocks -- devices that can greatly increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles.

After hours of debate, the state House of Representatives passed the legislation late Tuesday night in a 114 to 35 bipartisan vote.

The bill would make it illegal to own bump stocks, and similar devices like pull-and-release trigger systems and trigger cranks, which increase the rate of fire of semi-automatic rifles to mimic a fully automatic weapon.

Bump stocks were used by the Las Vegas shooter to open fire at an outdoor country music festival, killing 58 people.

Several gun control advocates from Newtown spent the day at the Capitol pushing for the ban.  Supporters say Connecticut cannot afford another mass shooting.

However, opponents call the bill unnecessary and say banning the devices won't make anyone safer.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has been pushing for the ban and praised the House's passing of the legislation.  

"I cannot see one legitimate reason why anyone needs to own a bump stock other than for the mass shooting of people," said Malloy.

Meanwhile, Scott Wilson, the president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, a grassroots non-profit, said the organization does not support the bill.

"The manufacturer of these devices has already stopped making them, so any action taken by the state legislature is relatively moot at this point,” said Wilson.  “Especially when you consider there is an impending ban on the instruments at the federal level.” 

Under the bill, a first offense would only be a misdemeanor for gun permit holders until July of next year when it would become a felony.  A violation for anyone else would be a felony from the start.

The bill now heads to the state Senate.

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