WA legislature approves ban of assault-style weapons

Cautious optimism is giving way to celebration for Washington state gun control advocates as the state’s assault-style weapons ban clears the legislature after more than half a dozen failed attempts. 

Both Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson put House Bill 1240 at the top of their priority list for this session, capping a long-fought battle by gun control advocates.

Bill 1240 would ban the sale, manufacturing and importing of assault weapons in the state of Washington, including more than 50 specific gun models such as military-style weapons like AR-15s, AK-47s and M-16s.

"It’s an incredible victory," said Victoria Muzyk, the communications director of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. "It’s vital, it is lifesaving, assault weapons have been used in every single one of the deadliest mass shootings in the last 10 years here in America." 

Rep. Strom Peterson, the primary sponsor of the bill, began introducing similar legislation starting seven years ago. 

He is hopeful this is the year that it will make it to the governor’s desk. 

Those who oppose House Bill 1240 argue that the ban violates both state and federal constitutions and predict it will not stop criminals or mass shootings.

No word yet when it will reach the governor’s desk, but when Inslee signs the bill, it will take effect immediately.