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Washington governor signs statewide ban on sale of assault-style weapons


By Jack Forrest and Paradise Afshar, CNN

Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed into law a ban on most sales of assault-style weapons.

House Bill 1240 prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of assault-style weapons in Washington, with an exception for sales made to armed forces and law enforcement. The bill includes the popular AR-15 rifle under its ban and dozens of other semi-automatic rifles.

Inslee, speaking at Washington’s Capitol, said “AR-15s should not be idolized, they should be prohibited, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

The bill passed the state House last week in a 56 to 42 vote, after the state Senate passed it days earlier in a 28 to 21 vote — both votes fell largely along party lines.

“The legislature finds and declares that gun violence is a threat to the public health and safety of Washingtonians,” the bill says. “Assault weapons are civilian versions of weapons created for the military and are designed to kill humans quickly and efficiently.”

Inslee also signed into law measures enacting a 10-day “waiting period and training requirement for all gun purchases” and “empowering consumers with the ability to sue firearm manufacturers or retailers for irresponsible conduct,” according to a statement from Inslee’s office.

The state level action comes as Americans grapple with how best to address gun violence. The US has already logged 173 mass shootings so far this year, according to data from the Gun Violence Archive, which, like CNN, defines a mass shooting as one in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter.

The ban makes Washington the tenth state to enact broad restrictions on assault-style weapons, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Washington, DC, also has restrictions for the weapons on its books.

“We are very pleased that this long overdue legislation passed,” Mike Faulk, Inslee’s press secretary told CNN last week. “The governor has been advocating for this policy since he voted for the federal ban in Congress in 1994. It will save lives working in tandem with other gun reforms moving this session.”

The White House praised the assault-style weapons ban in a statement Tuesday.

“President Biden commends 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 today a reality,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “In so doing, they have made every community in the state — from Seattle to Spokane and everywhere in between — safer and more secure.”

Washington’s Senate Republicans said in a Twitter post last week that “banning certain weapons is not the solution to gun violence. We must deal with those who are using guns and other weapons to commit violent acts.”

The state’s Republican Party said in a Twitter post that the law “is poised to face legal challenges – wasting state resources, while failing to address the root causes of gun violence.”

Legal challenges have already tied up an Illinois law banning certain firearms and high-capacity magazines after it was signed by the state’s Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this year — an example of the hurdles gun control advocates face in their efforts to cut down on the weapons.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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