Washington Senate Committee Votes to Ban "Bumpstocks"

Jan 16, 2018

An overflow crowd listened Monday to a series of hearings on gun control bills in the Washington legislature.
Credit Enrique Perez de la Rosa/Northwest News Network

A Washington state Senate committee this morning (Tuesday) approved a bill that would ban so-called “bumpstocks.”

Those are devices attached to a weapon that allow it to fire much more rapidly than it normally would. A bumpstock was used during the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October, an event to which Sen. Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) alluded before the vote.

“The Las Vegas shooting was a horrific shooting. We all have some people at least we’ve heard of or might know that were involved in that terrible tragedy. Nobody, nobody wants any part of mass shootings," Padden said. "The difference in opinion is how to address these. We feel it’s better addressed normally by mental health, rather than banning weapons.”

He suggested an amendment that would narrow the definition of a “bumpstock”, among other things.

The committee chair, Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle), said he would work with Padden on his amendment. But, for now, he said it was important to move ahead.

“We have a very long-standing law in our state against fully-automatic weapons and the effect of these devices is essentially to make semi-automatic weapons the same as a fully-automatic weapon. So I’m going to ask for a no vote,” Pedersen said.

The “bumpstock” bill now moves to the Rules Committee, which determines which bills go to the full Senate for votes. Thanks to TVW for the sound in this story.