String of WA gun laws heard by House Judiciary Committee

Jan 19, 2023, 2:10 PM | Updated: 2:11 pm

FILE - This June 29, 2016, file photo shows guns on display at a gun store in Miami. Florida lawmakers can fine local government officials who attempt to restrict gun and ammunition sales under a state law upheld by the state Supreme Court on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

(AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

In this most recent legislative session, a series of gun control regulatory bills have been introduced to the Washington state Senate Law and Justice Committee and the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.

The four bills introduced into the legislature include regulations of the transfer of firearms, changes to some open carry laws, the ability for local governing bodies to further regulate firearms, and a ban on assault weapons.

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The first bill, HB 1240, bans the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any assault weapon, with some exceptions.

This is the seventh straight year a majority of Democratic state lawmakers will try to ban the sale of assault-style rifles.

The bill allows exceptions for dealers selling to the military and law enforcement and for people who inherit an assault weapon.

AR-15-style weapons have been used in several mass shootings, supporters of the legislation say, including at a Las Vegas concert in 2017, where Carrie Parsons was among 58 people killed.

“No one was targeted that night. They were all mowed down. None of them stood a chance,” said her mother, Anne-Marie Parsons, to KIRO 7. “Our family has to live forever with the knowledge that she was killed, shot in the back while she was running for her life.”

Aoibheann Cline of the National Rifle Association told lawmakers that their definition of assault weapons is far too broad.

“The term assault weapon is a manufactured term to garner fear,” Cline said. “It would ban the shotgun. I use every fall for duck hunting with my dad.”

Another bill, HB 1178, repeals laws preventing city, municipal, and county laws from having more restrictive gun laws than the state

The bill would allow cities to restrict gun use within their borders, which would create ‘chaos,’ according to opponents.

Right now, there is uniformity throughout the state — the same laws exist no matter what city you go to.

Second Amendment Foundation editor Dave Workman said that would change.

“From one border to the other, no one should have to question what the laws are as they travel across the state,” Workman testified.

Spokane County Sheriff John Knowles said it creates a patchwork of different gun laws across the state.

“This law will create criminals out of otherwise law-abiding tax-paying citizens that are just exercising their constitutional right to keep and bear arms,” Knowles said.

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The bill gives local lawmakers the authority to regulate when and where guns can be carried and used, a power that they have not had in 40 years.

Cities already have the power to restrict guns in stadiums and convention centers and regulate where guns are sold.

Two other pieces of legislation, HB 1144 and HB 1195, were also introduced. The former would make it so businesses may not transfer firearms until a background check and safety training is completed. HB 1144 also requires recordkeeping for all transfers, and updates to state firearm background checks. The latter bill would prohibit open carry in public parks and public hospitals where notice of the restriction has been posted.

The open carry of weapons is already prohibited at schools, the state capitol, and during demonstrations.

Matt Markovich and KIRO 7 TV contributed to this report

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String of WA gun laws heard by House Judiciary Committee