Hawaii, national leaders urge 'bump stock' ban after Vegas shooting
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas has ignited debate over bump stocks, the device Stephen Paddock apparently rigged his rifles with to shoot rapid fire.
Bump stocks became legal nationwide in 2010, when the federal government decided the device could not be regulated since it was only part of a firearm.
In a surprising move, the powerful National Rifle Association called for stricter rules Thursday.
"Devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations," the NRA said in a statement.
Harvey Gerwig, president of the Hawaii Rifle Association, says he was surprised by the NRA's announcement, but agrees.
"I'm happy to see them take a little more of a middle road. Let's look at it and see what makes sense to save lives," Gerwig said.
Gerwig says bump stocks aren't common in Hawaii, but can be bought online for as little as $50.
How it works -- the device replaces the rifle's standard stock and allows the weapon to rapidly "bump" the shooter's trigger finger back and forth.
A bill has been introduced in Congress to fully ban the sale and possession of these devices, but Gerwig believes that goes too far.
"Let's take a deeper dive and look at this and see should we perhaps be looking further into the background of people buying these, so then it becomes a registered item," said Gerwig.
"Something that creates a functionally automatic weapon by all means ought to be illegal also," said state Rep. Gregg Takayama.
Takayama, chair of the House public safety committee, says while Hawaii has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country, more can still be done.
"Our laws do not specifically prohibit the possession of these bump stocks. We need a bill to specifically say that such devices are illegal to use here in Hawaii," Takayama said.
Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, joined her Democratic colleagues in introducing a bill that would ban the importation, sale, manufacture, transfer, and possession of gun magazines that hold more than ten rounds of ammunition.
Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.