April 9, 2023 Press Releases
WASHINGTON STATE LEGISLATURE PASSES HB 1240 TO PROHIBIT THE SALE OF ASSAULT RIFLES
Alliance for Gun Responsibility celebrates this lifesaving action, years in the making
OLYMPIA, WA – Today, the Washington State Legislature made history by passing HB 1240, which means the state is on its way to becoming the 10th to prohibit the sale of assault weapons. This victory comes years in the making. HB 1240 was approved 27-21. Additionally, on Friday, April 7th, the State Legislature passed HB 1143 which mandates a 10-day waiting period and safety training for all firearm purchases. Both of these bills, prime sponsors of which are Rep. Peterson and Rep. Berry, will now head to Governor Inslee’s desk.
“This win is truly remarkable for all Washingtonians,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “For years, gun violence survivors have publicly relived their trauma in testimony and courageously shared their lived experiences with lawmakers in an exhaustive fight to pass these policies. The passage of HB 1240 was once thought to be unimaginable. We are so incredibly grateful to the legislators working alongside us to make this lifesaving progress possible so that all of our communities across our state can be safer from the scourge of gun violence.”
“You know, firearms are the leading cause of death among children in the United States. Not car accidents, not poisonings, not cancer, not illness. Firearms,” shared Sen. Kuderer (D-48) a longtime gun violence prevention champion here in the state of Washington.
Emily Cantrell survived the deadliest shooting in our country. She is amongst the 22,000 concertgoers who carry the trauma of having survived when 58 irreplaceable lives were taken at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas in 2017. After the passage of HB 1240, she shared, “This is surreal. It’s about time. I feel like we are moving in the right direction and it feels incredible that Washington is leading the way.”
“Our children are marching in the streets. They are asking us to take action. They’ve made it loud and clear that thoughts and prayers are not enough,” said Sen. Lovelett (D-40) during remarks on the final passage of HB 1240. She went on to share about the recent swatting her children just experienced, a cautious lockdown that takes place when a misinformed active shooting call is made. “Locks, lights, stay out of sight. That’s what my children know. Locks, lights, stay out of sight.”
Jane Weiss is a survivor of gun violence and a GVP champion in the state of WA. She lost her 19-year-old niece due to this epidemic in Isla Vista, California, in 2014. Following the momentous passage, she shared, “For all the families that dealt with this. It’s a historic day. For the loved ones who have been waiting such a long time for this, it’s a big day.”
“This is not signaling anything other than our intent to take these weapons of war off our streets,” shared Sen. Liias (D-21). Earlier in the bill’s progress, Rep. Strom Peterson (D-21), prime sponsor of HB 1240 shared, “And for seven years I have been sponsoring this legislation to try to get at the source of so much carnage—assault weapons.”
Assault weapons have been used in all of the deadliest mass shootings that have occurred in the last decade. These 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 an assault weapon allows a shooter to fire a larger number of rounds faster.
As of 2023, nine other states across America, as well as the District of Columbia, have passed an assault weapons ban, and Washington, historically, just became 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.
You can see the Alliance’s full 2023 Agenda here, and a fact sheet on gun violence in Washington here.
About the Alliance for Gun Responsibility
The Alliance for Gun Responsibility works to save lives and eliminate the harms caused by gun violence in every community through advocacy, education, and partnerships. Learn more at www.gunresponsibility.org and follow us at @WAGunResponsib.