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. 

 

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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.

It should be noted that gun industry groups estimate there are no less than 24 million such rifles in circulation and common use.

Banner image: Colt AR variants on display. Should Washington adopt an "assault weapon ban" these would be banned for primarily cosmetic reasons. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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