Washington Becomes 10th State To Enact Assault Weapons Ban

Washington Becomes 10th State To Enact Assault Weapons Ban

May 3, 2023

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed three new bills into law, tightening the state’s gun safety measures.

Washington is now one of 10 states in the United States with a ban on assault weapons, and one of a few states with a waiting period and training requirement for all gun purchases.

Another new law empowers consumers with the ability to sue firearm manufacturers or retailers for irresponsible conduct, something only four other states have enacted.

SHB 1240 prohibits the sale, distribution and importation of assault weapons in Washington. The bill was requested by Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and prime sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson.

HB 1143, requested by Inslee and sponsored by Rep. Liz Berry, requires gun buyers in Washington to complete a training course. The law also establishes a mandatory 10-day waiting period for gun purchases.

SB 5078, requested by Inslee and Ferguson and sponsored by Sen. Jamie Pedersen, increases industry accountability and access to justice for gun violence victims and survivors.

President Joe Biden has commended the leadership of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and legislative leaders, as well as the advocates, survivors, and elected officials who fought for years to make this a reality. “In so doing, they have made every community in the state – from Seattle to Spokane and everywhere in between – safer and more secure,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.

Washington has one of the most comprehensive gun safety legislations in the country, including bans on bump stocks and high-capacity magazines, tools that amplify the destruction shooters can cause.

Statistics show that Washington’s work to counteract the epidemic of gun violence is working. While the number of deaths by firearm nationwide increased substantially during 2018-2021, firearm deaths in Washington remained well below national averages. Still, gun violence claims the lives of more than two people every day in Washington, more than 800 people each year. Three quarters of those deaths are suicides.

There is evidence that assault weapon bans prevent gun deaths from recent U.S. history. When a federal assault weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004, mass shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur as compared to the periods before and after.

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