HARTFORD – State Representative Terrie Wood (R-141) today applauded the passage of two bills through the Judiciary Committee designed to reduce gun deaths in Connecticut by targeting ways potential criminals could circumvent existing firearm legislation.
Rep. Wood supports both concepts, which she described as “reasonable proposals” that could prevent future tragedies without infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners.
HB 5542 would ban the sale or transfer, possession, manufacturing or use of bump stocks or other accessories to increase the rate of fire of a firearm. As Rep. Wood noted, public awareness of bump stocks and similar devices increased after the Las Vegas mass shooting in October, when the shooter primarily used a bump stock on his AR-15 to allow automatic firing, resulting in 58 deaths and 489 wounded. Fully automatic weapons have been illegal since 1986.
“With this legislation, we are eliminating a loophole that allows individuals to circumvent the 1986 federal ban on fully automatic weapons,” said Rep. Wood. “The Judiciary Committee heard testimony from gun owners who agreed that there is no legitimate use for bump stocks, which makes legal guns more reckless and dangerous by reducing their accuracy. Bump stocks mainly give gun enthusiasts the novelty of experiencing what it’s like to shoot an automatic weapon, and are not used for hunting, sport, or self-defense. A novelty experience is not enough to justify the hideous, preventable crimes that can be committed with them.”
Rep. Wood is also advocating for HB 5540 to prohibit “ghost guns” – guns without serial numbers. The legislation essentially regulates all firearms that are sold in a form requiring the purchaser to finish assembly of the weapon or any gun that is homemade.
“Homemade guns without serial numbers are another way to skirt existing gun laws and they present a serious risk to public safety, which is why HB 5540 is a sensible measure that can help reduce gun violence in Connecticut,” said Rep. Wood.
“These measures, combined with an increased focus on mental health services and identifying at-risk individuals, can help us all work together to reduce gun violence,” added Rep. Wood.
After approval by the Judiciary Committee, HB 5542 and HB 5540 head to the State House floor and, later, to the State Senate for debate.