Tonight, Washington took a big step towards a safer future with the House of Representatives’ approval of legislation requested by Attorney General Ferguson and Governor Inslee that would finally ban military-style assault weapons.
By a vote of 55–38, the House sent HB 1240 on to the Senate for further consideration. Prime sponsored by Representative Strom Peterson, the bill “prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any assault weapon, subject to various exceptions for licensed firearm manufacturers and dealers, and for individuals who inherit an assault weapon.”
It also provides that “a violation of these restrictions constitutes a gross misdemeanor and is actionable under the Consumer Protection Act.”
“The House today put public safety above the interest of the gun lobby,” Attorney General Bob Ferguson said. “The devastation of mass shootings extends far beyond the casualties and injuries. Mass shootings traumatize entire communities. We must stop selling these weapons of war in Washington.”
“Assault weapons have contributed to some of the deadliest shootings over the last decade, and keeping more of them out of our communities will make Washington a safer place,” Governor Jay Inslee said.
“I applaud the bill sponsors and the Attorney General’s Office for helping advance this crucial public safety measure.”
“We have a crisis of gun violence in this country, and it is only escalating,” Representative Peterson (also a Snohomish County Councilmember) observed.
“Too many of our neighbors’ lives have been cut short. In 2016, a 19-year-old here in Mukilteo used an assault rifle to end three lives and upend countless more. I am proud that we passed this legislation off of the House floor. We need to continue to take real, tangible action to curb gun violence in our state. Getting this bill to the governor’s desk will be a major step forward.”
“It is time we put children before the gun industry and people before profit,” said Senator Patty Kuderer, prime sponsor of the companion bill in the Senate. Kuderer represents NPI’s hometown of Redmond along with Senator Manka Dhingra.
“We passed common-sense gun safety legislation last year because the data shows when shooters have more bullets, they use them. We’re back this year because the research tells us when shooters get to attach red dot sites, foregrips, collapsible buttstocks and lasers: they use them in our classrooms. Assault weapons are favored by mass shooters precisely because they are able to mow down many people in a short period of time. This isn’t a game. This is real and these are the lives of our most vulnerable community members. There is no place for weapons of war on our streets, our schools and in our neighborhoods.”
The Attorney General’s press release celebrating the passage of the bill noted that the Northwest Progressive Institute’s polling has found extremely strong support among likely voters in Washington for an assault weapons ban.
That support stood at 56% last June and was subsequently corroborated by a poll conducted by SurveyUSA for its partners. A new statewide NPI poll just back from the field today found that support had increased slightly, to 58%, which shows that voter enthusiasm for this critical law is not only rock solid, but growing.
Our team is very happy to see this bill leave the House as the final action taken on cutoff day. It’s about time! Thank you, Representatives!
The roll call was as follows:
3rd Reading & Final Passage
Yeas: 55; Nays: 42; Excused: 1
Voting Yea: Representatives Alvarado, Bateman, Berg, Bergquist, Berry, Bronoske, Callan, Chapman, Chopp, Cortes, Davis, Doglio, Donaghy, Duerr, Entenman, Farivar, Fey, Fitzgibbon, Fosse, Goodman, Gregerson, Hackney, Kloba, Leavitt, Lekanoff, Macri, Mena, Morgan, Ormsby, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Paul, Peterson, Pollet, Ramel, Ramos, Reed, Reeves, Riccelli, Ryu, Santos, Senn, Simmons, Slatter, Springer, Stearns, Stonier, Street, Taylor, Thai, Tharinger, Timmons, Walen, Wylie, Jinkins
Voting Nay: Representatives Abbarno, Barkis, Barnard, Caldier, Chambers, Chandler, Cheney, Christian, Connors, Corry, Couture, Dent, Dye, Eslick, Goehner, Graham, Griffey, Harris, Hutchins, Jacobsen, Klicker, Kretz, Low, Maycumber, McClintock, McEntire, Mosbrucker, Orcutt, Robertson, Rude, Rule, Sandlin, Schmick, Schmidt, Shavers, Steele, Stokesbary, Volz, Walsh, Waters, Wilcox, Ybarra
Excused: Representative Hansen
No Republicans supported the bill. That’s disappointing, but not unexpected.
Two Democrats voted nay: New State Representative Clyde Shavers (D‑10th District: Island and Snohomish Counties) and State Representative Alicia Rule (D‑42nd District: Whatcom County). Representative Drew Hansen, who is battling COVID-19, was excused from the vote. The caucus could have afforded to have lost five more votes and still passed the bill. However, it passed more comfortably than that, showing that Democrats know this is legislation the people want.
HB 1240 now heads to the Washington State Senate for further consideration.
What a great victory to be able to celebrate on the final day for bills to be considered in their chamber of origin in the 2023 legislative session!