Lawmakers in the Evergreen State, in a partisan push from Democrats, approved bills that will change the entire structure of the state's gun laws. 

Approved in the Washington House this week were House Bills 1143 and 1240 in largely party-line votes. Both are strict new gun control measures that are now headed to the state Senate for further review and are championed by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee, both Democrats who have long run for office on "tough on guns" campaigns backed by national anti-gun groups. Ferguson and Inslee specifically requested the bills be filed. 

"We must stop selling these weapons of war in Washington,” said Ferguson on Tuesday about the legislation.

However, the "weapons of war" Ferguson is referring to aren't tactical nuclear warheads, or sarin gas rockets. Rather, the sweeping scope of HB 1240 will label just about every semi-auto rifle, pistol, or shotgun as an "assault weapon" if they have any such common features as a detachable magazine, pistol grip, forward grip, folding or telescoping stock, handguard with a shroud, flash suppressor/hider, muzzle brake, recoil compensator or threaded barrel. The bill prohibits the sale, manufacture, and import of such firearms in Washington state.

There will be a grandfather clause for guns currently in possession – at least for now – but as those firearms cannot be legally transferred, it has the effect of barring future generations from taking ownership except of heirloom firearms. The measure also bans the future sale of unassembled kits or a "combination of parts from which an assault weapon can be assembled."

It labels detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 cartridges as "large capacity magazines" and even restricts some fixed magazines capable of holding as few as seven rounds.

Individuals found in violation of the ban could see as much as 364 days in state prison and $5,000 in fines for each firearm.

The legislation has an emergency enactment clause which means the laws will become effective as soon as Inslee applies his signature. Should that happen, gun rights advocates promise to see the state in court.

“This Washington State 'Assault Weapon' ban being pushed by gun banners Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee is an attack on both state and federal constitutional rights," Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, told Guns.com. "The Second Amendment Foundation will definitely fine suit against it in court if it becomes law."

Aero Precision, a well-known gun maker located in Tacoma, Washington, posted a grim assessment of HB 1240 to their social media account on Wednesday. 

Late last night, the Washington State House passed the "Assault Weapons Ban." The bill, HB 1240, is now headed to the anti-gun majority Senate to be voted on. We are extremely disappointed with our state politicians for throwing our Second Amendment rights to the wayside in the interest of passing feel-good legislation. We are very concerned with what this means for the future of firearms ownership in our once great state and the precedent it sets for our Republic. It’s hard to prepare for a day we hoped would never come. For those of you still living in free states, we urge you to continue to fight with everything you have to preserve your rights. What you see is an infringement on what shall not be infringed. 

It’s real, and it’s happening now.

 

10-Day Wait, Training Mandate, Registry


House Bill 1143, which passed Tuesday in a 52-44 vote, aims to impose an arbitrary 10-business-day delay on prospective gun owners from taking possession of their firearms. However, that delay is only contingent on the Washington State Patrol firearms background check program clearing a check on the would-be gun owner. If a check takes longer for whatever reason, the delay can become indefinite. 

Folded into the bill is also a provision that those attempting to take ownership of a firearm in the state must first show proof of firearms safety training completed in the past five years. Rather than accepting, for instance, a hunter's ed certification or an NRA Basic Pistol course card, the legislation specifies the course include "Techniques for avoiding a criminal attack and how to manage a violent confrontation, including conflict resolution." This will likely discourage some simply looking to buy a .22 rifle for target shooting or a .410 shotgun for hunting and not a firearm for personal protection.  

Finally, the measure instructs the state Department of Licensing to maintain a database of gun owners filing a firearm transfer application, including the applicant's personal data, and requires the submitting FFL to keep the original application on hand for at least six years. 

Both bills are now in the hands of the state Senate, where Democrats hold a 29-20 majority, but are expected to be on Inslee's desk shortly. 

"I applaud the bill sponsors and the Attorney General’s Office for helping advance this crucial public safety measure," said Inslee in a statement.

Banner image: Kalashnikov USA AK-style rifle. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

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