The Washington Senate Law and Justice Committee will vote next week to approve a bill that would create a state definition of an "assault weapon.” This, according to the Gun Owners of America (GOA), would prohibit the sale of 90% of the firearms in the state.
GOA Regional Director Monte Bowen commented to The Center Square that if the law is passed, it would be illegal to sell and buy most of the firearms on the market. Since the ban would apply to any "semi-automatic rifle with a barrel of less than 30 inches.” He noted that the purpose of the regulation is to "disarm everyone":
The bottom story is they don’t want guns in the state of Washington, Their whole motive is to disarm everybody from any weapon they want to have.
The erroneous definition of an assault weapon
The definition of an "assault weapon" in the bill includes rifles capable of using a magazine with 10 or more rounds, regardless of caliber. In addition, the intent section of the bill states that "assault weapons are not commonly used in self-defense."
Assault weapons are not commonly used in self-defense and that any proliferation is not the result of the assault weapon being well-suited for self-defense, hunting, or sporting purposes.
Bowen said that one of the main problems with the law is the erroneous definition of assault weapons:
The thing people don’t realize is…the real definition of an assault in the military is a fully automatic weapon. We can’t even own those weapons, but their law [HB 1240] goes into so much more. The way they wrote it up, it even gets into commonly used hunting rifles. Most hunting rifles, most of your sporting rifles are 26 inches [barrel length] and down.
The director pointed out that the bill states that all weapons that fall within the definition of "assault weapons" are "like M-16s" and are therefore considered to be "weapons most useful in military service." While the bill specifically lists 62 assault rifles (which would be the ones banned), the rule also has a grandfather clause that places further restrictions on gun purchases.
The Senate Law and Justice Committee is scheduled to vote on the bill on March 23.