High-capacity magazine ban headlines series of victories for state gun safety advocates
Gun safety advocates scored a series of victories during Washington’s 2022 legislative session, ranging from long-sought restrictions on large-capacity magazines to limitations on open carrying of firearms.
Perhaps most prominently, state lawmakers approved SB 5078, which makes it a gross misdemeanor to manufacture, distribute, sell, and offer to sell magazines with more than 10 rounds. Under the legislation, distributing, selling, offering for sale, and facilitating the sale of high-capacity magazines online is also a violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
The bill was heralded by proponents as a necessary means to address the prevalence of high-capacity magazines in mass shootings. This comes after years of similar proposals on the legislative agenda, only to fall short in each attempt prior to 2022.
“It is long overdue that our state act to reduce the threat of mass shootings in our communities,” Democratic state Sen. Marko Liias said shortly after the bill won final approval in the state House by a 55-42 party-line vote.
Also passed this session was HB 1630, which bans the open carrying of firearms on school grounds, as well as at official school board meetings. It also enacts an identical open carry ban for local government buildings, as well as ballot-counting centers and election facilities.
“This bill is about public safety and access to democracy,” Democratic state Rep. Tana Senn said after it was approved in the state House. “Guns do not belong at school board meetings, ballot counting locations or local council meetings.”
Rounding out a trio of legislative victories for gun safety advocates was HB 1705, which closed a loophole in restrictions on so-called ghost guns. In practice, the bill fully restricts the manufacturing, sale, transfer, possession, and purchase of untraceable, unserialized guns. The state previously passed a broader ban on ghost guns in a previous session, but expanded that with HB 1705 to also retroactively make ghost guns built after 2019 illegal, while banning the possession of certain components used to construct untraceable firearms.
Proponents of the bill cited the need to close “a deadly loophole” in Washington’s previous restrictions.