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Washington State Legislature Passes Bill Banning Bump Stocks.

With calls for stricter gun regulations intensifying across the nation following the deadly Florida school shooting which killed 17 people recently, the Washington State Legislature on Tuesday passed a bill to ban bump stocks - an add-on device that allows a semi-automatic rifle to function almost like a fully automatic weapon.

The Bump Stock Ban bill was passed Tuesday on a 31-18 vote after the Washington Senate accepted the changes made by the House of Representatives. Before giving it a green signal, the House on Friday made one change to the bill, thus allowing people who already possess bump stocks to sell them to the Washington State Patrol or a local law enforcement agency for $150, the Seattle Times (https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-legislature-passes-bump-stock-ban/) reported.

The bill now requires the approval of Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it soon. Once the new legislation sets in, manufacture or sale of bump fire stocks in Washington will become illegal from July 1. Also, it would become illegal to own or possess a bump stock in the state from July 2019.

"It is crucial that we ensure that weapons are not turned into illegal machine guns," Democratic Sen. Manka Dhingra said after the passage of the bill. "I think the culture has changed, where a lot of people really want to see sensible, targeted gun legislation."

During the floor debate, Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon said: "We can do better than this. When a legislative body acts under pressure and feels they must act right away we often don't get it right."

In a Twitter post after the vote, Inslee said: "This is a modest, common sense piece of legislation that will help prevent further gun violence, though there's a lot more we can do this session."

After the Florida shooting incident, President Donald Trump asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to draft regulations to ban bump fire stocks. Similarly, the National Rifle Association said in a statement at the time that it "believes that devices designed to allow semi-automatic rifles to function like fully-automatic rifles should be subject to additional regulations."

It may be noted that though Nikolas Cruz, the suspect in the Florida shooting, didn't use a bump fire stock, the device was used by the accused in a mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed more than 50 people in October 2017.

According to the (https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/12/26/2017-27898/application-of-the-definition-of-machinegun-to-bump-fire-stocks-and-other-similar-devices) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives , "Bump fire stocks (bump stocks) are devices used with a semi-automatic firearm to increase the firearm's cyclic firing rate to mimic nearly continuous automatic fire."

Attaching bump stocks to a semi-automatic rifle could allow it to shoot faster and also enable it to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, according to experts, Fox News reported. At present, bump stocks are legal across the U.S. barring two states - Massachusetts and New Jersey. Massachusetts passed a bill in November 2017, thus becoming the first state to enact a ban on both sale and possession of bump stocks. In January, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill favoring the ban on the device.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Feb 28, 2018
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