Inslee, Ferguson renew push for offensive weapons ban in Washington

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson are again calling on lawmakers to ban semi-automatic assault rifles in this session, the second time they have been pushing for that legislation.

Inslee and Ferguson on Monday joined lawmakers and others affected by gun violence in Tukwila to announce upcoming gun violence reduction legislation. The legislation deals with assault weapons, permits to purchase weapons and the liability of companies that sell weapons.

“We know Washington State is not passive and we do not have to surrender to this scourge of gun violence,” Inslee said at the news conference.

Her first proposal would ban the sale, manufacture, and import of offensive weapons in Washington. It would exempt manufacture and sale for law enforcement and the military. Similar to last year’s ban on high-capacity magazines, the proposal does not ban possession of assault weapons.

Inslee called assault-style firearms “weapons of war”.

“There is no legitimate reason for this in our society,” Inslee said.

Another proposal would make firearms manufacturers and sellers liable for failure to establish, implement and enforce adequate controls over the manufacture, sale, distribution and marketing of firearms.

Federal law protects gun manufacturers and sellers from liability in certain circumstances, such as: B. when a gun is stolen from a store without the owners knowing, but Congress allowed states to pass their own laws governing the sale.

Ferguson’s proposed legislation would make manufacturers and sellers liable if they act irresponsibly, he said. If these weapons end up in the wrong hands through the actions of the seller, a lawsuit can be filed.

A number of other states, including New York, New Jersey, Delaware and California, have similar laws, Ferguson said.

Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Rep. David Hackney, D-Tukwila, will sponsor the bill.

Pedersen said sellers and manufacturers must take responsibility for the “hazardous products” they sell. If they can’t keep them out of the hands of those who are going to do harm, Pedersen said, “they will have their day in court.”

Hackney said retailers must be held accountable because “more guns aren’t making my community safer.”

Inslee also proposed a permit-to-purchase law that would require a person to have a permit to purchase a gun.

“It’s time to make sure you have proper training to purchase a gun,” Inslee said.

The proposed law arrives after a shooting last month Ingraham High School in Seattle left a 17-year-old student dead.

Ingraham High School student Sofie Blazejova said it was hard to put into words the fear she felt during the Nov. 8 shooting.

“I demand that we don’t lose more lives through avoidable gun violence,” Blazejova said at the press conference on Monday.

Ferguson had a recent gun victory in the last session when Inslee signed legislation banning the manufacture, sale or distribution of firearm magazines containing more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Ferguson had been seeking the legislation since 2017.

Ferguson earlier this month announced the first lawsuit alleging unlawful sales of high-capacity magazines after the new legislation went into effect.

Ferguson sued Federal Way Discount Guns and its owner, Mohammed Reza Baghai, hoping to stop the store from selling the high-capacity magazines. Baghai faces a maximum fine of $7,500 each time the store offered a high-capacity magazine for sale, and $7,500 for each illegal sale of a magazine, according to Ferguson’s office.

The store has since set up a fundraiser to raise money for its legal funds to fight for its Second Amendment rights. according to shop website.

Lawmakers also passed a package of laws last year restricting the use of serial numbered or “ghost guns” firearms and restricting the use of guns in ballot centers, polling facilities and school board meetings.

It’s unclear if Democrats will have enough votes to get the bill passed, but Senator Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, said Washington can’t wait to take action on gun legislation nationally.

“It is the responsibility of every legislator at every level of government to enact effective gun safety policies to reduce the number of these guns in our communities,” she said.

Republicans are likely to resist action, having historically been reluctant to support most gun control bills.

MP Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, called the proposals unconstitutional and “a waste of taxpayers’ time and money”.

“The governor, the attorney general and their allies need to stop wasting government resources and join the rest of us in focusing on what matters,” Walsh said in a statement.

Ferguson said he believes the measures are constitutional and consistent with federal law. He pointed to other assault weapon bans in other states that have been upheld by federal court. On the seller liability proposal, Ferguson said federal law allows states to impose their own limitations if they choose.

Inslee also pointed to his suggestions of increasing mental health resources and hiring and training more law enforcement officers as other ways he hopes to prevent gun violence.

The legislature will meet for its 105-day session on January 9th. Inslee, Ferguson renew push for offensive weapons ban in Washington

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