House Bill Aims to Ban Assault-Style Weapons
A bill has been introduced in the Washington House of Representatives that would outlaw the sale and manufacturing of assault rifles in the state.
HB 1240 identifies 29 specific makes and models of firearms which would fall under the ban and also includes a long litany of language related to the prohibition of the specific features these and other assault-style weapons possess.
Rep. Keith Goehner (R) of Washington's 12th Legislative District opposes the bill, citing its potentially-far reaching implications on law-abiding gun owners statewide.
"An 'assault rifle' by definition in this bill just about reaches everyone's recreational firearm and it really only addresses the people of the state who are law-abiding citizens. This bill won't have an impact or deterrent on the state's criminals."
Goehner's fellow 12th District legislator, Rep. Mike Steele (R) is also against the bill's language and says HB 1240 is an attempt to make forward progress with something that cannot be changed.
"The counterintuitive-ness and hypocrisy that is at work here is really challenging. In one area of the law we seek to diminish, while in another we really want to ramp things up. What I've discovered over the years that I've been in the legislature is that we cannot legislate human behavior. Criminals will always be criminals."
HB 1240 not only identifies certain gun types as egregious for personal use and possession, but also goes much further by tying the marketing of such weapons directly to mass murder.
The bill states (in lines 17-20), "The legislature finds that the gun industry has specifically marketed these weapons as "tactical," "hyper masculine," and "military style" in (a) manner that overtly appeals to troubled young men intent on becoming the next mass shooter."
The bill's language also references studies and statistics which link the nation's deadliest mass shootings in recent years to assault-style firearms.
HB 1240's primary sponsor is 21st District Rep. Strom Peterson (D) of Edmonds. The bill also has 25 co-sponsors, none of whom are Republicans.
The House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary is scheduled to hold an executive session regarding the legislation today.