Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Spurred by last year’s mass shooting in Las Vegas, Washington on Tuesday became the latest in a handful of states to ban trigger devices that allow semi- automatic rifles to fire more rapidly.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed the ban on bump stocks, calling it a “commonsense piece of legislation.”
“It will help save lives from mass gun violence,” he said, surrounded by lawmakers and gun-control advocates.
Washington is one of more than 20 states to introduce legislation seeking to ban the devices after the Oct. 1 attack in Nevada – the deadliest in modern U.S. history.
Bans were previously passed by Massachusetts, New Jersey and the cities of Denver and Columbia, S.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Federal officials also are considering regulating or banning the devices.
California banned “multiburst trigger activators” in 1990, and last October the California Department of Justice issued an advisory to gun retailers saying bump stocks were illegal under that law. A bill has since been introduced in the Legislature there to specify the law would include bump stocks.
Using bump stocks, Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more at a country music festival while firing from a window of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino before killing himself.
Survivors and relatives of those killed testified in January about the Washington state bill.
The new law makes it illegal for anyone in Washington to manufacture or sell bump stocks beginning July 1.
In July 2019, it will become illegal to own or possess a bump stock in the state. A provision of the bill also allows the Washington State Patrol to set up a yearlong “buy back” program for people who already own the devices.
Republican state Sen. Mike Padden, who voted against the measure, said he didn’t think the state should have taken action while the federal government is evaluating bump stocks.