Tennessee bump stock ban scuttled in committees without discussion

A Democrat-sponsored bill to outlaw bump stocks in Tennessee died without discussion Tuesday in Republican-controlled committees of the state House and Senate.

In the House Civil Justice Committee, Chairman Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) initially declared the bill (HB1461) by Rep. Dwayne Thompson (D-Memphis) to have received the necessary motion and second to begin debate, but House Majority Leader Glen Casada (R-Franklin) promptly told him there was no seconding motion.

Carter then asked again for a seconding motion and, receiving none, declared the bill dead. Thompson asked that people on hand to testify in favor of the bill be allowed to speak, but Carter decline, saying “How do we have a speech on a bill that doesn’t exist?”

In the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) later told sponsor Sen. Lee Harris (D-Memphis) that the bill was dead in the House and Harris agreed to shelve the bill without a vote. The Judiciary Committee closed for the year after Tuesday’s meeting.

From The Tennessean’s report:

The devices modify semi-automatic weapons so they can mimic the rate of fire of fully automatic guns and were used in the deadliest mass shooting in modern history, according to authorities.  Stephen Paddock used bump stocks to kill 59 people and wound more than 500 others during a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip last year.

… Survivors of the Las Vegas shooting had been expected to testify before the Senate committee.

“(The bill’s failing) is unfortunately indicative of what’s happened over the last few years,” said Thompson. “I believe that the majority, frankly, is just afraid to have this conversation, afraid to hear things their benefactors would not like to be made public.”

House Republican lawmakers have angered Democrats and gun-control advocates by refusing to take up the measure, waiting on federal action and for previously refusing to hear from the Tennessee survivors in a House committee… Casada, R-Franklin, said previously there’s no need to take up the measure because federal officials are expected to ban bump stocks under existing law.

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