Despite the urgency with which state lawmakers passed a bump-fire stock ban during the last legislative session, a buyback program lauded by legislators as an escape hatch for owners of the stock attachment was never funded.
That has meant delays for the Washington State Patrol, said WSP Communications Director Kyle Moore, which was slated to implement a buyback program at the start of July. Despite the lack of funds, the WSP is currently working to start the program by the end of the summer, said Moore.
The buyback program wasn’t originally part of the ban proposed in January by primary sponsor Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, but was introduced later as an amendment by Rep. Paul Graves, R-Fall City.
While $74,000 was earmarked for the proposal, the money only accounted for the administrative costs of the officers doing the groundwork of buying back the firearm accessory. No funds were allocated at the time for the purpose of compensating those relinquishing their bump stocks.
There is no official count on the number of bump-fire stocks in Washington and estimates vary widely, which made it difficult to predict the program’s cost.
“Nobody knew the price tag,” said Rick Manugian, communications specialist for Sen. Van De Wege.
In the rush to fulfill public safety concerns, Manugian said, legislators didn’t allocate funds for the newly added buyback program in advance of the bill’s passage. Currently, legislators plan on letting the WSP foot the bill for the program until the 2019 legislative session, when a bill could be passed to compensate the state patrol, said Manugian.
When the buyback program is finally launched, the State Patrol is authorized under the new law to pay $150 per bump-fire stock to owners. The stock would then be destroyed, likely by a third-party contractor.