Gun Laws & Legislation

Washington State Legislature Passes One Of The Nation’s Most Restrictive Gun Laws

Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

James Lynch Contributor
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The Washington state legislature passed a bill Wednesday banning dozens of semi-automatic firearms, and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to sign the bill shortly.

More than 50 gun models are banned under the legislation, including AK-47s, M-16s and AR-15s. The bill bans the sale, distribution, manufacture and import of the firearms, with some exceptions for law enforcement and military personnel. (RELATED: Reinstated Dem Rep Carries Child-Sized Casket Into Tennessee Capitol Building)

Washington Democrats portrayed the bill as a solution to mass shootings in schools and elsewhere, according to PBS. “They are marching in the streets. They are asking for us to take action,” Democratic state Sen. Liz Lovelett said during a March debate over the legislation, the outlet reported. “We have to be able to give our kids reasons to feel hopeful.”

The bill comes after a transgender mass shooter killed three children and three adults at a Nashville elementary school in March. In May 2022, highly publicized mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, inspired bipartisan federal gun legislation that President Joe Biden signed in June.

“WA does not and will not accept gun violence as normal. Banning the sale of assault weapons, our bill to enact training requirements and a wait period, and the bill to improve accountability of manufacturers and retailers will save lives,” Inslee tweeted upon the bill’s passage.

Republicans objected to the bill and proposed additional school safety measures to deter mass shooters. “HB 1240 clearly violates our state and federal constitutions, which is why it will end up in court immediately,” said Republican state Sen. Lynda Wilson, per PBS.