After the October shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival left scores dead and many more wounded, lawmakers rushed to enact legislation they hoped would prevent similar slaughters in their home districts. Many made bump-stocks illegal and demanded that owners turn over the devices. Those new laws, though, may not be working as politicians had hoped.
Take Denver. After making the add-ons illegal, and enacting steep fines and jail time for possession of the devices, the city has yet to have a single bump-stock turned in to police.
“The ban on bump-stocks approved by the city council in January was considered largely symbolic,” The Denver Post writes. “Denver had previously banned the types of semi-automatic rifles that can be modified with bump stocks.”
Denver isn’t a firearms-friendly city, for sure. In addition to “the types of semi-automatic rifles that can be modified with bump stocks” and bump-stocks, Denver has prohibited magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
“Since Friday…zero devices have been turned in to the department,” Denver Police spokesman Doug Schepman wrote in a statement. “The department will indefinitely offer this safe method of disposal for Denver residents wishing to turn in a bump stock.”
Bump-stocks are a specific type of device. Denver defines them like this: “any device for a pistol, rifle, or shotgun that increases the rate of fire achievable with such weapon by using energy from the recoil of the weapon to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates repeated activation of the trigger.”
Anyone caught with a bump-stock (even one that isn’t on a rifle) will face a fine. The low end is $100, and the high appears to be $999. In addition, offenders might face up to 180 days in jail.
The bill was proposed by State Sen. Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs. His initial bill had more stringent penalties and would classify offenders as Class 5 felons.
“Why would you need a bump stock unless you intended to kill as many people as fast as you could?” he told the Post. “That should not be a partisan issue. Protecting the lives of Colorado citizens from insane mass killers should be something we should all be happy to join in.”