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WA State Bans Assault Weapons [Updated]

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Washington state’s assault weapons ban in now effect as Gov. Jay Inslee (D) signed the bill into law on April 25, 2023.

AR-15

H.B. 1240 passed the House in a 55-42 vote in early March, cracking down on over 60 models of semi-automatic firearms.

So, keep reading as we break down what the bill bans and what Washington gun owners can expect moving forward.

Editor’s Note: Article was updated on 4.28.23 at 12:10 p.m. CDT.

Table of Contents

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What Guns Are Banned Under the Washington Assault Weapons Ban?

Under the bill, firearms deemed “assault weapons” are not available for sale in the state, nor would they be allowed to be manufactured or imported there.

An amendment added to the bill will allow gun makers to sell in-stock inventory (stock that was acquired before Jan. 1, 2023) to out-of-state consumers for 90 days.

PSA AK 103 Left Side
AKs would be a no-go

AKs & ARs

The bill bans general firearm families like the AK and AR, including popular models such as the AK-47, AK-74, AR-15, M4, and M16, but it doesn’t stop there.

Going further, the bill names nearly 60 other specific makes and models that would be outlawed. Models like the FN SCAR, FN PS90, H&K MP5, Barrett .50 cal, Galil, Steyr AUG, and Springfield Armory M1A are just a handful the state would ban.

FN SCAR 17S
FN SCAR 17S

The measure further states that any semi-automatic firearm with a detachable magazine wearing specific accessories like a telescoping stock, threaded barrel, muzzle brake, or pistol grip are also no-gos.

Semi-automatic rifles under 30 inches in length are also barred from sale.

712

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Pistols, Shotguns, & Accessories

Semi-automatic pistols and shotguns are not outside the scope of the measure, which bans pistols using a detachable magazine and sporting one of the following accessories: threaded barrel, second hand grip, or shroud.

A threaded barrel on the FN Tactical 509.

Semi-auto shotguns with folding, telescoping, or thumbhole stocks; grips that protrude “conspicuously beneath the action;” fixed magazine with more than seven rounds; revolving cylinder; or pistol grip are also prohibited.

1405

at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

H.B. 1240 moves past just firearms and into accessories squashing the use of conversion kits and “large capacity magazines” with a capacity of over 10 rounds.

Springfield Armory Hellcat Magazines
Anything over 10 rounds would be barred.

Why Was the Bill Introduced?

According to legislators, H.B. 1240 is a direct response to what they call a public health threat.

Pointing to the use of so-called “assault weapons” in recent mass shootings, authors of the bill said removing firearms that allow assailants to fire a high volume of rounds quickly is necessary to protect its citizens.

Geissele Super Duty standing 2
Geissele Super Duty

“An analysis of mass shootings that result in four or more deaths found that 85 percent of those fatalities were caused by an assault weapon,” the measure says.

It added, “The legislature finds and declares that gun violence is a threat to the public health and safety of Washingtonians. Assault weapons are civilian versions of weapons created for the military and are designed to kill humans quickly and efficiently.”

Lancaster Arms Rough Rider AK-74 Loading Mag
AK-74 Loading Mag

But pro-gun groups say it’s not the weapon that’s the issue. In a statement, Second Amendment advocate group Gun Owners of America said the bill wrongly sets its sights on firearms.

“HB 1240 is one of their biggest attacks on your Second Amendment rights,” GOA said. “Radical anti-gun Leftist Rep. Strom Peterson’s bill attempts to disarm the law-abiding citizens of Washington, while criminals run amok committing their violent acts with little to no consequences.”

What Does the Washington AWB Ban Mean for Gun Owners?

With Gov. Jay Inslee signing the bill, that means Washington residents will now be without the ability to purchase some of their favorite firearms.

“This is a very important vote. It is something that I’ve believed in since 1994 when I voted to make this federal law,” Inslee told the Seattle Times when the measure was introduced.

Springfield Saint Pistol ears and eyes
Springfield Saint Pistol

He added that the bill “broke the NRA’s lock on Washington” and “the vast majority of Washingtonians support this commonsense measure.”

The bill’s current language bans the sale, manufacture, or import of restricted firearms and accessories. But it doesn’t rule out possession of these items — meaning that current owners can keep their existing firearms.

Law enforcement personnel and military members also gain some leniency with exemptions.

PSA AK-104
PSA AK-104

Politicians and gun rights groups say this new measure is unconstitutional, especially in light of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen.

They argue that the right to self-defense and the tools needed to defend oneself are guaranteed under Bruen.

“It is almost certain that the first federal court that reviews this controversial policy will overturn it,” Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) told The Spokesman Review.

“This makes this whole exercise a questionable one, and in my opinion, a waste of Washington tax payers money while we go through a fruitless process.”

But legislators argue that semi-auto firearms are not intended for self-defense and, therefore, fall outside the purview of Bruen.

Home Defense Glock G19 at Door

“The legislature finds that assault weapons are not commonly used in self-defense and that any proliferation is not the result of the assault weapon being well-suited for self-defense, hunting, or sporting purposes,” H.B. 1240 states.

“Rather, increased sales are the result of the gun industry’s concerted efforts to sell more guns to a civilian market. The legislature finds that the gun industry has specifically marketed these weapons as ‘tactical,’ ‘hyper masculine,’ and ‘military style’ in manner that overtly appeals to troubled young men intent on becoming the next mass shooter.”

Home Defense AR-15
Home Defense AR-15

10-Day Waiting Period & Mandatory Firearms Training

Though H.B. 1240 received the most attention for its crackdown on firearms, Washington state also enacted other measures aimed at gun ownership.

These laws require a 10-day waiting period when purchasing any firearm in the state and mandatory safety training.

Just because someone works behind a gun store counter they’re not automatically experts. Do ask questions but take what is said with a grain of salt.
A 10-day waiting period would apply to all gun purchases.

Previously, Washington state had a 10-day waiting period, but it only applied to semi-automatic rifles.

This new measure would encapsulate all firearm purchases requiring FFLs to hold the gun until the 10-day time period elapsed before completing the final transfer.

Additionally, prospective gun buyers are now forced to complete a firearms safety training course (or have completed one within the past five years) in order to buy a gun in the state.

Staccato P range
Buyers would also be required to complete a firearms safety course.

H.B. 1143 was sponsored by Rep. Liz Berry (D – District 36) at the request of the Governor’s office and passed with a 52-44 vote.

“This bill will save lives,” Berry told Fox13. “It’s simple: 10-day waiting periods reduce gun violence. Research shows that delaying a person in crisis from obtaining a firearm can be the difference between life and death. And over half of suicides in the U.S. are done by firearms. That’s why this cooling-off period is so important.”

Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol_08
Beretta A300 Ultima Patrol

Finally, another bill signed into law allows the Washington Attorney General to hold gun makers and sellers liable for guns used in mass shootings.

The Lawful Protection of Commerce in Arms Act currently protects gun makers on a federal level from being prosecuted for crimes in which their firearms are used.

Daniel Defense MK18

The Gun Industry Reacts

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has already struck at the state, filing a lawsuit alongside Aero Precision seeking an injunction that would prevent the bill from becoming law.

“NSSF will not stand idly by as politicians cleave away fundamental Constitutional rights from Americans,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President & General Counsel, in a statement.

PSA Sabre shoot right
PSA Sabre

“The right to keep and bear arms that are commonly owned belongs to law-abiding citizens. Politicians in Washington exceed their authority when they usurp those rights to mollify radical special-interest groups. These politicians violate their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and the rights of the citizens they represent.”

The Second Amendment Foundation and Firearms Policy Coalition also responded quickly, immediately filing a federal lawsuit as well.

Century Arms WASR-10 shoot right rear
Century WASR-10

“The hysteria manufactured by the authors and supporters of this legislation is rivaled only by the false characterization of the banned firearms as ‘weapons of war,’” SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut, said in a statement.

“As we note in our complaint, the firearms that Washington bans as ‘assault weapons’ are, in all respects, ordinary semiautomatic rifles. To the extent they are different from other semiautomatic rifles, their distinguishing features make them safer and easier to use. But even if they are considered as a separate group of ‘assault weapons,’ they cannot be banned because they are not dangerous and unusual.

“We will take this case to the highest court in the land, if necessary. This sort of legislative demagoguery cannot be allowed to stand.”

Stag 15 FDE Lefty
Stag 15 FDE Lefty

After news of the potential AWB ban, companies like Stag Arms have rallied behind Washington state gun owners.

Stag
(Photo: Stag Arms)

In a press release from the gun maker, Stag says it’s committed to helping law-abiding gun owners by helping move online orders from WA residents to the front of the line with expedited processing and shipping, as well as taking action on the ground in the state itself.

299

at Stag Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

“Stag Arms is taking action by sending team members to the front lines in Washington state to support law-abiding, gun owners,” the company said in a statement.

“Stag is setting up a forward operation base to deliver extra support to local gun store owners and dealers across the state. The team is also helping process thousands of orders and expediting shipping while the clock ticks down to the bill being signed into law.”

799

at Stag Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Final Thoughts

Washington state now bans the sale of over 60 models of AK and AR-style firearms, some semi-auto pistols and shotguns, and magazines over 10 rounds.

Modded AR-15s
Modded AR-15s

Through extensive in its scope and the strictest gun measure introduced in the States, it is already facing legal pressure from pro-gun groups and politicians who intend to fight the measure to the fullest extent.

As always, Pew Pew Tactical will stay on top of this and update you on any changes. So, keep checking back.

What do you think of this new set of bills? Sound off in the comments below. Need to stock up on your favorite rifles before a ban? Check out:

Read the full article here

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