Bump stocks ban, other bills pass as end of legislative session nears

Washington State Capitol

OLYMPIA, Wash. – It’s the do-or-die hour in Olympia right now where all bills not related to the budget must pass both chambers in order to become law.  New this year, democrats control both the House and the Senate along with the governor’s mansion.

We’re still waiting to hear what will happen to a bill that would abolish the death penalty in our state.  For many lawmakers, it comes down to an ethical or moral decision.  For others, it’s about the fiscal strain it has on our state’s budget.  What’s in the books is some gun control bills.  A ban on bump stocks already passed.

“It’s basically an accessory, but the idea that the State Patrol can buy back the device for up to $155 will create a black market. They are easy to manufacture. You can build them in your backyard and it’s what people are focusing (on) since the Las Vegas shooting but they are seldom used,” said state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch.

Bucking the party line, Sheldon doesn’t think about guns like most of his Democratic counterparts.

“The urban Democrats have a lot to learn about the lifestyle that the people live in a rural area — how people grow up, familiarity they have with weapons,” said Sheldon.

Despite his concerns, the bump stocks ban passed.  And if you’re convicted of a domestic violence charge, no guns for you either.

“It would provide about $40 per tax payer and I can tell you that’s not going to cut it with my constituents so that was very disappointing to see,” said state Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place.

A Democratic-sponsored car tab fee relief bill did pass the state Senate and is still awaiting action in the House, but it didn’t go far enough if you ask O’Ban, who introduced his own Senate amendment, which failed.

“Within this bill is a provision that would rob a fund that was set up for vulnerable children and homelessness issues and it will now be used to offset the loss to Sound Transit. I’m just still trying to get my mental arms around that,” said O’Ban.

Democrats argue Sound Transit can’t afford to take a financial hit and still provide the light rail expansion voters overwhelmingly supported.  So O’Ban vows to introduce his counter bill every session he remains in office.

The word on the hill is that lawmakers will likely pass the bill on increasing the age limit to buy assault rifles from 18 to 21.  We’re hearing that will happen Saturday afternoon.  This, of course, is in reaction to the school shooting that killed 17 people at a high school in Parkland, Florida.