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Rifle ban will never happen, senatorial candidate says

The candidate trying to unseat Sen. Patty Murray says a total rifle ban will not happen.

Chris Vance, former chairman of the Washington State Republican Party, says banning semi-automatic rifles would be unconstitutional.

“Republicans and Democrats need to work together to find a compromise on guns,” Vance said during the first debate with Murray on Sunday. “I’ll work with Republicans and Democrats to strengthen background check system. That is legislation that will actually pass. A ban on rifles is not going to pass.”

Related: Does wage proposal by Murray go to far?

Vance argues that “most guns” are purchased from licensed dealers and background checks are required. Though the system could be improved, he says Congress should pass legislation to “encourage or force all states to provide complete data to the national background check system.”

That goes against what Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson wants to see happen in the state. In September, Ferguson announced he wanted to ban “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines.

“I have a duty to protect the public, as well as uphold the constitution,” he said. My proposal will ban some of the deadliest weapons while respecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Ferguson’s office will submit agency request legislation during the 2017 session to ban certain weapons such as the AR-15. The legislation will request that magazine capacity is limited to a maximum of 10 rounds of ammunition. Sen. David Frockt (D-46) and Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-40) were working with Ferguson to craft the legislation that targets future sales.

Vance’s opponent, incumbent Patty Murray, has vowed to keep fighting for stricter gun control laws. Murray voted for a bill in 2013 that would have expanded background checks, had it not failed.

“It makes no sense today that it is easier to get a weapon or a gun than it is to get an airplane ticket. No one should go through what these families have gone through,” Murray said following the vote that year.

She continued that sentiment during Sunday’s debate at Gonzaga University.

“If we cannot stand up and deal with the issue of gun violence, we have not done our job as leaders in this country,” she said.

The debate over gun control touches close to home. The Seattle Times reports there have been seven mass shootings in 2016 alone. That includes the most recent shooting at Cascade Mall in Burlington, when 20-year-old Arcan Cretin allegedly killed five people.

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