Pols Seek Bump Stock, “Ghost” Gun Ban

Ghostguns.comMarkeshia Ricks PhotoLawmakers Monday gathered in a Hamilton Street church in a quest to stop people from turning their guns into automatic weapons and stop people who shouldn’t have access to guns from building them at home.

The co-chair and vice chair of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee joined Mayor Toni Harp and members of the New Haven legislative delegation at the Church on the Rock to announce legislation to change the definition of what a gun is in the state. The goal is to ban bump stocks and so-called “ghost guns.”

Afterwards, the head of a gun rights organization told the Independent the legislators are making bump stocks and ghost guns, which are also known as “80 percent” builds, a bigger deal than they are.

Bump stocks are a device that can be added to a gun like an AR-15 or an AK-47 to give it rapid-fire, or machine gun-like, capabilities. Such a device was used by a shooter in Las Vegas last year to kill 59 and injure 527 people.

Ghost guns are nearly complete guns that can be purchased so a buyer can finish building the gun on their own. You don’t have to have a license to purchase such guns, so they’re unregistered. Such guns don’t come from gun manufacturers, so they don’t have a serial number, which makes them untraceable.

Markeshia Ricks PhotoState Rep. William Tong of Stamford, state House Judiciary chair and a candidate for state attorney general, said bump stocks and ghost guns violate the intent and spirit of Connecticut’s gun laws — the second toughest in the nation — requiring background checks for permits and keeping weapons out of the hands of domestic abusers and other violent criminals.

Tong said when he Googled Ghost Guns, “It scared the hell out of me.”

“This is a real threat to our communities,” Tong said. “It is a way for people who cannot lawfully acquire a gun to make guns in short order and can traffic in those guns in our communities. That poses a great risk to all of us. It happens every day on the Internet.”

Markeshia Ricks PhotoJeremy Stein, the new executive director of the group CT Against Gun Violence, said bump stocks enabled a gunman to turn the concert in Las Vegas “into a killing field.”

“This was a weapon of choice that the shooter used in Las Vegas in addition to using tracer rounds and armor-piercing bullets,” Stein said. “This was a weapon of war that he chose. We cannot have bump stocks in our society. There is no legitimate reason to have a bump stock. It’s not used for hunting. It’s not used for self-defense. It is a clever workaround for state and federal laws to make a legal weapon of war.”

Stein said states like Massachusetts and New Jersey have passed bans on bump stocks. Other states and even some cities are following suit. He urged Connecticut to do the same.

“There is no reason we should have that type of device in the hands of civilians,” he said.

Stein said ghost guns also are another attempt by a growing group of people — many who could not otherwise legally obtain a gun — to skirt state and federal laws. He said there have been shootings by owners of ghost guns in northern and southern California and Baltimore, and a man in Fairfield was discovered to be manufacturing his own guns.

“He had 59 firearms,” Stein said. “Nine unregistered assault rifles, two AK-47 rifles and five complete AR-15s with no serial numbers. The AR-15s were built with parts he could get online.

Ghostguns.com“They’re unregulated, they’re unmarked, they’re unlicensed, they’re unserialized,” he added. “Not a single marking. That’s why they’re referred to as ghost guns, and they’re not required a background check to buy. We are making it too easy for people to obtain guns. We’re making it too easy for people who shouldn’t have guns, who are lawfully prohibited from owning guns. And all they need is a credit card and a drill that they can get at Home Depot and they’ve got themselves a handgun or the lower receiver of an AR-15.”

Scott Wilson, president of the pro-gun Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said the state might be giving the appearance of being tough on guns but its conviction rate for people caught with stolen guns is abysmal. Often, he said, the stolen gun charges are dismissed, dropped, or pleaded down.

“My question is: Why are we trying to pass more laws when we’re not enforcing the existing laws on the books right now?” he asked in an interview. “As far as ghost guns go, they’re not even legally a firearm by federal definition; they’re essentially a hunk of metal until you intentionally manufacture it into a firearm. There aren’t many people who use these types of 80-percent builds, but some of the ones that do, it is legal for them to do at the federal level as long as they are not a prohibited person.”

Wilson also said that a bump stock ban won’t stop anyone who wants to “bump fire” a rifle; the device simply makes it easier to do. He said skilled rifle users can do the same with their belt loops. He said Connecticut already has a law on the books prohibiting gun owners from having more than 10-round magazines, rendering bump stocks pointless.

“Lawmakers are taking an issue and making it into something bigger than it really is,” Wilson said. “This is a law looking for a place to happen.

