Columbia, South Carolina, Bans Bump Stocks, Since Congress Won’t

Columbia, South Carolina, has become the first city to pass legislation prohibiting use of bump stocks-gun accessories like those used by Las Vegas gunman Stephen Paddock to increase firing rates to quasi-automatic speed. After this fall’s mass shootings, regulation of the deadly add-ons has fallen to local governments in the wake of congressional stagnation on the issue. “It’s time for the good guys with guns to begin to pass some really good policy,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, a Democrat and a gun owner, in an interview with Reuters.

At a Dec. 5 meeting, the four Columbia City Council members in attendance unanimously and without discussion voted for the measure after a first reading. It passed a required second vote Tuesday by a unanimous vote of the full council. The ordinance doesn’t explicitly ban the sale or ownership of bump stocks, but it does prohibit civilians from possessing a gun with a bump stock or a trigger crank attached. The penalty is a $500 fine, up to 30 days behind bars, or community service. Nevertheless, skeptics pointed out that even the relatively toothless measure might be overstepping the city council’s authority.

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