A bump stock installed on an AR-15 rifle. (JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Over the past week or so, gun license owners in Massachusetts have been receiving letters from the Executive Office of Safety and Security, telling them the deadline is looming for bump stocks and trigger cranks to become illegal in the Commonwealth.
"People have until February 1 to figure out how to get rid of these devices," State Rep. David Linskey told WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker.
A bump stock is a device that attaches to a weapon and uses energy from the recoil of that semi-automatic weapon to allow the shooter to pull the trigger much faster. Trigger cranks are devices that allow the shooter to pull the trigger repeatedly by turning a lever.
Bump stocks were reportedly used in the Oct. 1, 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the deadliest in modern history.
Rep. Linskey, who backed getting rid of the devices in legislation passed last fall, says there is no reason whatsoever for gun owners to own bump stocks, and that they have no place in a civilized society.
"They're incredibly dangerous, they're difficult to use, they cannot be aimed very well or very accurately," he said. "The only use they have is to be able to turn an otherwise legal semi-automatic weapon into a virtual automatic weapon."
Jim Wallace, Executive Director of the Gun Owner's Action League (GOAL), has issues with the short notification window, as well as the criminal prosecution that could follow for those who don't comply.
"It's no joke, either--it's not like it's a $100 fine," he said. "Possession of these items now could actually get you life in prison, because it's legally considered a machine gun."
He said the group is not sure how local or state law enforcement officials will handle the ban.
"How do they get a receipt proving they turned it in, if they're going to turn it in?" he asks. "Can they sell them out of state?"
Rep. Linskey said owners have had plenty of time to dispose of the devices.
"They've had an opportunity to dispose of them to someone who, not in Massachusetts, would be otherwise legally able to have them," he said. "They've had their opportunity, and it's time to get them off the street."
Wallace also said there have been conversation with attorneys about Constitutional issues.
"We're being told there's absolutely no compensation for them," he said. "That leads us to believe, is this an unlawful taking? And we're still trying to find the answer to that. Is it a 5th Amendment case? We're talking to attorneys all across the country about that."
Wallace said the ban is the result of the legislature rushing something and getting it totally wrong.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Ben Parker reports