State leaders ‘disappointed’ to see assault weapons ban stall out again in 2021

Mar 25, 2021, 12:30 PM
gun violence, assault weapons...
Signs sit near the White House following the March for Our Lives rally March 24, 2018, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Following the mass shootings in Colorado and Georgia, which left 18 dead over the past week, officials in Washington and across the country are pushing for an assault weapons ban, and tighter gun control in general.

President Joe Biden was among those calling for more restrictions this week, pushing Congress to tighten the nation’s gun laws.

Survivors reflect on their trauma as they push for changes to WA gun laws

In Washington state, by request of state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a bill (SB 5217) was proposed this session that would ban the possession, manufacturing, distribution, import, transfer, sale, or purchase of any assault weapon, except as authorized in the law.

The bill only made it to a first reading in 2021 and has since stalled out, but Ferguson promises to keep fighting.

“AR-15 style assault weapons, like the one reportedly used by the mass shooter in Boulder, remain legal to purchase in Washington state. That needs to change,” Ferguson said in a statement to MyNorthwest. “Washingtonians need to understand that their Legislature could enact constitutional, common-sense policies that will make our communities safer from mass shootings, including banning the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but refuses to do so.”

“I will continue fighting for these reforms until they pass,” he added. “Enough is enough.”

One of the sponsors of the bill, state Senator Patty Kuderer, says that the recent shootings are just another reminder that gun violence can happen anywhere.

“The recent mass shootings in Boulder and Atlanta are stark reminders that gun violence can strike anywhere at any time. Our hearts ache for the families, friends and communities enduring the pain of another senseless mass shooting,” Sen. Patty Kuderer said in a statement to MyNorthwest.

“The 40,000 lives lost to gun violence every year is a public health crisis unique to America,” she continued. “Assault weapons are weapons of war and do not belong in our churches, shopping malls, and schools. Unfortunately, making progress on reasonable firearm safety legislation is difficult when one side of the aisle opposes these efforts at every turn. Enacting meaningful firearm safety legislation is always a heavy lift. But that lift would be easier if more lawmakers would join me in this effort to make our communities safer.”

Ross: If more guns actually made us safer, it should have worked by now 

Sen. Kuderer, like Ferguson, is committing to keep pushing for reform.

“I’m disappointed that my assault weapons bill did not move through the legislative process this year,” she said. “Nonetheless, I am committed to continuing to push for legislation that keeps weapons of war out of our communities.”

A similar bill, by request of Gov. Inslee and Ferguson, failed to make it out of committee in the 2020 legislative session as well. Ferguson has been pushing for stricter gun laws, including putting limits on high-capacity magazines and banning assault weapons, since 2016.

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State leaders ‘disappointed’ to see assault weapons ban stall out again in 2021