On Monday, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee announced new "common-sense public safety measures" that take aim at legal guns in the Evergreen state.
Fresh off a tentative victory in passing a ban on detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds through the Democrat-controlled legislature this session Ferguson and Inslee this week announced a plan to push for a ban on popular semi-auto firearms as well as a bill to target the gun industry as a whole for next year's session.
"These policies will save lives and ensure that the gun industry faces real consequences for irresponsible sales and marketing practices," Ferguson claimed in a press conference in Tukwila. "It’s time to act."
By "act," the Democrat AG and governor have teamed up with legislative leaders to back what is termed the "Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act" to "establish, implement and enforce reasonable controls in the manufacture, sale, distribution, and marketing of firearms."
This is on top of a ban on the sale, manufacture, or importation of "military-style assault weapons." While the ban would allow for some limited grandfathering of legally owned guns already in circulation and have special carve-outs for police, future generations of Washingtonians will not be able to exercise their Second Amendment rights in such a fashion should the prohibition come into law and remain in effect.
However, violent crime statistics do not bear out the logic behind a ban on certain rifles. In 2019, the most recent year available, the FBI logged 194 murders in Washington-- historically one of the lowest in the country-- with five of those homicides attributed to rifles, a figure of around two percent. By comparison, 23 deaths were attributed to knives and a full dozen to "personal weapons" such as hands and feet.
Washington has a Democratic trifecta, with the party controlling the office of governor and both chambers of the state legislature. Continuing this one-party rule, the incoming legislature in January will see a likely 29-20 Dem majority in the state Senate and a 58-40 edge in the House.
If successful, Washington would join eight other blue states with controversial bans on commonly owned semi-auto firearms. Delaware enacted a similar ban earlier this summer in a move that President Biden described as "historic." That state is currently fighting numerous lawsuits against the ban, with plaintiffs challenging Delaware's prohibition as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment.