Missouri could become the second state in the country to ban controversial bump stocks and trigger cranks. State Rep. Richard Brown, D-Kansas City, is proposing next legislative session to outlaw the possession, purchase, sale, and use of such rapid-fire gun devices in the Show-Me State.
“This was a bill that weighed heavily on my conscience and I knew I needed to file because I’m concerned about the safety of the public,” Brown tells Missourinet. “We can’t be ignorant to the issue. We’ve got to be proactive in trying to protect public safety.”
Under Brown’s bill, violators would face a Class D felony.
“Most of us have never seen anyone with a machine gun and there’s a simple reason for that,” says Brown. “It’s because machine guns and weapons that fire automatically are banned by law. So, when you have a device like a bump stock that’s added to a gun and allows it to fire automatically, it becomes a machine gun in a sense.”
Last month, Massachusetts passed a law that would make a person face prison time if they are caught having bump stocks or trigger cranks.
Bump stocks came into the national spotlight after authorities learned the man who went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas in October used the tool to kill dozens of people and injure hundreds.
In the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and some Republicans including House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have called on the ATF to review if the accessories should be legal. Last week, the ATF said it will examine whether they fall within the definition of machine guns.
“This is not a Republican issue. This is not a Democrat issue. This is an issue for public safety,” says Brown. “The NRA has also banned the use of bump stocks on their own firing ranges.”
Opponents of the proposed regulations say the rapid-fire devices will not prevent violence from happening. Some supporters of bump stocks have told Brown the only reason they want to own one is because they enjoy “the thrill” of shooting a gun that fires automatically. Brown, who does not own any weapons, says he supports responsible gun ownership.
“My concern is when you start talking to people who have actually lost someone who was killed in that type of manner, perhaps then you will begin to understand a gun is not there for your thrill or as a toy. It is a weapon that has to be treated responsibly,” he says.
Brown, a retired public school teacher and freshman lawmaker, recalls losing a student he loved like his own son. On December 1, 2001, the boy was shot and killed by more than 40 bullets with a semiautomatic gun. Even closer to his heart, is a fraternity brother he lost in a 2016 shooting rampage at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.