Bump stock ban goes into effect in Connecticut

FILE - This Oct. 4, 2017 file photo shows a device called a "bump stock" attached to a semi-automatic rifle at a gun store and shooting range in Utah. What's happened to bump stocks in the year since Las Vegas? There were growing calls to ban the devices in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting on the Las Vegas strip. Some succeeded, but others did not. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

On Monday, a ban on the sale, purchase, manufacturing and possession of bump stocks went into effect in Connecticut.

The law was proposed after the Mandalay Bay shooting in Las Vegas in Oct. 2017, where the shooter used the bump stock modification to kill 58 people, according to an article on Connecticut Public Radio.

The law has a few exceptions for military personnel and those who possessed a bump stock prior to the law taking effect, the article said.

Christopher Zins, a 2018 graduate of the University of Connecticut and former president of the UConn Pistol and Rifle Club, said he is dissatisfied with the law and the moral reasoning behind it.

“The bump stock ban is feel-good legislation that has no enforceable provisions to it or additional resources allocated to law enforcement for the application of the law,” Zins said. “Police and courts are now expected to do more work in processing, investigating and incarcerating those who violate the law by simply possessing a product that was legal a year ago.”

Zins said it is illogical to entrust politicians with decision-making in areas in which they lack knowledge.

“We often chastise some politicians who try to regulate abortion without knowledge of how a woman’s reproductive system works or the current uses of the procedure,” Zins said. “I believe in this standard and think it should also be applied to politicians who try to regulate firearms without understanding anything to do with them or their use.”

Elizabeth Charash, a 2018 UConn graduate and the former president of UConn Against Gun Violence, praised the law but said there needs to be further measures on matters like “ghost guns,” which are firearms without serial numbers on them.

“These ‘ghost guns’ are more frequently used in urban areas, claiming the lives of predominately young black and brown men,” Charash said. “While the bump stock ban closes a loophole that may have existed in our already comprehensive fabric of gun legislation, we need to push ourselves to be inclusive of those affected by gun violence outside of the headlines and white communities.”

Charash said Connecticut has always been vigilant in passing laws to decrease gun violence but that there is still room for improvement.

“It requires much more than a bump stock ban to decrease the over 36,000 killed and over 100,000 injured in the US, according to CDC records,” Charash said. “We must evaluate the problem of gun violence with research through universities and government agencies to reduce debate over this increasingly politicized issue to conversations with established fact.”

Nathan Friday, the current secretary of the UConn Pistol and Rifle Club, said the mechanism behind bump stocks can be easily recreated with other items.

“The mechanism exists regardless of the attachment of a bump stock or similar device. It can technically be done using simple things like rubber bands, belts loops,” Friday said. “A consequence of this mechanism though, is that the bullets lose accuracy, as the whole gun is moving back and forth in a rocking motion against the stock.”

Friday said bump stocks are rarely used in mass shootings in the United States, which is where the law is derived from.

We must evaluate the problem of gun violence with research through universities and government agencies to reduce debate over this increasingly politicized issue to conversations with established fact
— Elizabeth Chrash, 2018 grad and the former president of UConn Against Gun Violence

“Ultimately, although it [the law] was a response to a major shooting, bump stocks have not been used for the commission of any other mass shootings or in violent crime in general, except for the Las Vegas shooting,” Friday said.

Olivia Sykes, the current president of UConn Against Gun Violence, said the ban is a good sign for further gun legislation.

“Despite the debate on whether or not it will even make a change, I think that any legislation restricting something as harmful as a bump stock is a step in the right direction,” Sykes said.


Taylor Harton is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. They can be reached via email at taylor.harton@uconn.edu.