Attorney general seeks ban on sale of assault-style weapons

OLYMPIA — In calling for a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines Wednesday, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson pointed to July’s triple slaying in Snohomish County.

“The recent tragedy in Mukilteo drives home the need to act with urgency to end the availability of weapons designed with only one purpose — to kill people,” Ferguson said. “I have a duty to protect the public, as well as uphold the Constitution. My proposal will ban some of the deadliest weapons, while respecting the Second Amendment right to bear arms.”

Ferguson said he will submit a request for laws during the 2017 legislative session that would impose a ban on semiautomatic weapons with military-style features. He also is proposing a limit on magazines to a maximum of 10 rounds of ammunition.

Allen Ivanov, 19, allegedly used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon that would be banned under Ferguson’s proposal. Ivanov had outfitted the weapon with 30-round magazines, emptying one, at a July 30 party in Mukilteo. He’s accused of storming into a home with plans to kill his former girlfriend and ex-classmates from Kamiak High School. Anna Bui, Jake Long and Jordan Ebner — all 19 years old — died. Will Kramer was injured.

Kramer’s parents spoke in favor of the ban at Wednesday’s news conference in Seattle.

“These guns are not used in self-defense,” said Dr. Liz Raemont, Kramer’s mother. She added: “Without a ban on these guns, there will be more mass shootings.”

Kramer’s father, Paul, also spoke.

“I have been heartbroken and shaken to the core of my being with grief and anguish by the recent tragedy in Mukilteo,” he said, adding: “Believe me, if we have any say, and I believe we do, we want to do what we can to stop this from happening elsewhere.”

Mukilteo Mayor Jennifer Gregerson also attended the news conference.

Ivanov has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Aggravated murder carries two possible sentences: death or life in prison. Prosecutors have yet to decide which sentence they will seek.

Prosecutors allege that Ivanov plotted the deadly ambush days in advance because he was upset that Bui was moving on without him. On July 25 he allegedly wrote that he planned to kill her. The day before the shootings, he texted a friend, saying, “If nothing happens, I’m going for it.” He reportedly indicated that he wanted to wait until after he took a gun-safety class so he wouldn’t “mess up.”

Prosecutors believe he had purchased the Ruger semiautomatic rifle four days before the shootings. Ivanov reportedly described spending about 20 minutes reading the owner’s manual for the AR-15-type rifle before the attack. He needed to know how to load and ready the weapon to fire.

At one point before the attack, he allegedly tweeted: “What’s Ruger gonna think?”

Ferguson’s proposed legislation would not require registration of existing firearms. It would be based on assault-style weapon laws passed in other states, such as New York and Connecticut, he said.

In a press release, he compared the outcomes of two shootings involving suspects with Snohomish County ties.

The Mukilteo shootings involved an assault-style weapon; the shootings at Seattle Pacific University in 2014 involved a Mountlake Terrace man allegedly armed with a shotgun.

Aaron Rey Ybarra, 28, is accused of planning a mass shooting on the Seattle private college campus and wanting to kill as many people as possible before taking his own life, according to police reports. Ybarra allegedly had a shotgun, a hunting knife and at least 50 rounds of ammunition on him when he was taken into custody, the arrest report says.

John Meis, an SPU student, is credited with subduing Ybarra with pepper spray, putting an end to the rampage while the suspect was reloading.

One man was killed and two others wounded.

More people could have been killed if the weapon held more rounds and if it had the same type used in Mukilteo, Ferguson’s said.

Just like any other piece of legislation that comes before him, state Rep. Dan Kristiansen said he wants to see the proposal before passing judgment. Even so, the Snohomish Republican predicts Ferguson’s proposed ban likely will face opposition in Olympia, just as other gun control measures have in the past.

Sometimes, reasons are political; sometimes, they are personal, he said.

Kristiansen said he had an uncle who was shot and killed in another state by a woman who was deemed by the courts at the time to have been experiencing mental illness. She spent nine years in prison. In that case, the law worked in preventing the woman from passing a background check to legally acquire the handgun, he said. So she broke into a home and stole one before showing up at the home of Kristiansen’s uncle.

Some people with evil intent simply don’t care about laws and will find ways around them, he said. Such is the case in school shootings, including at Marysville Pilchuck High School in 2014, he said.

“There are 20,000 gun control laws on the books and none of them would have saved my family member’s life,” Kristiansen said. “Would the attorney general’s proposal have saved my family member’s life? My guess is it would not.”

Ferguson said he expects the legislation will be filed in December.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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