Bump stocks, the devices that essentially turn a semiautomatic gun into a machine gun, will soon be outlawed in the state of Washington.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill today prohibiting the sale and use of bump stocks, which are a devastating tool in the hands of a mass shooter. The perpetrator of the deadliest shooting in U.S. history used bump stocks last year on the Las Vegas strip, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds more.
The bill Inslee signed makes it a crime to manufacture, sell, purchase, own, furnish, assemble, repair, loan, transport or possess bump stocks in Washington. The legislation, Senate Bill 5992, also increases the prison sentence for someone who uses a bump stock while committing a felony.
The parts of the bill prohibiting the manufacturing and sale of these devices take effect July 1 of this year, while the rest of the bill takes effect July 1, 2019.
Sen. Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim was the bill’s primary sponsor.
“Our state has never allowed fully automatic weapons, and therefore I believe our state should not allow bump stocks,” Van De Wege said. “As we learned tragically in the Las Vegas massacre, the bump stock gives a legal semi-automatic rifle the rapid-fire capability of a machine gun, which is illegal. This was an end run around decades of Washington law.”
A bump stock replaces the standard stock of a firearm to allow the gun to slide back and forth when fired, causing the gun to reset without the shooter having to move a finger. This allows the gun to fire off shots at a frequency similar to that of an automatic weapon.
The new law directs the Washington State Patrol to create a bump stock buyback program that allows people to relinquish their bump stocks in exchange for $150 per device. WSP will run the program in coordination with local police agencies.
Beginning July 1, 2019, law enforcement officials who encounter bump stocks can seize them immediately.
“Devices that turn legal guns into weapons of war have no place in the hands of civilians in Washington state, and sensible gun regulations, including banning these devices, can help reduce violence in our communities,” Inslee said. “I applaud the Legislature for passing this bill, and I encourage lawmakers to continue to work to fight the scourge of gun violence.”