Washington State Bans Sale of AR-15s and Other Semiautomatic Rifles

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs House Bill 1240, which prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of semi-automatic guns such as the AR-15, on Tuesday at the Capitol

Effective Immediately

“These weapons of war, assault weapons, have no reason other than mass murder,” Inslee said at the ceremony, surrounded by lawmakers and other supporters of the legislation. “Their only purpose is to kill humans as rapidly as possible in large numbers.”

The gun ban signed by Inslee is aimed at high-powered rifles that have been used to carry out the worst mass shootings across the U.S. Inslee at the ceremony also signed into law two other major gun measures, including a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases and a bill that would hold gunmakers liable for negligent sales.

Supporters of the ban and other restrictions in Washington said they will help prevent some mass shootings, or at least lower the death toll, while also reducing other gun violence and suicides.

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre praised state officials for passing the ban on selling specific semi-automatic weapons. President Joe Biden “commends the leadership of Washington Governor Jay Inslee and legislative leaders as well as the advocates, survivors and elected officials who fought for years to make today a reality,” she said.

The sales ban drew a quick legal challenge from the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Washington; and the Firearms Policy Coalition, based in Sacramento, California. The groups sued in U.S. District Court in Tacoma on Tuesday, saying the law violates the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Washington’s new law prohibits the future sale, distribution, manufacture, and importation of more than 50 types of guns, including AR- and AK-style rifles. The measure does not bar the possession of weapons by people who already have them.

Washington is the 10th state — including California, Hawaii, Illinois, and New York — to enact such a law.

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