When Seattle’s KIRO, the local CBS affiliate, asked whether bump stocks should be banned, an online — and unscientific — poll showed a majority of respondents have said “No” by a wide margin.
According to the poll results Tuesday evening, 64 percent of poll participants oppose the idea of banning the controversial accessory, while only 32 percent support the proposed ban. By Wednesday morning, opponents outnumbered supporters by more than two-to-one at 67 percent opposed to only 28 percent supporting. A hearing held Monday before the state Senate Law & Justice Committee in Olympia that drew about 1,000 people also revealed strong opposition, and also considerable support.
Increasing numbers of activists around the country are paying attention to Washington State to see how far these gun control measures get. The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Renee Hopkins of the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility has already hinted at the possibility of a citizen initiative if the Legislature fails to act.
At the KIRO 7 News Facebook page, more than 300 comments had been posted by 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. A majority of those remarks were also opposed to the proposed ban. The measure, SB 5992, passed out of committee Tuesday on a strict party line vote with Republicans opposing the bill.
Critics argued during Monday’s public hearing that the ban would accomplish nothing and that the bill goes beyond bump stock devices. Prior to the Las Vegas mass shooting last Oct. 1, very few people outside the shooting community had ever heard of the accessory, and there is no way to estimate how many people in Washington State own them.
But after Las Vegas, banning the bump stock has become something of an obsession with the gun prohibition lobby.
Social media has been busy with the bump stock controversy. Second Amendment activists argue that the ban will accomplish nothing.
Supporters of the ban, including people who survived the Las Vegas massacre, contend that the devices simply increase the danger to public safety.
If the legislation passes the Senate, it still faces tough going in the House, where even some Democrats have already indicated they will oppose this and other gun control legislation.
Other bills that drew public comment during Monday’s hearing have not come up for a vote in committee. They include a proposed ban on ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, a so-called “safe storage” bill, and one controversial measure to dismantle the state’s 35-year-old preemption statute that prohibits local governments from adopting their own gun laws.