CLARK COUNTY, Wash. (KGW) — With the stroke of a pen Tuesday morning, House Bill 1240 became law and Washington state became the 10th in the nation to ban the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles.
“This bill prohibits the sale, import, distribution, manufacture of any military-style assault weapon in the state of Washington starting today, I’m happy to say,” said Gov. Jay Inslee.
Opponents took immediate action. Gun advocacy group the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, along with other groups and individuals are suing the state in federal court.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said the office is ready for the challenge.
“We’re confident. We haven’t lost a case yet against the [National Rifle Association] or the Second Amendment Foundation when they’ve challenged common sense gun reform,” Ferguson said. “My legal team is better than their legal team. I’m confident we’ll win again.”
Sporting Systems, a gun store in Vancouver, is named as one of the plaintiffs and declined to comment. According to court documents, the firearms dealer specializes in high end rifles, pistols and shotguns, and said the ban “substantially constricted” its market and harmed its business.
“I really think Inslee is foolish for putting this ban on semi-automatics,” said Will Ward, a gun owner who lives in Vancouver. “You can’t take away my right to own a gun. The government doesn’t have the authority to do that.”
The legislation does not ban possession but rather the sale and transfer of assault weapons, with exceptions for law enforcement and the military. The semi-automatic rifle ban was one of three gun control measures. Gov. Inslee also signed into a law a bill that imposes a 10-day waiting period on firearms purchases, and another that clears the way for lawsuits against gun makers or sellers in certain cases.
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