Bump Stock Ban Gets Amended (Again), Passes Delaware Senate
DOVER, DELAWARE – June 5, 2018
A bill in the Delaware Legislature that would ban bump stock devices, which allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at a fast rate, took an incremental step forward.
Tuesday evening, the Delaware Senate voted 19 to 2 to amend House Bill 300, which reduces the penalty imposed on any person found to be in possession for the first time of a bump stock or trigger crank.
The change in the legal sanction to a Class B misdemeanor from a Class A reverts the gun control bill, in part, back to a form in which it had existed earlier in the legislative session.
If it becomes law, the bill's language would be added to Delaware's destructive weapons code.
"We thought it had gone too far and we took it back to the first one being a misdemeanor," Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington, said.
Directly after passing the amendment, the Senate passed the amended bill, sending it back to the House of Representatives for a new vote.
The House last month had passed its own amended version of the bill. The version kept an outright ban on the after-market firearm devices, but also provided $15,000 toward a state-sponsored buy-back program.
On Tuesday, many thought the Senate would have passed the House's version, a move that would have sent the legislation to Gov. John Carney's desk for his signature.
"I wouldn't say that this was expected, but unfortunately it gets bounced back to the House, again," Sen. Stephanie Hansen, D-Middletown, said. "I hope that we can be done with this very soon."
Hansen called the origin of Tuesday's amendment a "philosophical problem with making the misdemeanor charge too high."
Felony penalties for the sale of bump stocks went unchanged in the latest version of the bill. A total of 12 amendments – or amendments to amendments – have been introduced with the bill. Eight have passed.
A spokesman for House Democrats on Wednesday said the body this week would not consider the Senate version of the bill.
Legislative bans on bumps stocks and trigger cranks have occurred in multiple states during the past year. The actions were sparked after authorities revealed that bump stocks were attached to 12 weapons found on rifles used by Stephen Paddock, the man who in October committed the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
Police say Paddock killed 58 people and wounded about 500 others in Las Vegas as he shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel into a crowd of concertgoers.
Delaware's bill cites the Las Vegas shooting as one reason for the potential new law.
Bump stocks fit onto the shoulder end of a rifle. The shooter holds a finger in front of the trigger instead of squeezing it. To fire, the shooter applies a light but steady forward pressure on the barrel with the supporting arm, which allows the recoil action to fire rounds in rapid succession.