Assault weapons ban passes Washington Senate, returns to House | News


OLYMPIA, Wash. – After hours of deliberation, the Washington State Senate has passed the assault weapon ban with a 27-21 vote. 

House Bill 1240 would ban the sale, manufacture and import of assault weapons into Washington. The bill does not ban the possession of assault weapons and provides exceptions for law enforcement, the military and those who have inherited assault weapons. 

The state currently does not define a certain kind of weapon as ‘assault weapons,’ but the bill specifies restrictions on a group of weapons classified as semiautomatic assault rifles, including AR-15s and AK-47s.

During its time in the Senate, the bill was amended to allow gun makers the ability to sell inventory in stock before Jan. 1, 2023, only to out-of-state buyers for 90 days after the bill becomes law. 

In a statement, Attorney General Bob Ferguson praised the vote outcome. 

“The Senate today put public safety above the interest of the gun lobby,” Ferguson said. “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.”

The bill was originally proposed in 2017 after the 2016 mass shooting at a Mukilteo house party. The 19-year-old shooter used a military-style assault rifle and a high-capacity magazine to kill three people. 

Gov. Jay Inslee also applauded legislators for passing the legislation, calling the move ‘a momentous step forward.’

“Time and again we’ve seen the carnage these weapons allow people to unleash on communities,” Inslee said. “Time and again we’ve watched the NRA and politicians defend, normalize and even celebrate these weapons. But now the time is here when the majority’s will prevails and we put the lives of our children first.”

Because the bill was amended, it now returns to the House for further consideration. If passed, Washington would join nine other states and Washington, D.C., in banning assault weapons. 

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