3 gun laws proposed to curb mass shootings in Washington state
Days after a deadly shooting in New Jersey, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed three new pieces of gun legislation to the state legislature.
Two of the proposed bills have been considered in Olympia before: limiting high capacity magazine rounds and banning assault style weapons commonly used in mass shootings. The third, banning ammunition sales to people barred from owning guns, is new.
Ferguson wants to cap gun magazines to 10 rounds, citing this summer’s mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio where 100-round magazines were used to kill nine people in 32 seconds. Those same double-drum magazines are legal to purchase in Washington.
“Limiting magazines forces shooters to reload,” Ferguson said, “providing precious seconds for law enforcement to intervene and for victims to escape.”
The second bill to ban assault weapons will be a challenge to pass, Ferguson admits. Democrats in the state Legislature have failed multiple times before to get the ban passed.
Ferguson’s third proposed bill would prohibit gun dealers from selling ammunition to people who cannot own firearms. It would also require background checks for ammunition purchases, as is required in Washington for gun purchases, and require dealers to carry a license to sell ammunition. Right now dealers do not need a license if they only sell ammunition and not guns.
Paul Kramer, father of one of the survivors of this summer’s shooting in Mukilteo, spoke in support of the three bills.
“Those that are injured are changed for the rest of their lives,” Kramer said, “and the loved ones around those people are changed.”
Gun rights activists online have vowed to defeat the three bills and are planning a gun rights rally at the state capitol next month.
In the face of that opposition, Ferguson said he’s confident public support will help pass the bills and pointed to the success of Initiative 1639.
I-1639, passed last November with 59% of the vote, raised the age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles to 21 from 18. It also created a waiting period for buying guns and expanded background checks.