Ohio Democrats on Tuesday proposed legislation that would ban the devices used by the mass shooter in Las Vegas that modify rifles to fire similarly to automatic weapons.
“There is no conceivable reason why an individual needs to use a bump stock,” said the bill’s primary sponsor, state Sen. Cecil Thomas (D, Cincinnati). “It is not necessary for the defense of one’s home or for the purpose of hunting. It is an extremely lethal device and serves no valuable purpose.”
Senate Bill 219 would ban the sale and ownership of bump stocks in Ohio. The legislation would make the sale or possession for personal use of such devices a fourth-degree felony in the state. It is unclear how much Republican support the bill will have.
“The pain is still fresh in our hearts and minds for those killed or injured in the recent massacre in Las Vegas and it is irresponsible to not take immediate action to ban these attachments in our state,” Thomas said.
In the aftermath of the attack, in which 58 people were killed and nearly 600 were injured at a country music festival on Oct. 1, the only gun-related legislation getting any serious discussion is a ban on bump stocks.
Any sort of restrictions on bump stocks is far from certainty in Congress. No Republican yet has joined Democrats as co-sponsors for a bill that would pull devices that accelerate a weapon’s rate of fire from shelves. But some comments from the GOP suggest a potential shift in the party’s typical hard-line opposition to gun control measures.
Only California has a specific ban on bump stocks. Several states have laws on the books that are ambiguous and untested in court.
Michigan for example does not permit semiautomatic firearms to be converted into fully automatic, “without renewed pressure on the trigger for each successive shot.” Since the shooter’s finger remains in place while firing with a bump-fire stock, it could be open to interpretation over whether “renewed pressure” is applied each time the gun is fired.
Massachusetts is on-track to ban bump stocks. Last week, both chambers voted to ban trigger cranks and bump stocks with overwhelming support.