March 10, 2023 Press Releases

Washington House Passes HB 1240 To Prohibit The Sale Of Assault Rifles

Alliance for Gun Responsibility applauds this vital progress to address growing gun violence threats 

OLYMPIA, WA – This week, the Washington House of Representatives passed two vital gun violence prevention bills off the House floor, HB 1240 to prohibit the sale of assault rifles and HB 1143 to mandate a 10-day waiting period and safety training for all firearm purchases. HB 1240 was approved 55-42 and HB 1143 was approved 52-44. Last week, the Senate advanced another priority policy, SB 5078, which enables survivors of gun violence to seek justice against irresponsible members of the gun industry. 

“The passage of these policies represents a huge victory for all Washingtonians,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “We are one step closer to limiting the number of weapons of war in our communities. The advancement of HB 1240 would have been unimaginable a few years ago. We are proud of how far we’ve come in the fight against gun violence. But our work is not done. We expect the opposite chambers to do their part to keep our communities safe by sending these lifesaving policies to the Governor’s desk.”

Ann Marie Parsons’ daughter Carrie was one of the 58 people killed at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. This year, testifying in support of HB 1240, she urged the legislature to take action. “With [an assault weapon], you do not need to be a good marksman to kill and/or injure over 900 people,” she said. “In Las Vegas, no one was targeted. They were all mowed down. None of them stood a chance. Our family has to live forever with the knowledge that our daughter was killed–shot in the back–while she was running for her life…Please make the right decision. Ban assault weapons in Washington state as nine other states have already done. Pass House Bill 1240. Do it for Carrie.”

“I am hopeful seeing this historic piece of legislation pass through the House last night – hopeful for what this means for ensuring our kids’ safety, and that of our schools and communities,” said Sen. Kuderer (D-48), prime sponsor of SB 5265. “It is time we put children before the gun industry and people before profit. We passed common sense gun safety legislation last year because the data show when shooters have more bullets, they use them. We’re back this year because the research tells us when shooters get to attach red dot sites, foregrips, collapsible buttstocks, and lasers, they use them in our classrooms. Assault Weapons are favored by mass shooters precisely because they are able to mow down many people in a short period of time. Enough is enough.”

“We have an entire generation of young people traumatized by school shootings, active shooter drills, and a crisis of gun violence,” said Rep. Strom Peterson (D-21), prime sponsor of HB 1240. “And for seven years I have been sponsoring this legislation to try to get at the source of so much carnage—assault weapons. We took a big step in passing this legislation off the House floor, but there is more work to do.”

Assault weapons are civilian versions of weapons created by the military and designed to kill humans quickly and efficiently. Assault weapons have been used in all of the deadliest mass shootings in the last decade. 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 an assault weapon allows a shooter to fire a larger number of rounds faster. 

As of 2023, nine other states across America have passed an assault weapons ban and Washington is one step closer to becoming the tenth. HB 1240 will allow existing legal owners to retain their assault weapons. This is the same prohibition structure as last year’s bill restricting high-capacity magazines, which passed in 2022. HB 1143 will help ensure responsible gun ownership by requiring safety training and a waiting period for the purchase of all firearms, extending safeguards in place for the purchase of assault weapons to cover all purchases. Both of these bills will now make their way to the Senate floor in the coming weeks. 

You can see the Alliance’s full 2023 Agenda here, and a fact sheet on gun violence in Washington here.