April 26, 2023 Press Releases


In addition to HB 1240, the Gov. signed HB 1143 to establish a 10-day waiting period and mandated safety training for all firearm purchases and SB 5078 which establishes a pathway for firearm industry members to be held accountable for irresponsible practices. 

OLYMPIA, WA – This morning, Governor Jay Inslee signed three major gun violence prevention bills into law: HB 1240, HB 1143, and SB 5078. Of the three, HB 1240 bans the sale of assault weapons in the state of Washington. This signing goes into effect today and makes us the 10th state in the nation to take this historic and lifesaving action. 

HB 1143 mandates a 10-day waiting period and safety training for all firearm purchases, crucial and life-saving prevention methods that will reduce firearm-related suicide and accidents while ensuring responsible gun ownership. SB 5078 ensures a pathway for victims and survivors of gun violence to hold industry leaders accountable for wrongful and dangerous business practices. 

“Today is a day that I hope no Washingtonian will ever forget,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “It is a true honor to become the 10th state to ban these weapons of war from all of our neighborhoods. Assault weapons are the weapon of choice for mass shooters. They have been used in all of the deadliest shootings in the past decade and this law will help keep all of us safer by helping to prevent the next mass shooting from happening here in Washington. This law, along with the additional and vital gun responsibility bills passed this session, will keep children safer in their communities and schools and will allow all of us to feel safer in public spaces across our beautiful state. These victories could not have been possible without the 100s of thousands of WA state voters and volunteers who mandated that progress be made and our champions who have responded by passing these laws. I am so grateful to them today and every day.” 

More on HB 1240:

Assault weapons are civilian versions of weapons created by the military and designed to kill humans quickly and efficiently. An assailant with an assault weapon can hurt and kill twice as many people as an assailant with a handgun or non-assault rifle. This is because the features of an assault weapon allow shooters to fire a large number of rounds quickly. 

HB 1240 limits the importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any assault weapon in Washington State. This is the same prohibition structure as last year’s bill restricting high capacity magazines, which this legislature passed into law.

Data show that mass shootings in the United States have increased over the past 50 years with thirty-three percent occurring after 2010. Mass shootings continue to rise with a record-breaking number of 692 shootings occurring in 2021. In Washington, there have been twelve mass shootings since 2012. Assault weapons make shootings deadlier. An analysis of public mass shootings resulting in four or more deaths found that more than 85% of such fatalities were caused by assault rifles. When assault weapons are used in a mass shooting, six times as many people are shot.

During the 10-year period that the federal assault weapons ban was in effect, mass shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur compared to the periods before and after the ban. Currently, Nine states have enacted laws that generally ban the sale, manufacture, and transfer of assault weapons. Three other states have also enacted laws that place some additional safety requirements and regulations on assault weapons.

See a recap of the Alliance’s legislative victories here.