House Dems Fast Track 'Bump Stock' Firearms Ban

October 11, 2017

Acting with uncharacteristic speed, Beacon Hill is on the verge of banning bump-stocks, the firearm modification used in this month's deadly Las Vegas shooting.

Not since the Legislature's 2014 ban of "upskirting", taking non-consensual photographs up someone's dress, has Beacon Hill moved so quickly to make law.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo says his Democratic supermajority is behind his decision to skip the typical committee and public hearing process so that Massachusetts retains its reputation as the top state in the nation for gun control. 

"I think it's important for us to take it up and take it up immediately and I think the caucus was very strong in support of that," DeLeo said.

The ban passed as an amendment attached to a spending bill, and the bill itself breezed through the chamber not long after.

"I think if the legislation was better, if it wasn't rushed through, this is something I could have got behind," Rep. Nick Boldyga (R-Southwick), one of three Republican members to vote against the ban, told WGBH News after the vote.

"But this is not the right time, though. They put this legislation in with a budget amendment to ram it through the House of Representatives and 99 percent of the people in that room that just voted on this did not read that legislation, they did not know what was in it," Boldyga said. 

DeLeo defended his decision to skip the hearing process and told reporters Wednesday that second amendment advocates could have lodged objections with him or with members.

"I think they know this is a subject that's being looked at," DeLeo said, adding that the second amendment lobby has been very vocal in the past.

"I can tell you, to their credit, they make sure that their views are know. So I would suspect that I would have heard something," DeLeo said. 

The Senate is also expected to pass the bill and Gov. Charlie Baker has said that he would sign a bump stock ban.

Sponsor Rep. David Linsky says his amendment does not address other gun control measures like high-capacity magazines, and only closes the bump stock loophole.

"It's something that quite frankly, 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 going to take it," Linksy said.


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