Deer Park Tribune

AG Ferguson, Gov. Inslee legislatio­n Banning Sale of Assault Weapons Passes House in Historic Vote


OLYMPIA — In a historic vote today, the Washington House of Representa­tives passed a ban on the sale of assault weapons. The measure, requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Gov. Jay Inslee and sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, passed by a 55- 42 vote.

This is the first time a proposal to ban on the sale of assault weapons passed a chamber of the Washington Legislatur­e. House Bill 1240now heads to the state Senate.

Ferguson first proposed a ban on the sale of assault weapons in 2017 in the wake of the 2016 mass shooting at a Mukilteo house party. The shooter used a military- style assault rifle and a high- capacity magazine. This is the second time Gov. Inslee has joined Ferguson to call for a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

This legislatio­n prohibits the sale, manufactur­e, and import of assault weapons in Washington state while allowing reasonable exemptions for manufactur­e and sale to law enforcemen­t and the military. The legislatio­n does not prohibit the possession of assault weapons.

Eight states adopted similar legislatio­n banning these weapons. Multiple federal courts upheld these public safety laws as constituti­onal.

Peterson has sponsored the House version of the proposal every year Ferguson requested it. Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.

“The House today put public safety above the interest of the gun lobby,” Ferguson said. “The devastatio­n of mass shootings extends far beyond the casualties and injuries. Mass shootings traumatize entire communitie­s. We must stop selling these weapons of war in Washington.”

“Assault weapons have contribute­d to some of the deadliest shootings over the last decade, and keeping more of them out of our communitie­s will make Washington a safer place,” Gov. Inslee said. “I applaud the bill sponsors and the Attorney General's Office for helping advance this crucial public safety measure.”

“We have a crisis of gun violence in this country, and it is only escalating,” Rep. Peterson said. “Too many of our neighbors' lives have been cut short. In 2016, a 19-year- old here in Mukilteo used an assault rifle to end three lives and upend countless more. I am proud that we passed this legislatio­n off of the house floor. We need to continue to take real, tangible action to curb gun violence in our state. Getting this bill to the governor's desk will be a major step forward.”

“It is time we put children before the gun industry and people before profit,” Sen. Kuderer said. “We passed common- sense gun safety legislatio­n last year because the data shows when shooters have more bullets, they use them. We're back this year because the research tells us when shooters get to attach red dot sites, foregrips, collapsibl­e buttstocks and lasers: they use them in our classrooms. Assault weapons are favored by mass shooters precisely because they are able to mow down many people in a short period of time. This isn't a game. This is real and these are the lives of our most vulnerable community members. There is no place for weapons of war on our streets, our schools and in our neighborho­ods.”

Two different statewide polls in the last year show that Washington­ians overwhelmi­ngly support banning assault weapons.

A July poll, sponsored by The Seattle Times, KING 5, the University of Washington's Center for an Informed Public and Washington State University's Murrow College of Communicat­ion, found that more than 60 percent of Washington­ians support a ban on assault weapons in the state. More Washington­ians supported a ban than opposed it on both sides of the Cascades, the poll found.

A poll released in June performed by Public Policy Polling for the Northwest Progressiv­e Institute similarly found that 56 percent of Washington voters support a ban on the sale of assault weapons. Attorney General Ferguson is joined by legislator­s, law enforcemen­t, community and faith leaders in September of 2017 to announce a proposal to ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines for the 2017 session

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