Olympia – Washington State Democrats are filing bills to take away several types of guns from state residents, and make them harder to buy, and are even going so far as to allow all cities and counties in the state to have their own gun laws that supersede state law. Democrats in the House and Senate have the backing of Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee, who has made gun control a major priority of his administration as he considers his next reelection campaign.
Bills filed in the Washington Legislature so far this year include:
House Bill 1240, a bill filed at the request of the governor, would bans the sale of “new “assault weapons” in the state, making such sales a gross misdemeanor. Over 65 guns are known to be targeted by this legislation.
Washington does not specifically define and regulate a general class of weapons designated as assault weapons, but the state has restrictions on weapons classified as semiautomatic assault rifles. State law defines a semiautomatic assault rifle as any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge, but this definition excludes antique firearms, any firearm that has been made permanently inoperable, and any firearm that is manually operated by bolt, pump, lever, or slide action.
House Bill 1143 tightens gun permit laws and sets forth a requirement for gun safety training as a prerequisite for buying some guns:
- Prohibits a dealer from transferring a firearm to a purchaser or transferee unless the person has a valid permit to purchase firearms, and establishes requirements for the application, issuance, and revocation of permits to purchase firearms.
- Provides that a dealer may not transfer any firearm to a purchaser or transferee until: completion of a background check indicating the person is eligible to possess firearms; and 10 days have elapsed since the dealer requested the background check.
- Requires a firearms transfer application and recordkeeping requirements for all firearm transfers.
- Updates firearm transfer and background check processes, including updates to conform to the implementation of a state firearms background check program.
- Amends numerous other provisions of law to incorporate permits to purchase firearms consistent with requirements relating to concealed pistol licenses.
House Bill 1144 also creates mandatory training that would need to be renewed every five years for the purchase of some guns.
House Bill 1178 gives cities and counties authority to enact gun control if state legislation fails. It repeals the statute that preempts local jurisdictions from adopting laws relating to firearms. Critics say this would turn the state into a jigsaw puzzle of gun laws with every city and county having different laws.
In the Senate, SB 5078 would remove immunity for firearms manufacturers for any harm caused by their products. “If enacted into law, it could lead to the entire firearms manufacturing industry being sued out of existence,” said Gun Owners of America, in its summary.