Washington AG’s 2019 legislative agenda is heavy on gun control

Dec 28, 2018, 1:14 PM | Updated: 10:11 pm
attorney general, gun control...
A Stag Arms AR-15 rifle with 30 round, left, and 10 round magazines. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has announced what his legislative priorities will be in 2019, with gun control being a primary focus.

“My office is proposing legislation to improve the lives of people across the state,” Ferguson said. “I look forward to partnering with bipartisan group of legislators to make a difference for Washingtonians.”

RELATED: Ghost guns raise legal questions
RELATED: Using gun safes under Washington’s new law

Ferguson’s office is pushing 11 bills total. Three of those efforts focus on gun control, while the rest are scattered among a variety of issues such as tobacco use, consumer/workers’ rights, and the death penalty.

Gun control

High-capacity magazine limits: Noting the magazine capacity in various mass shootings (Newtown had 30 rounds; Las Vegas had 100 rounds; Orlando had 30 rounds), the AG’s office says that Washington does not place any limits on magazine sizes people can buy. Customers can buy magazines that hold up to 100 rounds. House Bill 1068 proposes to limit magazines to 10 rounds (exempting law enforcement, military, and recreational shooting ranges). It also requires safe and secure storage for magazines grandfathered by possession.

Assault weapons ban: The AG’s office states that assault weapons are semi-automatic rifles with at least one military-style feature that make the firearm shoot more accurately and rapidly. Noting that less than 2 percent of Americans own such guns, the AG’s office will recommend a ban of assault rifles in Washington in 2019.

Ghost guns: “Ghost guns” are essentially untraceable firearms that are ordered through the mail, and often made with plastic using a 3D printer. The issue surrounding ghost guns arose in 2018, and prompted legal action. The AG’s office will recommend a ghost gun ban in 2019, prohibiting the ownership or transfer of any firearm that cannot be detected by a metal detector, and increases the criminal penalty for using an undetectable gun in a felony crime.

Other legislation

Abolishing the death penalty: Washington’s Supreme Court already ended the death penalty in October, arguing that it was unconstitutional and unfair. The court said the state’s death penalty was imposed in a racially biased manner. The AG’s fix is to abolish the death penalty in Washington state and replace it with life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Tobacco and vaping: The AG’s office says that tobacco addiction will shorten the lives of 104,000 Washington children alive today. The office is proposing to up the age to purchase tobacco or vaping products to 21.

Wage theft: The AG’s office says that if an employer “cheats” workers out of their wages, but returns the money before the state takes action, they are not held accountable. The office is proposing SB 5035, which allows the state discretion to issue penalties when an employer commits wage theft. Employers could be fined $5,000 or half of the withheld wages, whichever is greater.

Cooling off period (lobbyist regulations): The AG’s office wants to change state law so that high-ranking state officials must wait one year before working as a lobbyist. Two bills are proposed — SB 5033 and HB 1067 — which would establish a one-year cooldown period. The office argues this “revolving door creates the appearance of special access, unfair advantage, and conflicts of interest that undermine the public’s trust.”

Relicensing changes: The AG’s office wants to make paying traffic tickets easier so that more Washingtonians don’t lose driving privileges. The office wants to copy practices in Spokane and King Counties which provide a single contact for people to pay tickets, lessening suspensions. The proposal would create a system managed by the courts.

Pocket service (debt collections): The AG’s office wants Washington to change the law so that debt collectors must serve a summons to people when they default on debts, instead of “pocketing” the summons. It would require them to file a lawsuit within a set amount of time after serving the summons. Pocket service practices have been banned in 42 other states.

Data breaches: Washington law currently does not require online services to notify people when their email and passwords are obtained by a hacker. The same goes for other information that can be hacked, such as tax ID numbers, passport information, DNA information, or health insurance numbers. The AG’s office aims to update definitions of “personally identifiable information,” force companies to notify customers of data breaches within 30 days, and require them to notify the AG’s office within 14 days.

Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi Day: Honoring Americans who were incarcerated under the federal exclusion act during WWII, the AG’s office proposes a day in remembrance of Fred Korematsu of California and Gordon Hirabayashi of Washington. Both men refused to comply with the exclusion act that forced citizens of Japanese decent into concentration camps during WWII. The day of recognition would be Feb. 19.

Local News

unemployment benefits...
Nicole Jennings

People quitting over vax mandate may qualify for unemployment benefits

Do people quitting their jobs over the vaccine mandate qualify for unemployment benefits? That all depends on a certain set of circumstances.
21 hours ago
covid memorial...
MyNorthwest Staff

King County councilmember proposes memorial for lives lost to COVID

King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn is proposing the creation of a public art memorial to honor those who lost their lives to COVID-19. 
21 hours ago
Kathryn Altena

Washington to participate in Great ShakeOut earthquake drill for 10th year

At 10:21 a.m. on Oct. 21 will be the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake and tsunami drill in Washington. Practice how you would drop, cover, and hold on.
21 hours ago
King County Metro...
Nick Bowman

King County reports 97% compliance with worker vaccine mandate

King County reported Tuesday that 97% of its employees have submitted paperwork in compliance with its vaccine mandate; 92% are fully vaccinated. 
21 hours ago
MyNorthwest Staff

Heavy rain, wind from tropical ‘superstorm’ headed to Northwest

A cyclone that began as a tropical superstorm is expected to reach waters off the coast of Washington state on Thursday.
21 hours ago
City Hall Park Seattle...
Nick Bowman

King County Council to forge ahead on bid to acquire troubled City Hall Park

King County Councilmembers voted 7-2 on Tuesday to approve legislation to explore options to assume control over Seattle's City Hall Park.
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Washington AG’s 2019 legislative agenda is heavy on gun control