Legislature passes bump stock ban

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In a rare victory for advocates of gun control, the Washington legislature sent a bill to Governor Inslee’s desk Tuesday that will ban possession, sale and manufacture of bump fire stocks over the course of the next year and a half.

The vote came the same day as Democrats introduced legislation to keep “tactical” rifles out of the hands of those under 21 years old. The term tactical rifle refers to a semi-automatic military-style rifle, and was used by the legislation’s drafters instead of the more contentious term “assault weapon,” which gun-rights advocates have long considered meaningless.

In the wake of a recent shooting at a Florida high school where 17 lost their lives, the legislature is feeling renewed pressure to pass a ban on bump stocks, originally inspired after the device was used to commit last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas,

The Senate originally voted in favor of the ban several weeks ago but had to take up the issue for the second time during the legislative session after the bill was sent back amended from the House. The amendment in question creates a buyback program for bump stocks turned in to Washington State Patrol.

Some senators questioned the effectiveness of the buyback program, which directs the state to pay as much as $150 for each device turned over. Bump stocks are easily manufactured, said Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, and the program would encourage people looking for a quick buck to abuse the system.

“We don’t have any idea how many bump stocks there are in the state,” Padden said. “There’s an incentive to have more if the Washington State Patrol is going to pay $150.”

The final vote in the Senate was 31-18. Though the measure garnered significant bipartisan support — particularly striking for any gun control legislation — no lawmaker from Central Washington voted in support of the bill.

Inslee has indicated that he will sign the bill.

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