Lawmakers in Washington state pass bill banning 'assault weapon' sales

Washington state is poised to ban the sale, distribution and import of "assault weapons" in an attempt to prevent mass shootings.
Three variations of the AR-15 assault rifle are displayed.
Posted at 3:20 PM, Apr 14, 2023

It may soon be a lot tougher for residents of Washington state to purchase high-powered rifle. 

The state legislature passed a ban on sale, distribution and importation of "assault weapons." The term is a broad definition for different types of guns, including AK-47s and AR-15s, which have been used in numerous mass shootings.

"The devastation of mass shootings extends far beyond the casualties and injuries," said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who backs the bill. "Mass shootings traumatize entire communities. We must stop selling these weapons of war in Washington."

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The bill specifically calls out gun industry, claiming the weapons are marketed as "tactical," "hyper masculine," and "military style" in an effort to appeal to "troubled young men intent on becoming the next mass shooter."

Numerous Republicans and gun rights groups have come out against the bill. 

"Passing more laws to restrict gun ownership won't solve a thing," said Republican state Sen. Jeff Wilson. 

The lawmaker claims the legislature has taken a "hands-off approach" to other issues like homelessness and drugs while continuing to focus on guns.

"When we fail to recognize there are boundaries, we don't get people into drug treatment or programs for mental and behavioral health. We don't intervene in cases where people clearly need help. We allow our crime rate to skyrocket," he said.

There are exceptions carved out in the bill allowing law enforcement and military personnel to purchase necessary firearms. 

Washington's governor is expected to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.

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