Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed a package of bills tightening the state’s gun laws, including a measure banning the manufacture, distribution and sale of gun magazines containing more than 10 cartridges.
Washington joins nine other states, including California and New Jersey, that limit the size of magazine capacity.
“We are not willing to accept gun violence as a normal part of life in Washington state,” Inslee, a Democrat, said at a press conference where he was surrounded by lawmakers and others. supporters of the new laws.
The Capitol was closed to the public for several hours before and after the bill was signed. A Washington State Patrol spokesperson said there was no specific threat, but the temporary closure was a “prudent precaution.”
Washington’s measure, which takes effect July 1, does not prohibit possession of such magazines. It also includes exceptions to magazine limits for law enforcement and corrections officers, members of the armed forces, the Washington National Guard, and licensed firearms dealers who sell to those institutions.
Violations would be a felony, which in Washington is punishable by up to 364 days in county jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.
The measure was requested by Democratic Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who said he was motivated to push for the bill after a 2016 shooting at a party in Mukilteo in which a 30-charger cartridges were used, killing three teenagers and seriously injuring another.
“It is the individuals who are directly affected by armed violence. When they speak, politicians respond,” Ferguson said.
The new law also makes selling a banned magazine or offering it for distribution or sale a violation of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, which allows the attorney general’s office to take action alleged violation of the law for restitution and civil penalties.
In a statement released after the bill was signed into law, the Sacramento, Calif.-based Firearms Policy Coalition said it planned to take legal action against the new law, saying it “condemns this latest act of state assault and will not allow this law to go unchallenged.” The group said it was looking for Washington residents who could be potential plaintiffs in the planned action.
Ferguson said he was confident the ban was constitutional and his office could successfully defend any potential litigation. He pointed to the history of appeals with other states with bans, including California, where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by two of its judges and upheld California law in November.
Inslee also signed a measure that prohibits people from knowingly bringing openly carried weapons or with a concealed gun permit to ballot counting sites and school board meetings on campus. The new law also prohibits firearms being carried openly at local government meetings and election-related facilities such as county election offices, off-campus school board meetings and local government meetings, although people who have concealed gun permits are permitted to carry their concealed weapon in these locations.
Firearms are already prohibited in several designated places throughout the state, including restricted areas of jails, courtrooms, taverns and commercial airports. And last year, lawmakers approved a ban on openly carrying guns and other weapons in the Washington state capitol, part of the capital’s campus and public protests across the country. State.
“No one should be barred from accessing their government for fear of armed intimidation,” said Rep. Tana Senn, the bill’s sponsor.
Law enforcement is exempt from the restrictions, as are any security personnel hired at a site.
Violating the law would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines of up to $1,000. A second or subsequent violation would constitute a serious offence.
Additionally, anyone convicted would have their concealed gun license revoked for three years.
Under this measure, a person must have knowingly broken the law for the criminal sanction to apply.
A third measure Inslee signed on Wednesday adds new restrictions to the law on making, selling or possessing so-called ghost weapons by prohibiting people from possessing components to build an untraceable firearm, as well as from possessing any weapon burners built after 2019 that do not have serial numbers. Hobbyists will be able to continue making guns at home, but under the new law they must use components with serial numbers.