Rep. Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way, battled tears during the House floor debate on a bill to ban bump stocks, while her colleague Tana Senn, D- Mercer Island turned to comfort her. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

Rep. Kristine Reeves, D-Federal Way, battled tears during the House floor debate on a bill to ban bump stocks, while her colleague Tana Senn, D- Mercer Island turned to comfort her. Photo by Taylor McAvoy

Washington State moves closer to bump stock ban

Before heading to the governor’s desk, the bill will return to the Senate for another vote.

A bill that would ban bump stocks, devices that increase a firearm’s rate of fire, is a step closer to becoming law.

SB 5992 passed the House of Representatives 56-41 on Friday, Feb. 23, largely along party lines. The bill had already passed the Senate on Jan. 25 in a vote of 29-20.

“It’s always been my belief that lawmakers should be judged not by what we say in response to gun violence but by what we do in response to gun violence,” Representative Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, said during floor debate.

The votes came in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, in which 17 people were killed at a high school. Since then, Parkland students have traveled to their state capital to lobby for further gun regulations while other students across the country have organized rallies in favor of gun regulation measures.

The conversation about bump stocks preceded the most recent outcry, having ignited across the country after a shooting at a country music concert in Las Vegas that killed 58 people.

While lawmakers addressed national news, state tragedies weighed heavy on their minds. Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, said she was a counselor responding to a shooting at Marysville Pilchuck High school on Oct. 24, 2014, when four students were killed before the gunman fatally shot himself.

“I know this isn’t going to make everything right, but it is a step in the right direction,” she said.

Of 48 Republican lawmakers, 40 voted against the bill. Representative Jay Rodne, R-Snoqualmie, said the bill sets up a system where the government can confiscate weapons and is an affront to the Second Amendment.

Representative Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, also voted against the measure. Shea served for eight months as a platoon leader in Bosnia and 11 months as a company commander and logistics officer in Iraq. He cited his military experiencing supporting a citizen’s right to protect themselves.

“It is not going to change the hearts of bad people,” Shea said of the bill. “It is not going to deal with the mental health crisis we have. It is not going to deal with the veteran suicide epidemic that we have. That’s where our priorities should be.”

Lawmakers on both sides of the isle pointed to mental health measures both in national news and in Washington state.

A supplemental operating budget, SB 6032, passed the Senate floor 25-23 on Friday, Feb. 23, and would invest nearly $294 million additional dollars over four years to improve mental health treatment around the state, according to a press release.

Nine amendments proposed during the debate on the bump stock ban outlined exemptions for people with disabilities, as well as veterans and law enforcement officers, and one would have allowed people to keep the bump stocks they already have.

Eight of the nine amendments failed. If signed by the governor, the bill would make bump stocks illegal to manufacture or sell beginning in July 2018, and then illegal to own in July 2019. The amendment that passed sets up a buy-back program so people who own bump stocks can receive some sort of compensation within that period.

Before going to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk to sign, the bill will go back to the Senate for consideration on the amendment.

This report was produced by the Olympia bureau of the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association.

More in Northwest

Bill targets sexual health curriculum in Washington schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study shows King County’s treatment funding is making progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Children’s play area at Seadrunar. Photo by Lauren Davis via Facebook
Seedy side of Seadrunar: Drug rehab center accused of neglect, exploitation

Public records reveal that Seattle facility was accused of neglecting children and clients in its care.

Russell Wilson and Ciara spoke Friday at the Tukwila Library to Foster students and other attendees as their Why Not You Foundation joined forces with the King County Library System and JPMorgan Chase to launch the DREAM BIG: Anything is Possible campaign. Photo by Kayse Angel
Russell Wilson and Ciara launch DREAM BIG campaign

Partnership with King County libraries dovetails with scholarship program for local students.

Somali community faces SeaTac displacement

Proposed redevelopment threatens the heart of the Somali business community.

Brandi Carlile needs more mantle space after taking winning three Grammys on Sunday night.
Seattle cleans up at Grammys

Brandi Carlile, Seattle Symphony, and Chris Cornell combine to take home six awards.

Legislation targets missing and murdered indigenous women epidemic

Savanna’s Act co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA); Washington ranks among highest in nation

OfferUp founder Nick Huzar makes customer safety a core pillar

Bellevue-based CEO wanted a simpler solution to his own problems

Exit poll indicates Washington voters still support climate change action

State environmental organizations’ poll points to continuing support for carbon-reducing measures.

Most Read