OP-ED: Legislature Must Ban Bump Stocks Without Delay

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On October 1, 2017, our country witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history when a gunman opened fire on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, killing 58 and wounding more than 500 people. A tragedy of this magnitude is so unthinkable it almost defies explanation. But even as the news of the shooting fades from the headlines, we are left with hundreds of families who must now cope with an unfathomable loss.

These are families that will be forever changed by tragedy, communities who are mourning friends and neighbors. These are sons and daughters who won’t be coming home for the holidays this year.

Immediately following the Las Vegas shooting, we sponsored legislation that would ban the firearm accessory that allowed the shooter to carry out this horrific act, known as a ‘bump stock.’  When outfitted on semi-automatic weapons, bump stocks allow the weapon to fire continuously, at rates similar to fully automatic weapons. Guns outfitted with bump stocks are capable of firing 400 to 800 rounds per minute, and they can be purchased for less than $100 online, with no background check required.

Bump stocks are what made the horrific actions of the Las Vegas gunman possible, and banning them should not be a controversial issue. This can and should be a bipartisan, common-sense action, one that will immediately make our state and our country safer from those who would do us harm.

Our legislation, Assembly bill 5200, would prohibit possessing or selling a bump stock in the state of New Jersey. By passing this legislation, New Jersey would become one of the first states to ban bump stocks, increasing momentum to ban these accessories nationwide.

With the current legislative session winding down quickly, we are calling on our colleagues in the Legislature and on Governor Christie to join us, and to pass and sign into law a ban on bump stocks without delay. We must make the safety of our constituents a priority, and do the right thing.

The victims of the Las Vegas shooting, and the victims of so many mass shootings and incidents of gun violence, deserve more than inaction from elected officials. We have long maintained that common-sense gun control is the way to move our state and our country toward a safer future. Banning bump stocks will be another step toward that future.

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