The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to ban bump stocks.
If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the measure would ban the possession or sale of the device that allows semi- automatic rifles to operate as if they were fully automatic machine guns.
The legislation carries a punishment of imprisonment of up to 20 years, and goes into effect six months from the passage of the bill.
“I am proud and encouraged that the House’s 2014 gun law has resulted in Massachusetts having the lowest rate of gun deaths per capita,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, in a statement. “There’s no doubt about it: The stronger the gun laws, the safer the state.”
State Rep. Lori Ehrlich (D-Marblehead) said the devices used in the recent Las Vegas massacre circumvent laws against automatic weapons by increasing a semi-automatic weapon’s rate of fire from 45-60 rounds per minute to between 400-800.
“This was a bipartisan effort to pass common sense public safety legislation in the wake of the senseless tragedy in Las Vegas,” said state Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn) in a statement. “My hope is that our national leaders are as quick to act as our state leaders.”
State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) said Massachusetts has been a leader on gun control and the delegation wanted to act quickly to ban bump stocks.
“While this was an important step forward, this issue needs to be addressed at the federal level to be most effective,” he said.
The measure, which passed 151-3, now goes to the Massachusetts Senate where it is expected to win swift approval. A spokesman for Gov. Charlie Baker said the Republican will review the legislation when it reaches the governor’s desk.
Last weekend, a lawsuit seeking to represent the victims of the Las Vegas shooting was filed against the makers of bump stocks. The proposed class action lawsuit, filed in state court in Clark County, Nevada, accuses Slide Fire Solutions and other unnamed manufacturers of negligence leading to the infliction of emotional distress on thousands of people who witnessed or were injured in the Oct. 1 shooting at a Las Vegas music festival. Hundreds were injured and 58 people were killed in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Authorities said shooter Stephen Paddock’s ability to fire hundreds of rounds per minute over a 10-minute period from his 32nd-floor hotel suite was a major factor in the high casualty count.
The 64-year-old poker-playing accountant and real estate investor killed himself before police stormed his suite.
Material from Reuters was used in this report.