Anti-gun groups in Wash., Oregon want 'West Coast Wall' against 'assault weapons'

Citing a survey of 310 people across the two states, gun control organizations in Washington and Oregon are working together to enact a California-style ban on the sale of some semi-auto firearms.

The groups, Washington CeaseFire and Ceasefire Oregon, have been involved in advocacy at the state and national level for years, and on Wednesday came out in a joint effort to erect a “West Coast Wall” by joining with California to establish a ban on what they term “assault weapons” and ultimately magazines capable of holding more than five rounds of ammunition.

Leaders of the effort want new sales halted and existing guns registered, citing recent mass shootings involving AR-15s and similar weapons.

“We’re just seeing one shooting after another and the carnage higher,” said Ralph Fascitelli, board president of Washington CeaseFire, at a press conference Wednesday. “You know, enough is enough. What do we do, just lie down and accept it and put our head in the sand like ostriches? Or do we fight back?”

The groups cite research by Everytown claiming that in mass shootings where “military assault weapons” are used, the casualty count is higher, as well as a SurveyMonkey poll of 310 people in the two states that found 63 percent of respondents were in favor of a ban.

The coalition feels the time is right for such a push.

“We’re not under any illusion that the assault-weapons ban is going to solve all of our problems,” Fascitelli said, as noted by the Seattle Times, “but it is low-hanging fruit, the kind of action that has the greatest chance of succeeding.”

Gun rights advocates scoff at the notion that the SurveyMonkey poll is credible enough to provide a mandate.

“That’s a very limited polling base,” Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb said in a statement, “and they’re using it for fear mongering to pursue a gun ban agenda that will not prevent crime or stop domestic terrorists.”

Gottlieb contends the move towards a ban would only penalize legal gun owners.

“The ban on so-called ‘assault weapons’ proposed Wednesday by Washington Ceasefire and Ceasefire Oregon plays on public fear, and goes after the wrong people,” said Gottlieb. “But at least for the first time both groups are officially out of the closet as gun prohibition organizations. No longer can they hide behind the facade of ‘gun safety’ or even ‘gun control.’ They want to ban an entire class of firearms.”

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