State legislators to introduce ban on rapid fire or 'multiburst trigger activators' in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Oct. 5 – State Reps. Madeleine Dean, D-Montgomery, and Dom Costa, D-Allegheny, today announced their plan to introduce legislation to update the state’s definition of “offensive weapons” to include firearm modifications that assist in rapid firing, like the ones used in the Las Vegas shooting, which resulted in 59 deaths and over 500 injured.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families in Sunday night’s shooting,” Dean said. "But I am also reminded of the words of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords: ‘The truth is, for those who have the power to act and to save lives, thoughts and prayers are not nearly enough.’ And as legislators, we do have the power and the responsibility to act. This is why we are putting forth legislation to ban weapons that have no place in civilian society -- weapons that we have seen can kill and maim hundreds in a matter of minutes.”

The Pennsylvania Crimes Code currently bans “offensive weapons,” which includes items such as machine guns, sawed-off shotguns, and grenades. Violation of this section carries a penalty of a first-degree misdemeanor. The proposed legislation would add “multiburst trigger activators” to the list of offensive weapons and includes items such as binary triggers and slide fire/bump stocks.

“As a strong supporter of our Second Amendment rights and a former 28-year veteran law enforcement officer and chief of police of a major city, I believe no civilian without approval and licensed authorization of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms should be permitted to own or poses an instrument or device that modifies a legal semi-automatic firearm into a modified full automatic firearm,” Costa said.

“Our law enforcement officers should never have to face someone using a weapon that they cannot compete with or defend themselves against. I feel it my duty and responsibility to our community and our law enforcement officers to take action through this legislation to protect them.”

The firearm modifications included in the proposed legislation are described as being able to simulate fully automatic rates of fire, and able to expel over 600 rounds per minute -- more than nine rounds per second.

This legislation is supported by PA SAFE, the Pennsylvania state House of Representative’s firearm safety caucus. A copy of the co-sponsorship memo circulated can be found here: www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=24683

Dean and Costa said they are hoping for swift action on this legislation.