Columbia, S.C., has banned the use of bump stocks in the city, but not their sale. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to Columbia’s mayor, Steve Benjamin, about the motivation behind the ordinance.
All right. Let’s shift our attention to Columbia, S.C., which has now become one of the first U.S. cities to ban the use of so-called bump stocks. That’s the firearm attachment that enables a semi-automatic rifle to fire more quickly. The man who killed 58 people in Las Vegas in October used a gun that was equipped with a bump stock, so he was able to fire about 90 shots in 10 seconds. That’s comparable to the speed of fully automatic rifles, which have long been illegal under federal law. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin proposed this new ordinance, and he is on the line now.
Thanks so much for being with us, Mr. Mayor.
STEVE BENJAMIN: Rachel, thank you so much for having me.
MARTIN: This measure, as I understand it – this is not an outright ban, right? It is still legal to own and sell bump stocks in Columbia. You just can’t use them.
BENJAMIN: It was important for us to make sure that we crafted an ordinance that was both constitutionally and statutorily sound. The Second Amendment is at least fairly clear and so are our state laws. So yes, we cannot ban them – ownership of them outright. We could prohibit their use in the city and their attachment to a legal firearm. And that’s what we did in this ordinance. It is now under state law. All we can do is issue a misdemeanor. So someone who attaches one would be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine and 30 days in jail in Columbia, S.C.