Washington State Seeks To Ban 'assault Weapons' Sale

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Washington's Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Thursday that he will propose a package of legislation to combat mass shootings in the state.

Governor Jay Inslee, a longtime supporter of gun safety measures, is joining Ferguson for the first time to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons.

Inslee said this is the time to take action on common sense measures that will save lives. "We should be making it harder for those who want to inflict mass violence and destruction upon innocent people," he added.

Ferguson has been advocating for banning the sale of dangerous weapons and limits to magazine capacity from 2016.

He is also proposing legislation to add background checks on ammunition sales after federal rules are changed, in addition to other safety measures to keep ammunition out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

"It took just 32 seconds for an individual armed with a 100-round double-drum magazine and an AR-15-style weapon to shoot 36 people before he was killed by law enforcement," Ferguson said, referring to the shooting in a Dayton, Ohio, nightclub on August 3. The Dayton mass shooting occurred just one day after a mass shooting at an El Paso Wal-Mart, where a white nationalist armed with an AK-47-type rifle and multiple high-capacity magazines killed or injured 46 people, including children.

"That same rifle and magazine are perfectly legal to purchase in Washington state. That makes no sense," in the opinion of the Attorney General.

Ferguson and Inslee are proposing joint-request legislation to limit the capacity of magazines sold in Washington to 10-rounds. Sen. Patricia Kuderer will prime sponsor the legislation in the state Senate while Rep. Javier Valdez will do the same in the House.

The bill makes an exception for law enforcement, military and recreational shooting ranges.

High-capacity magazines were used in two mass shootings in Washington in the last four years, in Mukilteo and Burlington.

There are restrictions in nine states to buy high-capacity magazines. Currently, six states in the United States have banned assault weapons, defined as semi-automatic rifles with at least one military feature.

Studies show that gun attacks using large-capacity magazines have the potential to cause mass casualties.

According to the Violence Policy Center, high-capacity magazines have been involved in at least 74 mass shootings, resulting in 720 deaths and 1,116 injuries, since 1980.

Washington lawmakers argued strongly in favor of the restrictions on assault weapons' sale.

"A mass shooter with a high capacity magazine is capable of killing and injuring more people, and we've seen this happen over and over across the country and right here in Washington state," said Rep. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle.

Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, said the United States is the only country in the world where mass shootings happen with this regularity, and have the most lax gun laws in the western world.

Limiting magazine capacity forces shooters to reload, buying precious seconds for victims and law enforcement. A would-be mass shooter at Seattle Pacific University was prevented when a student tackled the gunman when he was reloading his shotgun. During Sandy Hook shooting, 11 children were able to escape while the shooter was forced to reload.

Multiple federal courts of appeals upheld laws limiting magazine capacity.

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