South Carolina Mayor latest to push for ban on bump stocks

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. (Photo: City of Columbia)

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. (Photo: City of Columbia)

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said Wednesday that he plans to propose a city ordinance that would ban the use of bump stocks and trigger cranks, devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to mimic full auto fire.

“I believe in responsible gun ownership, and I believe in common sense,” Benjamin said in a statement announcing the ordinance. “That’s why I’ve decided to do what our federal and state governments are either unable or unwilling to do.”

“The simple fact is that automatic weapons have been illegal in this country for more than 30 years, and the only purpose these devices serve is to circumvent that law multiplying firing rates tenfold to approximately 400-800 rounds per minute and turning a semi-automatic firearm into a mass murder machine,” the mayor added.

Bump stocks have drawn much attention since the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, where the gunman used rifles equipped with the devices to kill 58 people and wound hundreds more at a country music festival.

Benjamin claimed at a Thursday press conference that he was not trying to demonize the gun rights community and said he own several guns and was a concealed weapons permit holder, the Charleston Post Courier reported.

The ordinance proposal would prohibit the possession of any gun equipped with bump stocks or trigger cranks and would impose punishments of up to 30 days in jail, a $500 fine or community service.

While the city cannot impose an outright ban on the devices, such legislation has been proposed at the state level by Democratic Rep. Leon Stavrinakis of Charleston that would ban the possession and sale of the devices statewide.

Stavrinakis said that two Republicans have already signed onto the bill and hopes that his proposal can provide uniformity across the state, especially if the U.S. Congress fails to pass a nationwide ban.