ESSEX (CBS) – Essex Police Chief Peter Silva held up a bump stock that someone turned in this week as the Massachusetts ban on the devices went into effect. “To my knowledge, this is the only one that’s been turned in to date,” he said.
State Police said they received three bump stocks and one trigger crank, as Massachusetts now becomes the first state in the country to make the devices illegal.
Controversy has swirled around them ever since a gunman used one to essentially turn a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic one, unleashing hundreds of rounds on a crowd of concertgoers in Los Vegas.
John Rosenthal, who heads up the group Stop Handgun Violence, lobbied for the ban. “There’s no question in my mind that people won’t turn them in,” he said.
Chief Silva says the one man who surrendered his bump stock in Essex this week explained why most are not likely to let go. “He was a little frustrated because of the fact that he’d paid a little over $250 on this piece here, and there was no redeeming value for him on the other side to recover that money.”
Rosenthal says that should not be an excuse to hold on to an illegal device. “These are devices that are designed to kill a lot of people quickly, and I’m not sure that we ought to be compensating people for giving up these devices that never should have been purchased in the first place,” he said.
All licensed gun owners in Massachusetts got letters explaining bump stocks would have to be surrendered by February 1. The new law carries stiff penalties, from 18 months to life behind bars for those found guilty.