“I see no need for more gun laws when the state of Connecticut won’t even enforce the existing gun laws on the books,” he added. “This is basically a couple of anti-gun legislators and an anti-gun group or two involved in pushing this to keep their base of support happy to pass a gun law, some gun law every year.”

New Haven’s mayor disagreed with such sentiment, calling violent crime a “public health menace” and unregulated guns a “malignancy.” Harp said she supported common-sense regulation when she was a state senator;she applauded the committee chairs and New Haven’s delegation for “not standing idly by when you know these weapons of destruction of human life can be made an impact our community.”

“There’s just no way to overstate it,” she said. “Conscientious public officials must remain steadfastly involved in this effort if the scourge of gun violence is to ever be effectively addressed in the state.”

Markeshia Ricks PhotoState Rep. Steven Stafstrom Jr. of Bridgeport, who serves as the House vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, called the bump stocks and ghost guns measures common-sense proposals meant to close loopholes and ensure that the spirit and intent of Connecticut’s gun laws are honored.

“The gun laws as they are written here in Connecticut say that automatic rifles are not allowed,” he said. “You put a bump stock on a semiautomatic rifle you are making it an automatic rifle. As a policy of this state, we’ve already decided that automatic rifles should not be on our streets, they should not be in our schools, they should not be in our movie theaters, they should be in no place in the state of Connecticut. And by passing a ban on bump stocks we’re making sure that we honor that intent of the law as it already exists.”

Stafstrom said the same is true of ghost guns.

“We have already decided in our state that following the tragic events in Newtown and the plague of urban violence for decades in our state that you must register a firearm and go through certain background checks in order to legally possess a firearm in the state of Connecticut,” he said. “By allowing folks to mail order pieces of a gun and skirt the laws of the state the intent and the spirit of our laws is not being followed. And I truly hope that everyone on the judiciary committee and everyone in the legislature recognizes this year that the legislation we’re proposing is intended to get illegal guns off of our streets and to make sure that the spirit and intent of our laws are being followed.”

Tong said that the judiciary committee is working with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has recently called on the legislature to expand gun control laws in the state to ban bump stock. Malloy’s push for such a ban does not include ghost guns. But Tong indicated that the aims are similar: to stop the flow of illegal, high-power guns.

“This is incredibly important because these laws work,” Tong said.

Markeshia Ricks PhotoNew Haven State Rep. Roland Lemar said states can’t wait for the federal government to act on gun control.

“We’ve been waiting for decades for the federal government to get their act together and come up with concrete, common-sense gun legislation that protects all of our citizens,” he said. “Thankfully, in Connecticut, we’ve had strong leadership that’s helped us become one of the strongest states for public safety.”

He said he anticipates fierce opposition to these proposals from lobbyists who support the gun industry and will be doing all they can to keep legislators from passing such legislation during the upcoming session, which starts Wednesday.

“Far too often we ignore the voices of those who live in our communities who see the impacts of illegal guns, who see the impacts of marketers and lobbyists, and manufacturers who skirt the laws at their own benefit,” he added.

Tong and Stafstrom said they don’t yet know if their Republican colleagues will support such bans. They said they’re hoping that because the measures focus on the illegal possession of guns that they might win some bipartisan support. But Stafstrom said “it’s surprisingly difficult,” given to the opposition of groups like the National Rifle Association, to make any changes, even though leading conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito have both written in support of reasonable restrictions on gun ownership in the name of promoting public safety.

“There is a lot of opposition to the most minute changes,” he said.

“As Mayor Harp said, we’re not just going to stand idly by,” Tong added.

