Almost as predicted by opponents of anti-gun Initiative 1639, the measure that among other things invented a definition for a “semiautomatic assault rifle,” anti-gun Democrats in the Washington Legislature have introduced legislation to ban so-called “assault weapons.”
I-1639 defined “semi-auto assault rifles” as literally any self-loading rifle, regardless of caliber (including rimfires) that has ever been manufactured anywhere in the world. Under the more specific definitions found in Senate Bill 5217 and its companion measure, House Bill 1229—both introduced at the request of anti-gun Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson—rimfires do not appear to be included. But semi-auto centerfire rifles are, and it’s quite a list. The legislation would also prohibit folding stocks and other accessories.
Both bills are now in committee. The House version is in the House Committee on Civil Rights and the Judiciary. The Senate version is in the Law & Justice Committee.
Two years ago, following passage of I-1639, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told reporters the only reason to create the definition in state statute was to one day allow a move to ban such firearms.
I-1639 includes this definition:
“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.
The Gun Rights Coalition is opposed to both measures and says so on its Facebook page.
There are also two bills aimed at banning so-called “high capacity” magazines that hold more than ten cartridges. These are considered “original capacity” magazines by gun owners and manufacturers, and they are used in competition, by predator and varmint hunters, by homeowners for protection, by ranchers to control predators, law enforcement and for recreational shooting.
According to FBI Uniform Crime Reports for any given year, such rifles are used in a fraction of all homicides, not just in Washington but across the U.S. Rarely are such rifles used in more than 2-4 percent of the annual murders.
The magazine restriction would also apply to pistols that come with magazines holding more than ten rounds. There are millions of such magazines in circulation, for rifles and pistols, so it is not certain how backers of either measure—HB1164 and SB5078—expect to enforce such a ban should it become law.
Here’s the roster of firearms that would be affected by the ban:
(1) “Assault weapon” means:
(a) Any of the following specific firearms or a copycat weapon, regardless of which company produced and manufactured the firearm:
(i) AK-47 in all forms;
(ii) AK-74 in all forms;
(iii) Algimec AGM-1 type semi-auto;
(iv) American Arms Spectre da Semiautomatic carbine;
(v) AR15, M16, or M4 in all forms;
(vi) AR 180 type semi-auto;
(vii) Argentine L.S.R. semi-auto;
(viii) Australian Automatic;
(ix) Auto-Ordnance Thompson M1 and 1927 Semi-Automatics;
(x) Barrett .50 cal light semi-auto;
(xi) Barrett .50 cal M87;21 Z-0202.
(xii) Barrett .50 cal M107A1;1
(xiii) Barrett REC7;
(xiv) Beretta AR70/S70 type semi-auto
(xv) Bushmaster Carbon 15
(xvi) Bushmaster ACR;
(xvii) Bushmaster XM-15;
(xviii) Bushmaster MOE;
(xix) Calico models M100 and M900
(xx) CETME Sporter;
(xxi) CIS SR 88 type semi-auto;
(xxii) Colt CAR 15;
(xxiii) Daewoo K-1;
(xxiv) Daewoo K-2;
(xxv) Dragunov Semi-Auto;
(xxvi) Fabrique Nationale FAL in all forms;
(xxvii) Fabrique Nationale F2000;
(xxviii) