BELLEVUE, Wash. — A bill that would ban the sale of guns that are considered assault weapons is making its way through the Washington State Legislature.
House Bill 1240 has already passed through the House and passed through a Senate Committee on Tuesday. The bill also outlaws the sale of certain parts and gun accessories used to make or modify certain guns.
Washingtonians who already own a gun listed in the bill are allowed to keep it. There are also exceptions listed, like sales to law enforcement, military and out-of-state customers.
Similar legislation has been proposed in the past six years in Washington but has never been successful. But people both in support of the bill and opposed to it, believe it will become law this time around.
If the bill passes, it will go into effect immediately, due to an emergency clause in the bill. Some gun shop owners say that guns have been around for decades, and this is not an emergency situation to enact the law right when it passes.
“We should be able to clear our inventory out,” said Wade Gaughran, the owner of Wade’s Eastside Guns in Bellevue.
Lawmakers said they will try to give businesses options with their inventory, but Gaughran believes the bill is a violation of the Second Amendment. He believes it will pass, but then also believes it will be reversed eventually due to constitutionality.
“It’s just insulting to anybody that's in the firearms business,” said Gaughran, speaking of the bill wording. “You know, we do the firearms business right here, like we do background checks, we make sure we're only selling to people that can legally own guns. We train people on the safe use of firearms."
Gaughran said the legislation has actually caused more people to buy these guns. He said they have seen a 400% spike in sales over the past six weeks.
He does not believe banning the sale of these firearms would prevent mass shootings from happening.
“How somebody can actually like put their sights on a child, shooting them with a rifle, I mean, it's just, it's beyond me,” said Gaughran. “That level of sickness is not going to be stopped by making these guns harder to get in Washington state.”
But people who have been pushing for this legislation to pass, believe the ban would help prevent mass shootings.
"I mean, you don't want to be the next Nashville or the next Uvalde, you know, the ticking time bomb that is a society with firearms this readily available,” said Dylan O'Conner with the group Washington Gun Responsibility.
He believes this bill is an important step to reduce the number of guns in the community, which he hopes will reduce the number of shootings.
“It’s not a massive buyback program. So, we're not going to see thousands of them show up in warehouses overnight or anything like that,” said O’Connor. “But I'm very excited that, you know, you won't be able to go into a gun store and buy an AR-15 anymore.”
The bill needs to pass through the full Senate before it can become law. Governor Jay Inslee has already shared his support for the bill.