The 2018 Agenda

Bill #StatusSummarySponsors
HB 5001In Committee
Died on the Floor
To impose a fee on transactions involving virtual currency.Pat Dillon
HB 5031
SB 4
In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Passed
Gov. Signed
To allow students to have equal access to institutional financial aid.Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee
HB 5082In Committee
Committee Approved
Died on the Floor
To provide state funds to assist hurricane victims from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who are living in Connecticut.Juan Candelaria
HB 5126In Committee
Died on the Floor
To increase funding to boards of education and family resource centers that provide assistance to students and families from Puerto Rico.Juan Candelaria
HB 5112In Committee
Sent to the Floor
Died on the Floor
To permit the retail sale of marijuana and tax such sale to raise revenue for the General Fund and to fund substance abuse treatment, prevention, education and awareness programs.Juan R. Candelaria, Angel Arce, Josh Elliott, Steven J. Stafstrom, Jeff Currey, Susan M. Johnson, Chris Soto, Patricia A. Dillon, Roland J. Lemar, James M. Albis, Christopher Rosario, Kim Rose, Robyn A. Porter, Edwin Vargas, Matthew Lesser, Gregory Haddad, Joshua Malik Hall, Ezequiel Santiago, Diana S. Urban, Toni E. Walker, Robert Sanchez, Alphonse Paolillo
SB 1In Committee
Died on the Floor
To expand the sick leave program to provide earned family and medical leave to certain individuals employed in this state.Martin M. Looney, Bob Duff, Timothy D. Larson, Steve Cassano, Beth Bye, Terry B. Gerratana, Gary A. Winfield, Ted Kennedy, Catherine A. Osten, Marilyn V. Moore, Edwin A. Gomes, Mae Flexer
SB 62In Committee
Died on the Floor
To provide tuition-free community college for Connecticut residents.Martin M. Looney
HB 5182In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Died on the Floor
To require building officials in certain municipalities to establish and assess a fee for the commencement of certain work without a necessary permit.Planning and Development Committee
HB 5210In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Passed
To (1) mandate insurance coverage of essential health benefits, (2) expand mandated health benefits for women, children and adolescents, and (3) expand mandated contraception benefits.Insurance and Real Estate Committee
HB 5084In Committee
Died on the Floor
To encourage the recycling of nip bottles that otherwise frequently litter urban areas.Roland J. Lemar and Juan R. Candelaria
HB 5350
HB 5537
In Committee
Committee Denied
Sent to the Floor
Died on the Floor
To create a pilot program for shared solar facilities at municipal airports. The bill also would delete the provision that dictates the length of Tweed Airport’s runway.Energy and Technology Committee
HB 5475In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Passed
To amend statutory provisions concerning a police officer’s viewing of a recording from body-worn recording equipment under certain circumstances.Judiciary Committee
HB 5515 In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Passed
To permit a zoning commission to regulate the brightness and illumination of advertising signs and billboards.Judiciary Committee
HB 5540In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Died on the Floor
To ban guns without serial numbers and regulate those which are sold in a form requiring the purchaser to finish assembly or that are homemade and to permit local authorities to interview immediate family members as part of a determination of an applicant's suitability.Judiciary Committee
HB 5542In Committee
Committee Approved
Sent to the Floor
Passed
To ban the sale or transfer, possession, manufacturing or use of bump stocks or other accessories to increase the rate of fire of a firearm.Judiciary Committee

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 5, 2018  8:43pm

There is a old saying. America would have tighter gun laws in 24 hours if every black person in America went out and bought a firearm.In fact, black people wouldn’t even have to purchase the guns. All we would need to do is fill out the gun license applications and get background checks. Lawmakers would be passing stricter gun laws quicker than you can say bump stock.And if you do not think so.Look at the The Mulford Act that was used on the Black Panthers marched bearing arms upon the California State Capitol to protest the bill.In fact Both Republicans and Democrats in California supported increased gun control. Governor Ronald Reagan was present when the protesters arrived and later commented that he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons” and that guns were a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” In a later press conference, Reagan added that the Mulford Act “would work no hardship on the honest citizen.The bill was signed by Reagan and became California penal code 25850 and 171c.And the NRA did noting to try to stop this act.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 5, 2018  11:44pm

Posers and Tax-Raiser Notes:

1. Well, if you’re going to pose with an issue prior to the legislative clusterfxxk, you might as well pick on guns again. Hey, it’s better than posing with a billion dollar tax increase right?

2. This is a silly fig leaf of an issue. Mayor Harp can disagree. Who cares? She’s not a state legislator anymore.

3. Do we have a problem with bump stocks? Have we had mass shootings here with bump stocks? Robberies, murders and mayhem from bump stocks?

4. Last I checked, the mayor had a problem with somebody strangling people. I think we should outlaw whatever they’re strangling people with - don’t you?

5. Ghost guns? Thanks for the tip. Other than that - do we have a problem with ghost guns here beside the single case which may or may not have violated any laws. What was the outcome of the case?

