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WA Democrats revive proposed ban on high capacity magazines

A proposal that would ban high capacity magazines is alive again. (AP)

A proposed ban on so-called high capacity magazines failed to get passed ahead of a key Wednesday deadline. Now, though, it’s been revived in the form of a new bill proposed by Washington state Democrats.

A high capacity magazine ban was a high priority bill for state Democrats this session. Even so, the state Senate never had the votes to get its original version to ban the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

Gun magazine ban, felon voting rights die at session cutoff

House Speaker Rep. Laurie Jinkins says they had the votes in the House to pass a version limiting magazines to no more than 15 rounds, but it still died after failing to get a vote in time.

She had stated earlier this session she was optimistic about the measure passing, and was asked Thursday why it didn’t get a vote.

“Is you’re question is rhetorical, 120 amendments,”Jinkins replied, referring to the procedural tactic Republicans used to block a vote, proposing over 100 amendments to run out the clock ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.

“One of the things we have to figure out here is the trade off in time [needed to debate amendments to get to a vote], no one could actually remember a time when we worked through 120 amendments,” Jinkins said.

She admitted there was frustration over that many amendments be added, especially when so many of them were just about changing one word or another.

But she also suggested it was a learning opportunity.

“Eventually the message people might get is that bill titles and the substance of bills needs to be very specific in order to resist that kind of thing happening,” Jinkins said.

Enter HB 2947, a brand new House bill limiting magazines to 15 rounds from the same sponsor, but with a stronger, more detailed title.

“The title on this one is much tighter and it will be more difficult to draft that many (120 amendments),” Republican Rep. Morgan Irwin said in an interview Thursday.

Though Republicans are not happy about this new bill, Irwin said they’re not overly concerned — even if it did pass the House, it still doesn’t have the votes in the Senate.

Gun safety advocates push Olympia on high capacity magazines

Unlike the original bill, this new version includes a buyback program that would allow people to turn in up to five large magazines in exchange for money. Washington State Patrol would run the buyback program, similar to what they did when the state recently banned bump stocks. It would hold events in a variety of locations around the state from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021.

State Patrol would mostly determine how much money magazine owners would get, but it would largely be based on fair market value. Money to fund the buyback program would come from repealing the B&O tax exemption on the sale of precious metals like gold and silver bars, and coins.

Because of the buyback program, the new bill is budget related, meaning that it’s exempt from the usual cut-off deadlines. That makes it a live bill until the legislative session ends.

So far no public hearing has been scheduled for the new proposal.

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