State Senate passes bump stock ban

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA — The state Senate has passed a ban on trigger modification devices that are designed to accelerate a firearm’s rate of fire.

The measure to prohibit the devices, known as bump stocks, passed the chamber Thursday night on a 29-20 vote, with four Republicans voting with majority Democrats, including Democratic Sen. Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

Northwest News Network reported that the ban would make it illegal for anyone in Washington to manufacture or sell bump stocks beginning July 1. In July 2019, it would become illegal to own or possess a bump stock in Washington state.

“It aligns current practices with our state laws and our state laws have never allowed for fully automatic weapons,” Van De Wege said. “Therefore, I believe our state should not allow bump stocks.”

Van De Wege represents District 24, which covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

Democrats accepted an amendment from Republican Sen. Hans Zeiger — who voted for the final bill — that narrowed the definition of a trigger modification device.

The move to ban the devices came in response to last October’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left hundreds more injured.

Republican Doug Ericksen argued that the ban on bump stocks would not stop a “crazy, psycho” person from committing a mass shooting. He also warned that the ban could lead to police entering the homes of otherwise law-abiding citizens to seize the devices.

Last week, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a ban on bump stocks into law, and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is currently reviewing bump stocks to determine whether they should be included under a 1986 ban on machine guns.

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