Washington’s Governor Signs Controversial “Assault Weapon” Legislation

Olympia, Wash. — Washington state has become the 10th state in the United States to ban the sale, manufacture, and import of so-called assault weapons. Governor Jay Inslee signed the bill on April 25th, which prohibits the sale of so-called assault weapons to anyone other than law enforcement and military service members, with an exception in cases of inheritance. The bill does not ban the possession of so-called assault weapons. Gun manufacturers will be allowed to sell their inventory already in stock before January 1st, 2023, to out-of-state customers for 90 days after the bill goes into effect.

The Second Amendment Foundation, which advocates for gun rights, has vowed to challenge the bill in court, arguing that it violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Foundation filed a federal lawsuit, seeking preliminary and permanent injunctions, and challenged the new statute on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Joining SAF are the Firearms Policy Coalition, Sporting Systems, a Hazel Dell retailer, and three private citizens. They are represented by Seattle attorney Joel Ard.

Gun advocates believe the new law is sweeping and lacks focus on mental health. However, supporters of the legislation, like the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, have been fighting for this in Olympia for years, arguing that it will save lives. Backers of the bill cite a federal study that showed if the federal assault weapons ban stayed in effect, it would have prevented mass shootings.

Washington’s new law applies to all future sales of so-called assault weapons, prompting customers to rush to make purchases before the law goes into effect. Those who oppose the legislation say more focus needs to be put on mental health. Gun supporters said until the nation takes action, it will fall on individual states to prevent tragedies. The rush to buy so called assault weapons before the law takes effect has caused an increase in orders from out of state.

Gun sales have increased across the United States due to concerns about potential gun control legislation following recent mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado. The new Washington state law follows a series of similar state and federal proposals to restrict access to firearms, including the regulation of so-called ghost guns and high-capacity magazines.