Now Reading
Washington state gun law survives legal challenge.

Washington state gun law survives legal challenge.

A federal judge has denied a request to block a new Washington state law that prohibits the sale of certain semi-automatic rifles. The legislation was recently signed off by Democratic Governor Jay Inslee as part of an effort to reduce gun violence. The law immediately took effect when Inslee signed it in April and bans the sale, distribution, manufacture, and importation of over 50 types of guns, including AR- and AK- style rifles. However, it does not prohibit the possession of such weapons by those who already own them.

The law was quickly challenged in the courts by the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun-rights group based in Bellevue, and the Firearms Policy Coalition, which operates out of Sacramento, California. The groups, along with individual gun owners and a dealer, sought an order blocking the legislation until a trial on their claim that the law violated their constitutional right to bear arms. US District Judge Robert Bryan in Tacoma rejected their request, stating that “the public interest in their regulation by the State outweighs the Plaintiffs’ desire to purchase more assault weapons.”

A US Supreme Court decision in June of last year expanded gun rights, creating confusion amongst lawmakers over what restrictions remain legal. However, Bryan found that the Washington state law fit within the country’s long tradition of regulating dangerous weapons. For example, colonial-era bans on “trap guns” that could be fired without the owner present, and long-bladed Bowie knives, and the Thompson submachine gun, or Tommy gun, which was popular with gangsters in the years following World War I, have all been subject to regulation over the years.

Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson were prominent supporters of the law and pushed the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass it this session. Washington is now the tenth state in the US to enact such gun control legislation. This year, the US has seen a record pace of mass killings, all involving firearms.

See Also

Inslee also recently signed two other gun control laws into effect. One imposes a mandatory ten-day waiting period on firearm purchases, and the other loosens restrictions on lawsuits against gun makers or sellers in certain cases. Meanwhile, in Oregon, a federal challenge is underway to a voter-approved measure that mandates safety training and a background check for residents wishing to purchase a gun. The measure also bans the sale, transfer, or import of gun magazines with more than ten rounds, unless they are owned by a member of law enforcement or the military, or were owned prior to the measure’s passage.

© 2020 CANDOUR

Scroll To Top