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Hawaii Becomes Latest State to Ban Bump Stocks

Hawaii has become the latest state to ban bump stocks in the months following a mass shooting in Las Vegas, where the device was used to kill 58 people.

By Matt Vasilogambros

Hawaii has become the latest state to ban bump stocks in the months following a mass shooting in Las Vegas, where the device was used to kill 58 people.

Democratic Gov. David Ige signed the measure saying he wanted to ban the device that allowed the Las Vegas shooter to be “horrifically efficient” in the massacre. Hawaii residents have 30 days to turn in to any police station those devices that can enable semiautomatic rifles to fire at a rate of fully automatic fire.

“Gun legislation can continue to uphold the rights of gun owners,” Ige said at the signing ceremony, “while at the same time keeping guns out of the hands of those who are unfit to own them.”

Ige signed another law that shortens the time given to disqualified gun owners to turn in their weapons to authorities, from a month to a week.

He said the state has the lowest rate of gun violence in the country because of its strict laws.

Hawaii joins Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington in banning bump stocks since the Las Vegas shooting last year.

Americans could own as many as 520,000 bump stocks, according to estimates from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It’s unclear how many bump stocks are in Hawaii. Harvey Gerwig, president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, an affiliate of the NRA, said he doesn’t think there are many. Gerwig also said he doubts the measure will have much of an impact.

“They believe that by some sort of magic it’s going to prevent crime across the state,” Gerwig said. “It’s complete baloney.”

Gun control advocates, gun owners and police all agree that enforcing these bans will be a challenge. In states that have implemented bans, police report few if any residents have turned in their devices.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.
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