Washington’s Attorney General is planning to write legislation for the ban next year.
Washington is proposing a ban of high-capacity magazines and military-style assault weapons according to the Seattle Times.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson hopes to propose the ban next year. It comes in the wake of a mass shooting carried out by a 19-year-old with an AR-15 that was responsible for three deaths back in July.
“Military-style weapons are designed for killing people,” Ferguson said during the announcement. “These weapons have no place in civilian use.”
No legislation has been written as of yet, so it will remain to see exactly what falls under the definition of “assault weapon.” Ferguson and his supporters also want to see a ban of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Ban supporter State Sen. David Frockt, who plans to help Ferguson write the proposed legislation, told the Seattle Times weapons owned before the passage of such a bill would be considered grandfathered in. However, the sale or transfer of such weapons would not be permitted.
They plan to look at what’s been done in the seven other states and District of Columbia where similar bans have been enacted.
The proposed ban has the support of the victims of the July shooting that happened in Mukilteo, Washington. “They are weapons of choice for our country’s mass-murderers,” said Dr. Liz Raemont. Her 18-year-old son was injured in the shooting. “These guns are not used in self-defense.”
The ban also has the support of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. He was also a supporter of the 1994 assault weapons ban.
Guns rights supporters have been quick to speak out against the proposal. “We’re talking about one 19-year-old kid who is now charged with that crime and thousands and tens of thousands of people who own these guns in Washington state who haven’t hurt anybody,” said Dave Workman, senior editor of The Gun Mag.
Workman said FBI data points to only a small number of homicides in Washington actually being committed using any type of rifle.
Republican candidate for Washington Governor Bill Bryant, who told the Seattle Times he does not support a re-introduction of the federal assault weapons ban, said he would have to see a definition of “assault weapon” first before giving any ban support.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler similarly criticized the ban, telling the Seattle Times “military style” is too vague of a term. Schoesler also used the fact Ferguson is up for re-election as an opportunity to attack, claiming Ferguson is promoting himself using state resources.
Ferguson and his supporters are no doubt lining themselves up for a fight, but it’s something they were apparently expecting. “I do not propose bills that I do not think I can pass,” Ferguson said during a press conference to announce the proposed ban Wednesday. “Will the gun lobby engage on this issue? Absolutely.”
Washington is just the latest state to make news in the regulation war over semi-automatic rifles. Assault weapons have increasingly been in the news in recent years as there are political battles raging in many states over the definition, legality of ownership and sales of such firearms. There’s recently been legal battle in states like Maryland to restore legality of AR-15 style rifles.
Back in July, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey attempted to seal loopholes in the state’s assault weapons laws. The move was met quickly with legal action by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.