Bump stock

A device called a “bump stock” is attached to a semi-automatic rifle.

ANNAPOLIS — As thousands of Maryland students walked out of their classrooms to demand gun control legislation, Maryland’s House of Delegates moved forward a bill that would ban bump stocks and other rapid-fire trigger activators.

Delegate David Moon (D-Montgomery County) urged legislators to vote down floor amendments to House Bill 888 on Wednesday, including one proposed by Delegate Kathy Afzali (R-District 4).

Moon’s bill would prevent a person from owning, making, selling or transporting a “rapid fire trigger activator” in Maryland. It sets the maximum penalty for violations at three years in prison, a $5,000 fine, or both, the same at the penalty for possession of an automatic weapon.

Moon explained that the intent of his bill was to keep people from skirting Maryland’s ban on automatic weapons, which is why the penalties were equivalent.

The impetus for the proposed legislation was the October 2017 shooting in Las Vegas in which a gunman equipped with a bump stock killed 58 people and wounded hundreds at a concert in 10 minutes.

A subsequent analysis from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that bump stocks were legal under federal law because they do not alter the firearm to fire automatically. President Donald Trump in February proposed a ban on such devices.

Afzali’s amendment to Moon’s measure, which was ultimately voted down, would have required state police to facilitate a turn-in of the banned modifications, made it legal to transport them for the purposes of turning them in and would have required the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to advertise the changes in the law.

Her intent, she said, was to make sure that people who already own the rapid-fire trigger activators for sport or hunting are aware that they would have to turn them in while facilitating the process.

Delegate Susan W. Krebs (R-Carroll) stated her support for Afzali’s amendments, saying, “It seems like we haven’t thought out how we’re going to get rid of these things.”

Moon countered that should the law pass, normal prosecutorial discretion would protect people who turn in banned modifications. He continued that the government does not normally advertise changes to law, noting that the state didn’t advise when it recently banned powdered alcohol or when it banned assault rifles.

He also noted that, if the bill becomes law, gun owners would have until October to comply.

Afzali’s amendment failed with a party-line vote from the Frederick County delegation. Republican delegates Afzali, William Folden (District 3B), Barrie Ciliberti (District 4) and David E. Vogt III (District 4) supported the change, while Democratic delegates Carol Krimm (District 3A) and Karen Lewis Young (District 3A) voted it down.

Two other amendments to Moon’s bill failed to get the needed votes on the House floor. One from Delegate Seth A. Howard (R-Anne Arundel) would have made possession of the trigger systems legal.

His goal, he said, was to prevent people who already own the items from running afoul of the law, something he took personally as the owner of such a device.

“You’re getting ready to make me a criminal,” he said, adding later, “Let the people that already have these, have them.”

Delegate Kevin B. Hornberger (R-Cecil) unsuccessfully proposed making the maximum penalty one year in jail and a fine of no more than $5,000. Moon encouraged the delegates to reject the amendment because of his intent to have the penalty be the same as the punishment for having an automatic weapon.

The bill received preliminary approval by voice vote in the Democratic-majority chamber. A final vote on the measure in the House chamber is likely later this week.

In the Senate, the Judicial Proceedings Committee voted 7-2 on Wednesday evening to advance an identical version of the bill. Frederick County Sen. Michael Hough (R-District 4) voted against the measure. He proposed an amendment — voted down by the committee — that would have simplified the bill’s grandfathering clause to allow continued possession by anyone who legally purchased a bump stock or similar accessory before the bill’s effective date, Oct. 1. As passed by the House, the grandfathering clause would require authorization from the ATF to continue possession of bump stocks, though the bureau has no process for such an authorization and is exploring banning the devices at Trump’s urging, Hough said.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) has urged the committee to send the bill to the floor, where a majority of the chamber have co-sponsored the ban bill.

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said at a school safety press conference last month that he supports such a ban.

Staff writer Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report.

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiLoos.

(20) comments




Man these assault weapons like they were from 1994 to 2004 you don't have to worry about no bump stop then fools


Great news? Are they going to ban rubber bands and sticks because you can make a bump stock with just those?

Maybe just maybe enforce laws. Novel idea, I know.


Which gun control laws would you like to see enforced more vigorously?


I would like to see 18 USC 922 enforced, and also the consequences listed in 18 USC 924. Lying on the NICS form is a felony, yet no one is punished for it. Mere possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is a felony punishable by five years in Federal prison (under the laws cited above), but how many people get that sentence?


Conservatives own all three branches of government at the federal level so I'm sure you are writing them letters to get this enforced, right?


No shiftless. The state prosecutors do not refer them to the Feds. Why? Ask them. They keep it in-state and plea bargain it down. That results in people like the guy who shot up the Granite store near Baltimore who had a murder with a firearm conviction negotiated from 30 years to 18 months. He should have been in jail, but he got out and shot his co-workers. Now that you know the laws, when are you going to write the letters?


Thanks for answering.


I actually know of a lot of people from Frederick with that sentence.


Since you seem to be the gun guru here gabriel with all the answers I have a question for you. Where do all these underage kids get their guns so easily? The guns all come out of the same factories, and are sold to the military and law enforcement and dealers who sell them to retailers who sell them to responsible gun owners, so at that point they are all legal and accounted for. But at some point the system goes bad. Many disappear into the netherworld and become anonymous illegal guns. Where does the system go wrong? What are the loopholes that allow guns go from legal into the hands of criminals and kids who aren't criminals until they get that gun. Are all these anonymous guns stolen or lost? Guns have serial numbers for a reason, to keep track of the person who is responsible for securing the gun. But all of a sudden nobody is responsible for the gun. Why? How can a 16 year old boy who has no money get a gun in his hand? Your opinion. Thanks!




They are creating a law which they can enforce. You can grow pot plants with dirt, sun and water so why did they ever outlaw that?


The difference is one is improvised, the other has an LLC, a booth at SHOT Show and employees with careers in a niche portion of the industry that serves no real purpose other than wasting ammo. While made in America, employees at places like Slidefire should pick a more honorable profession.


The ban on bump stocks is great news! [thumbup]. This is not a 2A issue, as they are accessories made to skirt the law banning full auto weapons in the hands of private citizens that has been in effect since the '30s. It is unfortunate that politics overcame common sense regarding Kathy Afzali's amendment. She is right! What are people who own the soon-to-be-illegal accessories do with them? Put them in the trash? Burn them in the backyard? Sell them on ebay? Without clear direction on what to do with them, this is going to be a legal disaster for somebody. Prosecutorial discretion? Yeah, that'll work.


except machineguns are not banned by federal or maryland law. ownership just has to go through a process with the atf and the mdsp. google will show you.


Yeah, I know. My response was incomplete. You are banned from having a machine gun unless you have a Class III license from the Feds.


And isn't it amazing how that $200 fee and background check keep us from being overrun with full auto weapons? If the average person wanting to own a firearm was required to demonstrate competence with the weapon, assemble, disassemble, clean, demonstrate safe operating habits, etc., a large percentage of wannabe Rambo's wouldn't bother. Too much trouble. But the folks who are committed, who want to know their weapon and it's capabilities and limitations, as well as their own, would have no problem passing a standard like that.


no, that is not correct. all you have to do is pay a transfer tax and get an approvrd tax stamp to own a machine gun. “class 3” is a term used to indicate a SOT holder.


What should they do with them?? Hah? Turn them in! Why not, because there fun?


Not sure what you're trying to say here TINAE. MD is about to make them illegal, and Kathy Afzali wanted people to be able to turn them into the local police office. She also wanted to publicize the ban so nobody could say they didn't know. However, her bill stating that was voted down along party lines. SMH.

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