SPOKANE, Wash. — A bill banning assault weapons in Washington state is making significant headway in the legislature. House Bill 1240 passed in the House two weeks ago and will go before the Senate Committee on Law & Justice on Tuesday morning.
This is the first time a proposal like this has passed a chamber of the Washington Legislature.
House Bill 1240 would prohibit the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale or offer for sale of any assault weapon in the state. It was brought forward at the request of Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson. They said this is necessary legislation to make Washington safer.
When the bill passed the House, Ferguson released the following statement:
The House today put public safety above the interest of the gun lobby. The devastation of mass shootings extends far beyond the casualties and injuries. Mass shootings traumatize entire communities. We must stop selling these weapons of war in Washington.
Jeremy Ball, the owner of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop, isn't convinced. He opposes this bill not just as a business owner, but out of concern for law-abiding citizens who might violate this proposed legislation unknowingly.
"There's no statistical analysis that shows there's any correlation between a reduction on gun violence and the banning of semi-automatic weapons," Ball said. "The wording in this bill is exactly the reason why people are going to find out later down the road that they can't pass guns onto family members and that they can't inherit things."
To be clear, the bill doesn't prohibit the possession of assault weapons. But it does prohibit transferring them.
The term "assault weapon" characterizes a wide range of the following weapons in the language of the bill:
- semiautomatic rifles with an overall length of fewer than 30 inches; semiautomatic centerfire rifles that have the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and have one or more additional features listed in the bill;
- semiautomatic centerfire rifles with a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds;
- semiautomatic pistols that have the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and have one or more additional features listed in the bill;
- semiautomatic shotguns that have one or more additional features listed in the bill;
- specific firearm models identified in the bill; and conversion kits and parts that can be used to assemble an assault weapon or convert a firearm into an assault weapon, if the parts are in the possession of or under the control of the same person.
Ball said because it is so sweeping, this will impact 30-40% of his business.
Among those in favor of the bill is Rep. Marcus Riccelli from Spokane. He has not been able to return KREM 2's request for comment on Wednesday about his support for this legislation.
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