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Liberal State Moves One Step Closer to Banning Sporting Rifles

AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File

On Saturday, the Washington state Senate approved a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” which will go to Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk to be signed into law. 

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According to the Seattle Times, the Senate approved the ban on a 27-21 vote following four hours of debate. Last month, the proposal passed the House on a 55-42 vote. The vote is going back to the House for a final vote because the Senate amended the legislation. Reportedly, Inslee is expected to sign it into law. 

The bill, H.B. 1240, bans the “manufacturer, importation, distribution, selling, and offering for sale of assault weapons[.]” In the bill, it states “the legislature finds that 10 assault weapons are not suitable for self-defense,” despite the fact that President Joe Biden said in remarks last fall that the guns are designed to “defend people.”

The Times noted that the legislation lists more than 50 gun models that would be illegal in the state. This includes AR-15s, AK-47s, and M-16s. In addition, the bill bans guns with specific features, such as semiautomatic rifles shorter than 30 inches that have detachable magazines or fixed magazines that can hold 10 rounds or greater. 

During the debate, pro-gun control Democrats reportedly pointed out that several mass shootings have involved “assault weapons,” namely, AR-15s.

“When we’re talking about mass shootings, and the killing of people quickly and without warning, we’re talking about assault weapons. And that’s why we’re here today. We’re here to say enough is enough,” state Sen. Patty Kuderer (D) reportedly said. 

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On the other hand, Republican lawmakers pointed out that America is currently experiencing a mental health crisis and that modern sporting rifles aren’t to blame for mass shootings. In addition, a ban would impact law-abiding citizens who buy these kinds of firearms for recreational use. 

“I know the difference between a weapon of war and a modern sporting rifle. The people who wrote this bill for the state of Washington don’t,” state Sen. Keith Wagoner, a Republican who served in the Marines, said. One amendment Wagoner offered to the legislation exempts people on active military duty service who’ve been ordered to move to the state, as well as military retirees, from the ban.

Another Republican, Sen. Lynda Wilson, said that the legislation “targets the wrong people” and “ignores the real problem.”

The ban contains an emergency clause, which means it will take effect once Inslee signs it. Pro-Second Amendment supporters have reportedly said they will sue to block it from taking effect, citing the Supreme Court’s Bruen ruling last summer. 

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