Washington has just banned the sale of AR-15s and dozens of other semiautomatic rifles.
The monumental change came Tuesday, as Governor Jay Inslee signed a trio of gun safety bills amid a spate of disastrous gun violence sweeping the nation.
“These weapons of war, assault weapons, have no reason other than mass murder,” Inslee said while signing the bills. “Their only purpose is to kill humans as rapidly as possible in large numbers.”
Inslee also signed a bill that enacts a 10-day waiting period for gun purchases, and another that will open the door to holding gunmakers and sellers liable for negligent sales. In sum, the bills embody yet another state government with a Democratic trifecta genuinely responding to concerns surrounding rampant gun violence. Michigan has been pursuing a slate of gun safety regulations, including the recent passage of universal background checks and safe storage laws.
Washington’s gun safety provisions follow horrific instances of gun violence on both micro and macro scales. In recent weeks, numerous individuals have been shot, even fatally, for the offense of accidentally ringing the wrong doorbell or driving up the wrong driveway. And these came amid larger back-to-back mass shootings that have shocked thousands of people in the South. A school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, left three children and three adults dead; a shooting at a Louisville, Kentucky, bank left five people dead and another eight injured.
There have been at least 173 mass shootings in America just this year—that is an average of about 1.5 mass shootings a day.
In the meantime, Republicans have spent most of their time either shutting down even modest gun reform or stumbling over themselves to still somehow pledge fealty to the NRA. (Essentially every rumored and declared candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination attended the NRA’s convention less than two weeks ago.)
“Just because they don’t solve all the problems does not mean the state of Washington does not take action,” Inslee said while signing the bills Tuesday. “Inaction against gun violence is unacceptable.”