There is a problem with the legislature - and Harp - always looking for an issue regardless of whether it’s a problem or not. Perhaps this august group of big thinkers could actually solve real problems - like education reform so out kids have a future; perhaps a state budget that is balanced for more than five minutes? Or, how about DCF - with a backlog of cases, dying children? These are big problems. When will this fine group hold a presser and pose with those solutions?

posted by: jamesj@newhaven on February 6, 2018  7:19am

Threefifths:  I often read your posts here and find them at times amusing, confusing, very pointed and on target, etc.  Regardless of whether I agree or not, I am always impressed by your knowledge and citing of facts to back up your arguments.  Your post to this article is a case in point.  Don’t stop!

posted by: Noteworthy on February 6, 2018  8:58am

3/5ths - Your knowledge is impressive but your conclusion leaves something to be desired. If black people wanted to buy guns legally, I don’t think there is anything that would gather data on the color of one’s skin.

As for the Black Panthers - its members killed cops and got into a number of armed conflicts with them. I wouldn’t use them as a poster child. Besides, I rather agree with Reagan - I see no need for armed citizens to be walking down the street regardless of race. Today’s legal conceal carry permits are hard to come by and come with deep background checks on multiple levels.

These two subjects are ghost issues looking for a legislator or a mayor who wants free publicity so they can pose with the cameras and avoid the real issues plaguing our communities and holding us back from reaching our full potential.

posted by: breakingbad23 on February 6, 2018  9:06am

How about shoe laces and rubber bands? Both of which can be used to create the same rate of fire as a bump stock.

posted by: robn on February 6, 2018  9:17am

NOTEWORTHY,

Interesting point and it made me wonder what would have happened if the Las Vegas shooting (a sniper attack which, like here and now, hadn’t occurred before) had been an attempted strangulation. I don’t know a lot about strangulation but Wikipedia says it takes about 14 seconds to strangle someone unconscious and a couple of minutes to strangle somebody to death. The Las Vegas shooter injured 581 people and killed another 58 people. For the purpose of this math lets use 14 seconds for injury and 120 seconds for death.

58p x 120s = 6960 seconds
581p x 14s = 8134 seconds
6960s + 8134 s = 15094 seconds
15094 / 60 / 60 = 4 hours and 10 minutes (way longer than police response time)

The Las Vegas shooting lasted about 10 min before hotel staff and police drew the shooters attention to his hotel door so if this had been a mass strangulation instead of a mass shooting, only about 5 deaths would have occurred.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 6, 2018  9:54am

posted by: Noteworthy on February 6, 2018 8:58am
3/5ths - Your knowledge is impressive but your conclusion leaves something to be desired. If black people wanted to buy guns legally, I don’t think there is anything that would gather data on the color of one’s skin.

Do your Homework.Do you own a FireArm?This is how the track who owns firearms.

Why does ATF Form 4473 ask for race and ethnicity?

The purpose for requiring prospective purchasers of firearms to identify their racial and ethnic background is to aid law enforcement in accurately tracing firearms found in crimes and better enable Federal firearms licensees to identify the purchaser during the background check portion of a firearms transaction. To collect this identifying information, ATF was required to follow the race and ethnicity standards and format for administrative forms and records established by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These standards were first published by OMB in the Federal Register on October 30, 1997, and became effective on January 1, 2003.

As for the Black Panthers - its members killed cops and got into a number of armed conflicts with them. I wouldn’t use them as a poster child.

And the reason the Black Panthers got into armed conflicts was because of The FBI COINTELPRO Program with the help of the poilce.

Part one.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 6, 2018  10:17am

Part Two.
The FBI COINTELPRO Program and the Fred Hampton Assassination

On December 4th it will be 44 years since a select unit of 14 Chicago Police officers, on special assignment to Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan, executed a pre-dawn raid on a west side apartment that left Illinois Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark dead, several other young Panthers wounded, and the seven raid survivors arrested on bogus attempted murder charges. The physical evidence soon exposed the claims of a “shootout” that were made by Hanrahan and his men to be blatant lies, and that the murderous reality was that the police fired nearly 100 shots while the Panthers fired but one.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/g-flint-taylor/the-fbi-cointelpro-progra_b_4375527.html

How about the Murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner at the hands of the poilce.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/freedomsummer-murder/


Besides, I rather agree with Reagan - I see no need for armed citizens to be walking down the street regardless of race.

Reagan only said somethin when the Black Panthers started to walking down the streets armed.

Today’s legal conceal carry permits are hard to come by and come with deep background checks on multiple levels.

Not in this state and the major of other states.Now in New York City you are correct.Legal conceal carry permits are hard to come by.

License and Permit Types

The NYPD issues several different types of handgun licenses, with varying restrictions. The information below will help you determine which type of handgun license is appropriate for you.

https://licensing.nypdonline.org/new-app-instruction/

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 6, 2018  10:37am

posted by: breakingbad23 on February 6, 2018 9:06am
How about shoe laces and rubber bands? Both of which can be used to create the same rate of fire as a bump stock.

