Washington State is poised to become the 10th state in the country to place restrictions on the sale of certain standard-capacity magazines.
Last Friday, by a vote of 55 to 42, the state House passed SB 5078, which would prohibit the sale of “ammunition feeding devices” with a capacity greater than 10 rounds. What the anti-gun crowd refers to as “high-capacity” magazines.
Additionally, the legislation prohibits the manufacture, distribution, and importation of such mags, unless one has a license and is procuring them for military or law enforcement.
SB 5078 now heads to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee, who has already indicated he will sign it into law.
The bill stops short of prohibiting the possession of standard-capacity magazines. This means gun owners may still freely purchase them and dealers may freely sell them until the law takes effect on July 1, 2022.
All magazines purchased before that deadline will be grandfathered in.
The state plans to enforce the new law by primarily targeting dealers and distributors who will face fines and gross misdemeanor charges that may result in jail time for violations.
As of right now, the state will not target individual gun owners.
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has been championing tighter regulations on magazines since 2016. On Twitter, he celebrated his victory.
“Today is the fulfillment of years of hard work from so many. More than five years ago, I stood with the parents of shooting victims, legislators, mayors, police chiefs and representatives from faith communities to say enough is enough and proposed banning the sale of high capacity magazines in Washington state,” said Ferguson.
“Today our Legislature chose public safety over the gun lobby, and I am deeply appreciative of their service. This policy will save lives and make our communities safer from gun violence,” he continued.
AG Ferguson releases statement on the passage of legislation to ban the sale of high-capacity magazines, which he has proposed as Attorney General Request legislation every year starting in 2016. #waleg pic.twitter.com/rFo2qHGfjF— Washington State Attorney General (@AGOWA) March 5, 2022
Wade Gaughran, the owner of Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop in Bellevue, disagrees with the premise that this new law will “save lives.”
“There’s no way that an intelligent person is going to look at this law and see that it would stop or limit or change the of any kind of mass shooting,” Gaughran told local news affiliate KING 5.
Gaughran argued that the only thing it will accomplish is boosting demand for mags in the short term.
“It will probably be really great for a few months, people are going to scramble and buy magazines and buy firearms and get ahead of the game, so it would be good for a while,” said Gaughran. “But it’s probably going to crush the gun business for quite a while.”
Gun owners in Washington should look to New York and California as to where this new regulation is ultimately headed.
Lawmakers in both states passed similar mag bans with grandfather clauses only to rescind those at a later date, placing responsible gun owners in a legal dilemma: forfeit your once lawfully owned property or become an outlaw and risk losing your 2A rights.
Washingtonians need to TAKE ACTION now to urge Gov. Inslee to veto SB 5078. It may be a long shot due to Inslee’s allegiance to the gun prohibition lobby, but it’s the only immediate recourse they have barring a lawsuit and injunction from the courts.
Stay tuned for updates.