After a gunman killed 58 people and wounded more than 540 using “bump stocks” that essentially turned his firearms into machine guns, some Republican members of Congress said they would support a ban on bump stocks.
Now, though, congressional Republicans are backing away from such a ban. Because Congress appears unlikely to act, many state lawmakers around the country are taking up the issue. In Illinois, state Rep. Martin Moylan, D-Des Plaines, has introduced a bill that would ban bump stocks, along with assault weapons, large-capacity magazines and large-caliber rifles. It’s an idea the Legislature should get behind.
Bump stocks have no legitimate purpose and deserve no defense from lawmakers, even in districts where hunting is popular. By using them, Las Vegas mass murderer Stephen Paddock was able to kill and wound more people than he could have with weapons that were only semiautomatic. The only function of bump stocks is to quickly kill as many people as possible.
Critics of a ban point out that getting rid of bump stocks would have no effect on the many types of gun crimes that don’t involve firing from semiautomatic or automatic weapons. But that’s not a reason not to do it. Why not try to save as many lives as possible from the next mass-murdering gunman?
A bill with a broader sweep that also will come up in the Legislature’s veto session, which starts Tuesday, would require state licensing of gun shops, similar to a law on the books in Chicago. By reining in the few gun shops that are a source for many of the weapons that turn up on crime scenes, that bill would help reduce the day-to-day gunfire on the streets of Chicago. It also deserves to become law.
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