‘Widows want to use gun that’s best for them’


House Bill 1240 poised to become law soon

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As Washington state seems poised to become only the 10th state to ban the sale and manufacture of assault weapons, gun rights advocates worry what this will mean for gun owners.

If this bill becomes law, opponents claim the long list of banned gun models is too vague, including, they say, firearms that can be used for hunting.

“They’re targeting the law-abiding firearms owners to stop crime,” said Jane Milhans with the Washington NRA. She is concerned about the women she trains for firearm use.

“The bulk of my clientele are widows between the age of 60 and 90 years old. Yes, 90 is oldest,” Milhans told KOIN 6 News. “They just want to be able to protect themselves with the firearm that works best for them.”

The bill would also ban the importation of those weapons by people who bought them legally in other states.

“Now they’re going to be required to give them up because they’re moving to Washington state?” said Republican State Sen. Shelley Short. “That makes absolutely no sense.”

“The exemption would make a loophole that actually undermines the intent of the bill and that is that we are making a policy choice that we don’t want any new or additional assault weapons in our state,” Washington State Sen. Yasmin Trudeau of Tacoma. said.

The Pew Research Center last week released new numbers that show deaths related to guns have increased 50% in the last 2 years. More than 2500 kids died from gun violence in 2021.

“The majority of mass shooters — and this data is available to anyone who wants to do a Google search — purchase their firearms legally,” said Sen. Trudeau. “So they were a lawful firearm owner until the moment they decided they were going to use that weapon for murder.”

State Sen. Patty Kuderer pointed to “studies that show that banning assault weapons will, indeed, save lives.”

But Milhans doesn’t buy that argument.

“Children are killed more by suicide from bullying and things like that,” she said.

Where House Bill 1240 stands now

Some gun laws have been met with legal challenges, such as Oregon’s Measure 114. Washington lawmakers sponsoring House Bill 1240 said they wrote the bill in a way they hope will be able to survive legal challenges.

By 6 votes, the Washington State Senate passed a bill that would ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of more than 50 assault weapon gun models. The proposal, which passed the House last week, will go back to the House for amendments.

It could be completed next week. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he supports the bill and is expected to sign it if it reaches his desk.

The bill lists more than 50 gun models that would be prohibited in Washington State, however, it doesn’t ban the possession of assault weapons.

A floor amendment passed Saturday would allow gun manufacturers the ability to sell any inventory which was in stock before January 1, 2023. It also allows out-of-state sales only for a 90-day period after the bill goes into effect.

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