I am Dennis Greenhouse representing the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and the Giffords Organization. I am here today to support HB 300 the bill to ban bump stocks and trigger cranks in Delaware.
Let’s go back in history. In 1929 seven Chicago mobsters murdered seven rivals with machine guns. In 1934 Congress responded to this and enacted the National Firearms Act (NFA). The purpose of the act was to limit the ability of a single civilian to inflict mass casualties. At that time machine guns and bombs were considered the most dangerous weapons. Since the enactment very few murders with machine guns have occurred.
Now we fast forward to the present. It seems that the federal government is unwilling to pass a national law to ban bump stocks. That means state and local governments must take the lead. Bump Stocks are not regulated by the NFA, even though they can create similar effects of a machine gun. Bump Stocks circumvent the NFA Act.
Since the mass shooting in Las Vegas the City of Columbia SC made bump stocks illegal. Mayor Steve Benjamin, a gun owner, said and I quote “That’s why I decided to do what our federal and state governments are unwilling to do. I’ve decided to act by introducing a City ordinance to ban the use of bump stocks and trigger cranks in the City of Columbia. The ordinance passed unanimously. In November of 2017 Massachusetts Republican Lt. Gov. acting on behalf of the Governor signed a bill to ban bump stocks. One of his last acts as Governor Chris Christie signed a bill to ban bump stocks.
People say that the Vegas shooting may have been an isolated incident but incidents can happen anytime anywhere. Imagine if the shooter at the Sandy Hook Elementary School had a bump stock. Imagine if the Beltway Snipers had bump stocks when they went on their killing spree. Imagine if the shooter who shot Gabby Giffords and others at a supermarket had a bump stock. Imagine if the shooter of Representative Steve Scalise had a bump stock.
Other governments have taken the right step now its Delaware’s turn. The House should pass this bill, move it to the Senate for them to pass and then on to Gov. Carney for his signature.
You took your chance when you bought a bump stock does the government reimburse you for a marriage license when you get a divorce.
I am George Higgins, a resident of Hockessin and Executive Director Emeritus of the Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence. I speak in support of HB300, to regulate bump stocks and other devices designed to accelerate a firearm’s rate of fire. As a gun owner myself, appointee to the Firearm Suicide Prevention Coalition, advisory member of the Delaware Violent Death Reporting System and member of the Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition, I wish to bring a sobering perspective.
The Las Vegas shooting resulted in 58 deaths and injured more than 700. With law enforcement closing in, the shooter took his own life. As reported by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, 14 bump stocks affixed to the shooter’s guns were found at the crime scene.
The gun lobby likes to frame the “assault weapon” as a “modern sporting rifle”. The Las Vegas shooting readily illustrates the “modern sport” for which these rifles and rate-of-fire enhancing devices have been designed.
To be clear, mass shootings are perpetrated by people who have no “exit plan.” They do not expect to survive, by definition these shooters are suicidal.
The Las Vegas shooter had built an arsenal, scouted out the terrain, acted just like everyone else, not divulging the specific plan – exactly what happened at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Isla Vista, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Sandy Hook and just about everywhere else where a rampage shooting has occurred since 1966 from the top of the University of Texas Tower.
Suicidal shooters building arsenals are now including rate-of-fire enhancing devices like the bump stock – rhetorically, how at risk are we here in Delaware?
Let me show you a photo – the mother of a 20-something young man who had recently completed suicide, walked into Troop-1 Penn Hill to relinquish firearms her son had accumulated. He had at his disposal assault weapons, plenty of ammunition, and high capacity magazines. Highly-armed and suicidal, this time we lost this one young man alone, though the risk is apparent, the choice of who he shot was solely his.
Consider public safety for the Firefly Festival and similar events; without bump stocks for these “modern sporting weapons” there will be less mess to clean up when the inevitable happens.
Please support and champion expedited passage of HB 300.