Bill would ban bump stocks, silencers in Nebraska

January 3, 2018 GMT

LINCOLN — Bump fire stocks, the firearms devices used by the Las Vegas gunman to spray more bullets into a crowded concert venue last fall, would be banned in Nebraska under a bill introduced today.

Legislative Bill 780 also would ban silencers, which are used to greatly reduce a gun’s noise when it is fired. The bill was introduced by State Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks after the Nebraska Legislature opened its 2018 session at the State Capitol.

Pansing Brooks said the after-market accessories have the potential to make guns more lethal in mass shootings. The gunman responsible for killing 58 and wounding hundreds in October in Nevada had equipped 12 of his rifles with bump fire stocks, which allow semiautomatic rifles to be fired nearly as rapidly as automatic machine guns.

Sen. Tom Brewer of Gordon, a gun-rights advocate, said he would oppose a ban on silencers. The devices, already heavily regulated by federal law, allow target shooters and hunters to fire their weapons without using hearing protection.

But Brewer said he would not necessarily oppose greater restrictions on bump stocks.

Gun-control measures typically face nearly impossible odds in the Nebraska Legislature, where Republicans outnumber Democrats by a 2-1 margin. But in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre, bump stocks became the focus of greater regulation nationally and in state and local governments. Some national retailers also quit selling bump stocks after the mass killing.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives recently announced it will review past rulings on bump stocks to determine if they should be tightly regulated like automatic firearms.

In November, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to ban bump stocks since the Nevada shooting.