(TJ Martinell, The Center Square) A coalition of gun rights advocacy groups and individual citizens have filed a lawsuit against a new Washington state ban on firearms deemed “assault weapons” as soon as the legislation was signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee.
The complaint filed by the Firearms Policy Coalition and Second Amendment Foundation in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington argues that HB 1240’s ban on certain types of semi-automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns violates the Second and Fourteenth Amendment.
Taking effect the moment it was signed by Inslee on April 25, HB 1240 bans more than 60 semi-automatic rifles along with other semi-automatic rifles based on either length [shorter than 30 inches] or whether it has one or more accessory or feature. Certain types of semi-automatic shotguns and handguns would also be banned. The legislation was proposed by Attorney General Bob Ferguson and sponsored by Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle.
The lawsuit alleges that by doing so “the State of Washington has criminalized one of the most common and important means by which its citizens can exercise their fundamental right to self-defense.”
The lawsuit cites the recent Bruen decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned a New York State law prohibiting people from carrying firearms outside their home without a license. The majority opinion stated that there were two metrics to apply to a gun law. “Whether modern and historical regulations impose a comparable burden on the right of armed self-defense, and second, whether that regulatory burden is comparably justified.” Another metric was whether the firearm is in common use.
The lawsuit asserts that HB 1240 does that, particularly regarding the AR-15, which it claims is “among the most popular firearms in the nation, and they are owned by millions of Americans.”
Speaking at an April 25 bill signing, Ferguson said that “we are a nation of laws and they [gun rights advocates] have the right to challenge that. We have defended a number of bills. Our record so far is pretty good. We plan to keep that record intact.”
Also signed by Inslee was HB 1143, which requires gun purchasers complete a background check and wait 10 business days after purchase to take ownership of a firearm. The purchaser must also show proof of taking a safety training course.
SB 5078 focuses on the firearms industry by making them legally liability for gun sales if they do not take “reasonable precautions” to ensure they’re not sold to people who are not legally allowed to own them. The bill also prohibits firearm manufacturers from marketing any gun products to minors.
Pedersen said at the April 25 bill signing that if a “manufacturer is going to target youth with a message about how cool it is to go shoot assault weapons, you may have some responsibility the next time there is a mass shooting.”