Washington state lawmakers hear public comment over proposal to ban semi-automatic guns

Lawmakers are hearing from people in Washington state over Governor Jay Inslee's proposal to ban semi-automatic guns.
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 7:53 AM PST
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OLYMPIA, Wash. (KPTV) - Lawmakers are hearing from people in Washington state over Governor Jay Inslee’s proposal to ban semi-automatic guns.

House Bill 1240 would ban the sale and manufacture of semi-automatic weapons with at least one military-style feature, for example an AR-15 would be banned under this bill.

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People advocating for the ban spoke out during Tuesday’s Legislative Session, saying that the impact of gun violence affects more than those physically hurt or killed. One woman said that gun violence took her grandparents, an uncle and her mother from her.

“Trauma loss is like dropping a stone in the water -- the ripples that extend outwards can drown the survivors,” Tahan Salvadelena said.

Meanwhile, those against the ban say the bill wouldn’t just ban weapons, it would also cost people their jobs.

“This bill prohibits manufacturing, and will result in a direct layoff and plant closure of our facility in Lakewood, Washington. While I’m against this bill, more importantly, I am speaking up and standing up for our 600 employees,” said Janie Vigil, Vice President Human Resources at Aero Precision.

Just last week, Washington State Sheriffs’ Association issued a letter criticizing Governor Inslee’s ban, saying in part: “The new proposals to restrict gun ownership would further infringe on rights that have been clearly and repeatedly established. The rise in violent crime that so concerns citizens has happened even as regulations and restrictions on firearm ownership have grown.”

Also discussed at Tuesday’s Legislative Session, a bill that would give local governments the power to pass their own gun control laws. The bill would allow cities and counties to pass their own laws in addition to state law, allowing for more restrictive gun control in certain parts of the state.

“One size fits all doesn’t necessarily work. Local jurisdictions should have the authority to adopt local regulations that are appropriate for their community. I believe that if you take the responsibility of having a firearm, then you should also take the additional responsibility of understanding the local laws,” said Rep. Davick Hackney (D). “Although there may be some inconvenience by not being able to carry your firearm in the same manner, in every jurisdiction, I think the need for local jurisdictions to adopt firearm laws that are applicable to the circumstances they’re facing outweighs that concern.”

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Those against the bill say it would create a patchwork of laws and regulations that could result in 14 different laws in the stretch of 100 miles.