Washington state attorney general plans for ‘assault weapon’ ban

Ferguson, seen here at a September press conference, wants to raise age limits to buy guns as well as establish controls on certain semi-automatics and their magazines. (Photo: Washington Attorney General's office)

Ferguson, seen here at a September press conference, wants to raise age limits to buy guns as well as establish controls on certain semi-automatics and their magazines. (Photo: Washington Attorney General’s office)

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson told local media he is up for a renewed push for a prohibition on “assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.”

Ferguson, who unsuccessfully backed a similar move in 2016, told The Daily World last week that he would like to see the ban legislation succeed. “We are bringing back legislation that will outlaw the sale of assault rifles and high capacity magazines,” he said. “This would limit magazine size to 10 rounds maximum.”

Citing a “duty to protect the public” last year, Ferguson requested legislation that largely mirrored California’s long-standing assault weapon ban enacted in 1989 and enhanced several times over the years. The resulting bills, SB 5050 and HB 3087, never made it out of committee.

To reinforce his point, Ferguson issued a 26-page white paper last October urging changes that Washington policymakers could consider to change firearms access in the state. Among the increased regulations advocated were several steps that approximated the state’s Extreme Risk Protective Orders, which were adopted by a voter referendum in the general election.

Besides the reach for an assault weapon ban and magazine cap, Ferguson said last week he would like to see movement on a bump stock ban — which Gov. Jay Inslee supports — as well as to raise the minimum age for gun purchases in the state to 21.

“In this state if you want to buy an assault rifle you can walk into a (sporting goods store) and if you’re 18 you can walk right out with one,” Ferguson said. “If you want to buy a handgun, you have to be 21 and go through a waiting period before you take it home. It makes no sense.”