OLYMPIA — Owners of 1,000 bump stocks will be getting $150 apiece from taxpayers for their outlawed firearm accessories.
Those owners turned theirs over to the Washington State Patrol during four days of buybacks that ended midday Monday.
Several dozen others probably wish they had acted earlier. They arrived in the afternoon with their bump stocks only to learn the agency had stopped issuing payment vouchers because it had committed all of the program’s $150,000 allotment.
Nonetheless, those devices were taken and will be destroyed, said agency spokesman Chris Loftis.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a nationwide ban on the making, selling and possessing of the attachments took effect after Chief Justice John Roberts refused to put the prohibition on hold while it’s litigated.
Two separate groups of challengers had sought emergency intervention by the high court.
The lawsuits contend that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives improperly expanded the government’s longstanding definition of machine guns to include bump stocks, which are attachments that can make a semiautomatic rifle fire more rapidly, like a machine gun. Machine guns have been heavily regulated in the U.S. since 1934 and virtually banned since 1986.
Washington banned the manufacture and sale of bump stocks last year and made it illegal to possess them as of July. They also directed the state patrol to develop a buyback program but failed to fund it until earlier this month. They did so to give owners a chance to turn them in before the federal ban was in place.
Residents could surrender up to five bump stocks at any of the state patrol’s eight district offices, and many people did bring in more than one, Loftis said.
Of the total, 161 were collected at the District 7 office in Marysville, which serves Snohomish, Skagit, Island and Whatcom counties.
That was second behind Tacoma’s total of 261. There were 153 relinquished at the office in Spokane and 151 in Seattle, he said.
While the money’s run out, those possessing a bump stock still need to properly dispose of them.
“They are illegal after today to possess,” Loftis said. “It is a felony to possess them. We’re encouraging people to either destroy them on their own or bring them in.”
There is more information on the ATF website about how to do that, he said.
This report includes information from wire services, including Bloomberg.