For one gun owner, the bump stock was just a hunk of plastic that didn’t work as advertised and had been taking up space in his drawer for the past three years.
So Dave Cloninger, 62, of Spokane, sold it to the Washington State Patrol as part of the agency’s buyback program. He was among at least 26 people to do so on Monday.
A day earlier, 42 gun owners sold them to the WSP’s Spokane office for $150 each.
“I saw it on YouTube and thought it was a good idea to waste some shells,” Cloninger said of his bump stock. “But it never operated the way it was supposed to. It was a useless piece of plastic.”
The devices are scheduled to be banned by this summer in Washington under a 2018 law, which was designed to give patrol officials time to develop a buyback program. But the federal government later decided to ban them nationwide, starting March 26, so the Legislature recently set aside $150,000 to pay for the devices turned in before the federal deadline.
So far the State Patrol has bought back 520 bump stocks from Washington residents.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed the bump stocks buyback bill last week with an emergency clause, which means the money is available right away. As long as the funding lasts, the WSP will again accept the devices at its eight district offices between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on March 24 and 25.
In the Spokane area, the district office is located at 6403 W. Rowand Road, just east of the Geiger interchange. Other district locations and details of the buyback program can be found online at wsp.wa.gov/buyback.
Cloninger said he heard about the buyback program on a news report. The bump stock is an accessory that is designed to increase the rate of fire of a semi-automatic rifle. It received wide attention following the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1, 2017, when Stephen Paddock killed used bump stocks affixed to an AR-15 to kill 58 people and injure hundreds more during an outdoor concert.
Also selling his bump stock Monday was retired Air Force jet engine mechanic Fred Glaesemann, 70, of West Plains.
“The feds made owning one a felony and the state outlawed these, too,” said Glaesemann, who said he never tried the bump stock.
He found out about the Washington State Patrol program to purchase them and it was an easy decision to grab the $150, he said. “I did it for the money and to not get considered a felon.”
Cloninger said he bought his bump stock more than three years ago for about $100.
“I thought I was going to have to take it to a pawn shop,” he said. “It turned out to be a good investment. But, I should have bought a scope.”
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