State Rep. Peterson sponsors bill to ban assault weapons

By Evan Smith

State Rep. Strom Peterson has introduced a bill that would ban the sale of certain assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Democrat Peterson introduced the bill before the Jan. 10 opening of the legislative session at the request of State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“This past year, we all watched in horror as the mass shootings in Orlando and Dallas took place,” Peterson said. “And then it happened here, in Mukilteo. It’s past the time we stand up for our communities and keep these assault weapons from destroying more families.”

The ban on the sale of high-capacity magazines would apply to magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Ferguson noted that there now is no limit on the capacity of magazines in Washington.

Among the co-sponsors of House Bill 1134 banning the sale of assault weapons and large capacity magazines are Democratic State Reps. Lillian Ortiz-Self and Cindy Ryu.

Peterson and Ortiz-Self represent the 21st Legislative District, including most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood. Ryu represents the 32nd District, including the city of Lynnwood, parts of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas, the city of Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

The State House of Representatives has referred the bill to the House Judiciary Committee.

Democratic State Sens. Maralyn Chase of the 32nd District and Marco Liias of the 21st District are co-sponsors of a companion bill in the Senate.

Liias said Monday that high-capacity assault weapons have no practical use in civilized society except to make it easier for people to easily kill multiple people.

“Mass shootings, I am horrified to say, are becoming a cultural norm,” Liias said. “They’re occurring more and more frequently and hitting closer and closer to home. We need look no farther than Mukilteo to realize how easily we or our loved ones could become victims of a shooting.”

Liias referred to the shooting last July that claimed three lives and left another student injured at a house party.

“Three people died, but even more could easily have lost their lives that night,” Liias said.

At the bill’s introduction, Ferguson cited research finding that incidents involving assault weapons or large-capacity ammunition magazines resulted in 135 percent more people shot and 57 percent more killed, compared to other mass shootings.

The assault-weapon ban is similar to legislation passed in New York and Connecticut and upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ferguson noted that the legislation covers only sales, thereby grandfathering current gun ownership. The legislation would not require registration of existing weapons but would require them to be safely and securely stored.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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