ALBANY When Manhattan state Sen. Brad Hoylman set out to see how easy it was to obtain a bump stock device it didnt take long for him to find a disturbing answer.
“Within a few keystrokes, I had ordered one which was delivered to my apartment in about a week’s time,” Hoylman, a Democrat and gun control advocate, told the Daily News Thursday.
Hoylman said a simple Google search led him to the site of a manufacturer Slide Fire Solutions that sold the devices, which allows semi-automatic rifles to mimic machine guns. The purchase was completed in 15 minutes and cost $159.95 plus an additional $14.95 for shipping.
“It should not be this easy to buy devices this dangerous,” Hoylman said, noting that a bump stock was used by Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock when he killed 58 concertgoers in October.
Justice Dept. thinks it can ban bump stocks without Congress
I have to admit I felt a little sick when it arrived because these devices could have easily ended up in the hands of somebody with bad intentions, Hoylman said.
The ready availability of bump stocks, Hoylman said, is a stark reason why New York needs to close a loophole in state law that makes them illegal to use but not illegal to sell or possess.
(The loophole) makes no sense because the only reason to own a bump stock would be to use it unless you are a state senator wanting to see how easy it is to buy one, Hoylman said.
Hoylman is one of a handful of state lawmakers whove introduced legislation to ban the devices in New York. The bills, however, have become ensnared in the heated debate over gun control and face an uncertain fate in the GOP-controlled Senate.
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Although President Trump has said the federal government will act administratively to ban bump stocks, Hoylman and other gun control advocates believe that Washington cannot be trusted to take action.
Since the Las Vegas massacre, at least two states New Jersey and Massachusetts have passed laws banning bump stocks and other states are considering them, said David Chipman, senior policy advisor at Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.
Clearly these states are doing this because Congress hasnt acted and solved the problem, said Chipman, a retired ATF agent.
To me its an urgent situation, Chipman said. We all know that there are a lot of guns out there and there a lot of people determined to kill other people but what weve got to focus on are these devices that turn committed killers into killing machines.
Do more, Mr. President
Republican leaders in the state Senate did not respond to requests for comment on Hoylman’s bill, but on Wednesday they defeated an effort by Senate Democrats to force a vote on several gun control measures including a bump stock ban.
In a statement Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) said GOP lawmakers were preparing a package of bills to bolster school safety but did not mention anything about new gun restrictions.
A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo said the governor supports efforts to ban bump stocks but also believes the onus should be on the federal government to adopt stricter gun measures.
“We support this and other legislation that will further strengthen the strongest gun safety laws in the country, but as the governor said, to most effectively curb gun violence we need federal action and the lack of federal action on this is alarming, Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi said.
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Hoylman hopes that in the wake of last months school shooting in Parkland, Fla., theres enough political pressure to force the state Legislature to take action.
“If we can’t ban a piece of plastic because of the NRA, that speaks volumes about their power over out gun laws, he said. You shouldn’t have to move heaven and earth to ban a piece of plastic.