OLYMPIA — The Washington State Patrol knows how it will go about buying banned bump stocks from residents.
Now, lawmakers and Gov. Jay Inslee must decide whether to provide the agency the money to do it.
The State Patrol has filed permanent rules for conducting the program, which was established earlier this year.
Those rules, which will be in force in late September, call for the payment of $150 to any Washington resident, excluding gun dealers, who turns in a working bump stock. The device, when attached to a semi-automatic firearm, enables the gun to fire rapidly as the recoil “bumps” the trigger.
As envisioned, the agency will hold buyback events around the state. Residents would get a receipt and a check mailed to them.
“Whenever the legislators fund this we’ll be ready to go,” state patrol Capt. Monica Alexander said.
A new state law banned the manufacture and sale of bump stocks as of July 1. It also makes it illegal to own or possess the devices beginning July 1, 2019. After that, they’ll be subject to seizure.
That law, Senate Bill 5992, directed the patrol to design and implement a buyback program subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
But lawmakers and the governor didn’t appropriate any money for the program in the 2018 supplemental budget.
The next opportunity to do so is in the coming legislative session when they will be working on both a 2019 supplemental budget and a new two-year operating budget for the state. Inslee will roll out his spending proposals in December and lawmakers will wrestle with their own spending plans throughout the session.
It isn’t clear exactly how much money is required. An analysis estimated the State Patrol would spend $74,000 to cover the salaries of staff at events and the cost of destroying what’s collected.
Additional dollars would be required to cover the actual purchases of bump stocks.
Inslee might tackle it ahead of lawmakers.
“We are looking to include some funding for this in the governor’s budget,” Deputy Communications Director Tara Lee said in an email Thursday. “It is much too early to know how much it would be until we get closer to finalizing the budget, and weighing it against all the other priorities.”
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.
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