By: Representative David P. Linsky, D-Massachusetts
Last week, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to ban bump stock and trigger crank devices after the Las Vegas tragedy. Following the tragedy in Las Vegas, in which bump stocks were used to murder 58 innocent people and wound hundreds more, I reviewed the Massachusetts General Laws and found a glaring loophole that allowed for these deadly devices to be legally owned, sold, and purchased in Massachusetts. So, I took immediate action to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth and filed a bill – which, I later re-filed as an amendment to a supplemental budget bill – to close this loophole in our gun laws, and ensure these deadly devices would not be allowed in our state. With the support of our Democratic House and Senate leadership, and our Republican Governor, it took only one month for Massachusetts to take action to ban these deadly devices. Where is Congress?
In the wake of yet another mass shooting tragedy, I find myself once again wondering when Congress is going to take action. Members of Congress continue to tweet their thoughts and prayers, and yet no action has been taken to address gun violence at the national level. Bipartisan bills were filed in Congress following the Las Vegas tragedy to ban bump stocks, and yet no debate has happened. No action has been taken. How many more mass tragedies need to occur before Congress finally takes meaningful action?
Now more than ever, it is important for states to take the lead. Every day that we allow Congress to get away with its inaction, we allow these tragedies to become normalized in our society. It is up to us – members of state legislatures – to ensure that our constituents are protected from senseless acts of violence. I urge each of you to look at your states’ gun laws, and see what type of legislation you can pass to protect the citizens of your state from senseless gun violence. Maybe then Congress will listen.
Note: On Nov. 1, 2017, SiX Action, the State Innovation Exchange’s 501c4 arm, released a state toolkit on bump stocks in partnership with Giffords, the anti-gun violence group founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and Capt. Mark Kelly. The toolkit lays out examples of state-level bump stock bans and can serve as a guidepost for legislators considering taking action in their own states.