On October 1, 2017, United States were taken by shock when a 64 year old gunman named Stephen Paddock opened fire on a crowd attending a music festival on the Las Vegas strip in Nevada. The deadly incident causes death of 58 people while 546 got injured and most of them are still hospitalized. Before moving to the debate of bump stocks ban in Massachusetts, we will introduce you with the background of the incident that forced the states and politicians to take this step.
According to United States time zone and reports, the mishap happened between 10:05 to 10:15 pm and the gunman fired hundreds of rifle rounds from his suite. The suite was on the 32nd floor of the nearby hotel named Mandalay Bay, and the firing continued for an hour. The gunman named Stephen Paddock was later found dead in his room from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The reason that forced the gunman to kill so many innocents is still unknown, but there are many aftereffects of the incident that the United States is going through.
Although the incident was deadliest for sure, and the United States itself have committed it, but this incident reignited the debate about the gun laws in the united states. In the past, there was a debate about the ban on bump fire stocks, but this time the policymakers were forced to take some action. California was the first one to act on the ban, and it restricted the access of bump stocks. This is pure because it increases the weapon’s rate of fire and because it is automatic the fires continue until the trigger is pressed.
On November 3, 2017, Massachusetts joined California and became the first state to ban bump stocks. It is clear that the democrats and republicans have taken this step in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting. The ban means that it will now be illegal for anybody in the state to own, sell or to buy a bump stock. However, it is shocking to many of us because it was supposed that even this deadliest mass shooting in US history would not shake the immovable stalemate over gun rights in Congress. But strangely, the Republicans started to talk about tightening regulations on firearms. Governor’s Office has issued a 90 days ultimatum to reveal bump stocks, and after that period, it will be illegal and unlawful for anyone to possess them. This amendment on strict gun laws that includes the ban of assault weapons and bump stocks was even supported by the Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito.
Civilian ownership of machine guns that fires continuously as long as the trigger is pulled has been already restricted in the United States since 1934. But semiautomatic guns and weapons are the equivalents of the machine guns. Although they fire just once with each pull, they look no different than the military versions of guns. The only real difference between the military and civilian versions is that the bolt is usually longer, and the stamped-metal components get locked when setting to automatic fire. This allows the weapon to fire some bullets in several seconds. It seems to be a good strategy from the government to ban the automatic weapons that include gas powdered and semiautomatic rifles. We can only hope that the ban will be a good technique to solve the problem because there are still semiautomatic rifles that don’t meet the criteria and will remain unaffected even after the 90 days period.