Strengthening Laws

Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks

Assault weapons are designed to kill humans quickly and efficiently by using military features beyond a standard sporting firearm.

Assault weapons have been used in a number of high-profile shooting incidents, including the shooting of four teenagers in Mukilteo by a 19-year-old who had purchased the gun earlier that week, the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting.

Studies also show that shootings where assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines were used, resulted in 135% more people shot and 57% more killed, compared with other mass shootings.

Yet today in Washington State, assault weapons are treated the same as hunting rifles – and that means it is easier to buy an assault weapon than it is to purchase a handgun. That’s why we support Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks.

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What Are Enhanced Assault Weapons Background Checks?

The Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Check bill, developed in partnership with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General, is built upon the in-depth background check standards we currently use when issuing Concealed Pistol Licenses.

This policy will:

  • require that someone must be over 21 years old
  • require additional training for anyone seeking to purchase an Assault Weapon
  • require purchasers to state a clear, lawful reason and use for the Assault Weapon
  • require renew the background check each year to ensure they are still eligible to possess the weapon.

“Events like Mukilteo and Burlington remind us that we need common-sense gun reforms now. I am committed to reform that will keep powerful weapons out of dangerous hands.”– Attorney General Bob Ferguson

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