By Gintautas Dumcius
Massachusetts on Friday became the first state to ban bump stocks in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting that left 58 people dead and hundreds injured.
California had previously acted to restrict access to bump stocks, which increase weapons' rate of fire, and allow semi-automatic weapons to act as automatic ones.
Authorities said the Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock possessed bump stocks when he opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers on Oct. 1. That prompted Democrats and Republicans to weigh banning or restricting access to the devices.
Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, in her capacity as acting governor, on Friday signed a budget bill that included language banning bump stocks in the Bay State. Gov. Charlie Baker is out of state, vacationing in Palm Springs with his wife.
The ban covers owning, selling and buying bump stocks.
The Gun Owners Action League, which is affiliated with the National Rifle Association, had lobbied for a veto of the ban.
"The provision passed by the legislature yesterday allows for excessive punishment including life imprisonment, with a minimum sentence of 18 months, for the mere possession of these accessories," the group said on its website. "To make matters worse, the legislation was passed leaving no pathway to legal ownership. It also makes it illegal for owners of these items to legally sell them!"
Baker had previously said he would be willing to sign a bump stock ban if it landed on his desk.
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