How about going back to flintlock firearms.

FLINTLOCK FAQ
Beginners Guide to Flintlock Shooting

http://home.insightbb.com/~bspen/flintlockfaq.html

posted by: William Kurtz on February 6, 2018  1:36pm

I’m with THREEFIFTHS. If the ‘originalists’ who acknowledge no nuance in the wording of the second amendment are going to have their way, let’s go back to the original firearms, too.

posted by: Noteworthy on February 6, 2018  1:48pm

Thanks for the education on gun license requirements. No I don’t own a gun and have no reason to have one. I don’t hunt and I’m not a shooting buff. I’m kind of surprised they track ethnicity on licensing - as you say to track the gun back to the crime - but I’m not sure what that tells us except who bought the original gun and then, only if you’re in a state that requires such registration. But in any case - we’re talking CT. It is tough to buy a gun here. Period. And in any case - these fine folks are going to get into a fight over a problem we don’t have. Go figure.

posted by: robn on February 6, 2018  1:55pm

Where CAN i get a bump stock for my musket?

posted by: breakingbad23 on February 6, 2018  2:42pm

3/5- If we need to go back to flint locks because the authors of the Constitution didn’t anticipate modern firearms then I guess you’d agree the first amendment doesn’t apply to the internet for the same reason. I can only imagine that was the point you were trying to make with that remark.

posted by: alphabravocharlie on February 6, 2018  2:49pm

These are solutions in search of problems. Instead of addressing the root cause of gun violence, because that’s too hard, blame the guns. In point of fact, these proposals will do nothing to advance public safety.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 6, 2018  7:26pm

posted by: breakingbad23 on February 6, 2018 2:42pm

3/5- If we need to go back to flint locks because the authors of the Constitution didn’t anticipate modern firearms then I guess you’d agree the first amendment doesn’t apply to the internet for the same reason. I can only imagine that was the point you were trying to make with that remark.

Well from what I have read the first amendment says The Constitution guaranteeing the rights of free expression and action that are fundamental to democratic government. These rights include freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of speech.Now
The Second Amendment provides U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. Ratified in December 1791, the amendment says: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.I also raed that The Founding Fathers were champions of freedom but were not weak on law enforcement. Faced with a debilitating threat to society, they would have enacted laws to ensure that citizens treated guns with respect and did not use them in a cavalier fashion. That would have included harsh penalties for unnecessary gun use in any situation, and even harsher penalties for casualties or injuries caused to others by guns.Again Bring back flint locks.In fact they fall under the Second Amendment.

My bad.There are modern flint lock firearms.So what is the problem?

posted by: narcan on February 7, 2018  3:10am

I suppose I haven’t been around long enough to have heard such old sayings, but I would hesitate to judge the NRA of 2018 as the NRA of 1967. The Mulford Act is one of many laws that prompted the more Constitutionally-aligned direction of the organization starting in 1977, a direction that broadly continues today.

If anyone of any race, gender, or persuasion wishes to go legally obtain a firearm, they absolutely should be permitted to do so with minimally interfering steps to ensure they are not convicted felons or otherwise prohibited from owning a gun. NYC’s model of selling rights to the elite and wealthy is not something I would ever support.

But more on point; bump stocks and ghost guns are hardly weapons of choice for criminals. If someone with mechanical know-how is willing to…I don’t know…commit murder, something tells me a law against building their own gun won’t impede their plans.

We are reading about this because making a meaningful impact on legal gun ownership is easy, but making an impact on illegal gun violence much less so. It requires targeting people who steal, straw-sale, or illegally use handguns, and actually incarcerating them rather than dropping charges. It requires examination and self-examination of communities that are permissive to unlawful activity that festers violence.

In short, it requires holding people accountable instead of inanimate objects.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on February 7, 2018  10:35am

posted by: narcan on February 7, 2018 3:10am

I suppose I haven’t been around long enough to have heard such old sayings, but I would hesitate to judge the NRA of 2018 as the NRA of 1967. The Mulford Act is one of many laws that prompted the more Constitutionally-aligned direction of the organization starting in 1977, a direction that broadly continues today. The Mulford Act is one of many laws that prompted the more Constitutionally-aligned direction of the organization starting in 1977, a direction that broadly continues today.

So in 1967 the NRA said that the Second Amendment protected individual gun rights.But thye did not do this when it came to the Black Panthers.