Gun store owner: Assault weapons ban is ‘a failed policy’

Apr 14, 2023, 3:53 PM

assault weapons ban...

Assault-style rifles stocked on shelves on January 11, 2023. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Customers are heading to local gun stores in droves as an assault weapons ban looms over Washington state. The bill banning certain guns was first introduced by Rep. Strom Peterson (D-21) at the request of both Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“Every time there is an impending limitation on what people are going to be able to purchase in the future, whatever that item is, I think we see a run on it, whether we’re talking firearms or anything else,” John Holschen, owner of West Coast Armory North, told Jason Rantz on KTTH 770 AM. “So there’s been enormous numbers of these firearms sold across the state in the last couple of months.”

Customers flock to gun stores as WA assault weapons ban nears

The Washington state Senate passed the assault weapons ban bill April 10 on a 27-21 vote.

“Honestly, I’ve wondered why it hasn’t happened in past sessions,” Holschen said. “It’s something that they’ve been introducing every year for quite a few years. It appeared that they had the votes to get it through in past years, but it didn’t go through.”

West Coast Armory North, a sponsor of The Jason Rantz Show, is an indoor shooting range and gun store that deals with all clientele, from military to law enforcement to the general public — and its owner believes an assault weapons ban is nothing more than a foolish endeavor.

“I think it’s a failed policy. It’s been shown in multiple other states that this type of legislation has no impact on crime,” Holschen said. “It’s a fallacious expectation that by banning certain types of firearms, it is going to have an impact on crime rates. It just doesn’t work out that way.”

“So it just impacts law-abiding citizens?” Rantz asked as a follow-up.

“Exactly,” Holschen responded.

Currently, nine states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York) have some legislation banning the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons. Washington would become the 10th state if Gov. Inslee signs the bill into law.

The District of Columbia also has similar legislation in place.

State Senate committee passes ban on sale of assault weapons

An AR-style weapon’s popularity, according to Holschen, stems from its easy use, ability to be modified, and flexibility in purpose, including home defense.

The bill, which possesses an emergency clause — meaning it would take effect immediately if signed — would ban more than 60 different types of assault weapons, including AR-15s, AK-47s, Uzi 9 mm carbines, and M16s. Even some semi-automatic shotguns are set to be banned.

“Again, the idea that we’re going to see a drop in crime by banning a certain type of firearm just doesn’t bear fruit,” Holschen said. “And this bill seems to say that if someone commits a criminal act, that we, the firearms industry, have liability? It appears to be, frankly, from the point of view of a gun shop owner, that the politicians who are in power in this state would like all gun shops to magically disappear.”

Concurrently, House Bill 1143 –which would mandate a 10-day waiting period and gun safety training for anyone buying a firearm — passed off the Senate floor on April 7.

“There was a time that I said, ‘you know, it’s the reasonable thing to do, you should have training,’ Holschen said in response to the additional bill. “Imagine a situation 15-20 years down the road when your young daughter, who’s just gone away to college, finds herself in a situation she believes that her life may be in danger, and she feels she wants a firearm in her place of residence for protection.

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“Now, not only does she need to have the money to buy the gun, she has to have the time to go through whatever the process is to arrange for training and the money to pay for training,” Holschen continued. “You’re putting a lot of barriers in front of someone who is trying to exercise the basic right we all have to personal safety and security.”

“At the same time, if anyone said we want to have a test before someone votes to make sure they’re knowledgeable on the issues that they’re voting on, it would be an outrage,” Rantz responded.

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