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Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs assault weapons ban

Political and cultural divisions over the AR-15
Political and cultural divisions over the AR-15 04:42

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed into law three gun reform bills, including an assault weapons ban which makes Washington the 10th state to ban assault-style weapons such as the AR-15 and AK-47. 

Washington House Bill 1240 bans more than 50 gun models, including rifles that fire one bullet per trigger pull and automatically reload for a subsequent shot. Existing legal owners can retain assault weapons they currently own, Inslee said in a news release. Gun owners can also sell their assault weapons to a "licensed retailer" who can sell them out-of-state.  

New York, California and New Jersey are amongst the states to ban assault weapons, which have been predominantly used in the nation's mass shootings, including the recent Nashville and  Louisville massacres. About 85% of mass shooting fatalities are caused by assault weapons, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery.  

"Today Washington state is putting the gun industry in its place and improving the health, safety and lives of our residents," Inslee said in a news release following the bill signing.

He cited the reduction of gun deaths in Washington state from 2018 to 2021 — after the state instituted its first rash of firearm legislation — as evidence to move reforms forward and "provide further protections from gun violence for Washington communities."

Inslee signed into law two additional pieces of firearms legislation. HB 1143 mandates new gun owners to complete a training course on how to safely store and manage guns and understand self-defense laws. Senate Bill 5078 clarifies legal liabilities for gun manufacturers who allow straw purchases, sell guns to people prohibited from buying guns, or market to children.

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