One of the more controversial laws will prohibit the sale, distribution, and trade of gun magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law three gun-related bills, including one that will prohibit the sale of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
According to Oregon Public Radio, the other measures restrict the manufacture and trade of so-called ghost guns, while another seeks to curtail “armed intimidation” in public places by restricting the legality of possessing firearms in venues such as school board meetings and election-related facilities.
“We are not willing to accept gun violence as a normal part of life in the state of Washington,” Inslee said in a press conference.
“This is a triumph, I believe, in democracy, because the will of the vast majority of Washingtonians is being followed by the passage of these bills,” Inslee said. “For too long, narrow segments of folks have blocked the majority will when it comes to saving us from this mass violence.”
Oregon Public Radio notes that Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson attended the signing of the bills, along with several private individuals and Democratic state legislators who have been affected by gun violence.
“This restriction on the high-capacity magazines will force a shooter to reload after a maximum of 10 rounds,” said Paul Kramer, whose son, Will, was the lone survivor of a residential shooting that left three other teenagers dead. “That delay can be a game-changer.”
Ferguson said that his office had given the issue of firearm-related violence special attention after he had a conversation with Kramer.
“Dammit, we’re just going to have to do this,” Ferguson said, recalling how he felt after speaking to Kramer. “And I’m going to put the full weight of my office behind it.”
While Democrats have celebrated the development as a major victory, conservative lawmakers have already begun lashing out.
Some conservatives have said that the 10-round restriction does not make sense—and seems to ignore how many firearms are manufactured. Many handguns, for instance, come with standard-issue 15- and 17-round magazines.
“I oppose efforts to demonize anyone who wants to lawfully protect themselves, their families, and their constitutional rights—they aren’t a threat,” said Republican state Sen. Phil Fortunato.
“Criminals emboldened by the erosion of our police, thanks to the Governor and his friends in the Legislature, are a threat and won’t be dissuaded from doing harm because of these new laws,” Fortunato said.
Oregon Public Radio notes that a Nevada-based firearms advocacy group has already said that it plans to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the magazine restrictions.
However, Ferguson’s office has said that it is confident that Washington’s new laws are defensible and will withstand any outside attacks.