CONCORD – New Hampshire House Democratic Leader Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, will bring forward a bill to ban so-called “bump stocks” - the devices used by the Las Vegas gunman that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
Since the deadline for introducing new bills has passed, Shurtleff will need Rules Committee support in the House.
“I have asked to be placed on the agenda for the House Rules Committee when they meet on Wednesday,” he said. “I’ll ask the committee to file a late bill.”
The bill would make it a crime to sell, import or possess a “multiburst trigger activator.”
“This bill is based on the California Penal Code,” said Shurtleff, “California being the only state that currently makes it unlawful to possess a device like the bump stock.”
The New Hampshire Firearms Coalition is already mobilizing opposition to the proposed bill. In an email sent out Friday night, the group expressed condolences to those murdered and injured by gunman Stephen Paddock last Sunday in Las Vegas - and outrage “that certain politicians are attempting to use these criminal acts as an excuse to move forward with their anti-Second Amendment agenda.”
“The fact that a murderer, who was the son of a career criminal, abused such a device is no reason to prohibit its ownership and use by the law abiding,” the email stated.
The Coalition noted that the sale and possession of machine guns manufactured after 1986 is prohibited, which it said led to skyrocketing prices for such weapons made before that date.
“However, many people still wish to lawfully experience the uniqueness of firing a machine gun,” the email said. “Enter the bump stock as an inexpensive, lawful solution to the problem.”
The NHFC email said that “a better approach” would be to repeal the 1986 ban. And it claimed that a true machine gun is “safer” than a weapon with a bump stock.
On Friday in Washington, D.C., nine Republican senators asked the Trump administration to review a decision that allowed the sale of devices that turn a semi-automatic weapon into essentially a fully automatic firearm.
The lawmakers, including the number two Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, wrote a letter to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, asking the agency to re-examine an ATF ruling during the Obama administration that allowed the sale of some “bump stock” devices.
The request comes after the mass shooting in Las Vegas last Sunday that left 58 people dead and hundreds wounded.
Investigators say the gunman, Stephen Paddock of Nevada, fired weapons from his hotel room that had been modified with bump stocks.
A growing number of Republicans have said they’re open to regulating the devices.
And the National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun-lobbying group, said last week it supports additional regulation of such devices.
Union Leader reporter Dave Solomon, Sunday News reporter Shawne K. Wickham and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.