/Washington: Semi-Automatic Rifle Ban Passes Washington State Legislature

Washington: Semi-Automatic Rifle Ban Passes Washington State Legislature

BELLINGHAM: The ban on dozens of semi-automatic rifles cleared the Washington state Legislature on Wednesday and the governor is expected to sign it into law.
High-powered firearms, once banned nationwide, are now the weapon of choice among the youth responsible for most of the country’s devastating mass shootings.
The ban comes after multiple failed attempts at the state Legislature and amid the most mass shootings in the first 100 days of a calendar year since 2009.
The Washington law would block the sale, distribution, manufacture and import of more than 50 types of weapons, including AR-15s, AK-47s and similar-style rifles. These weapons fire one round each time the trigger is pulled and automatically reload for a subsequent shot. Some exemptions are included for sales to law enforcement and the military in Washington.
The law would take effect immediately once it is signed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who has long advocated for such a ban. When the bill passed the state House in March, Inslee said he had believed it since 1994 when, as a member of the US Congress, he voted to make the ban federal law.
After the bill passed, Inslee said Washington state “will not accept gun violence as normal.”
Inslee said lives will be saved through a ban on semi-automatic rifles and two other measures passed by the Legislature this session: one that introduced a 10-day waiting period on gun purchases and another to hold gun manufacturers accountable. for negligent sales.
Republican state lawmakers opposed the ban, with some arguing that school shootings should be addressed by redeveloping buildings to make them less attractive to targets and others saying it infringes on people’s rights to defend themselves.
“HB 1240 clearly violates our state and federal constitutions, which is why it will end up in court immediately,” said Sen. linda wilson from Vancouver said.
The US Congress reinstating the ban on semi-automatic rifles seems a long way off. But President Joe Biden and other Democrats have become increasingly emboldened to push for stricter gun controls, and to do so without clear electoral consequences.
Nine states, including California, New York and Massachusetts, along with the District of Columbia, have already passed similar bans, and courts have upheld the constitutionality of the laws, according to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
In Colorado, lawmakers debated similar gun measures Wednesday, but a sweeping ban on semi-automatic firearms faces tougher odds.
Lawmakers in the Texas Capitol shelved a list of proposed new gun restrictions without a vote after hours of emotional appeals from the Uvalde families whose sons were killed last year. The hearing did not end until early Wednesday morning.
When Biden and other lawmakers talk about “assault weapons,” they use a loose term to describe a group of high-powered firearms or semi-automatic long rifles, like an AR-15, that can quickly fire 30 rounds without reloading. By comparison, NYPD officers carry a handgun that fires about half as long.
During the debate over the Washington state bill, Democrats spoke of frequent mass shootings that have killed people in churches, nightclubs, supermarkets and schools.
Senator Liz Lovelett de Anacortes said children’s concerns about school shootings need to be addressed.
“They are marching in the streets. They are asking us to take action.” lovelett saying. “We have to be able to give our children reasons to feel hopeful.”
Another gun control bill passing in Washington this session would allow people whose family members die from gun violence to sue if a manufacturer or seller “is irresponsible in the way it handles, stores, or sells those guns.” . Under state consumer protection law, the attorney general could file a lawsuit against manufacturers or sellers for negligently allowing their guns to be sold to minors, or to people who legally buy guns to sell to someone who can’t legally have them. .
A second bill would require gun buyers to prove they have received safety training. It would also impose a 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases, something that is already required in Washington when purchasing a semi-automatic rifle.
Some gun control laws in other states have been struck down since last year’s landmark US Supreme Court ruling, which set new standards for reviewing the nation’s gun laws. The ruling says the government must justify gun control laws by showing that they are “consistent with the Nation’s storied tradition of firearms regulation.”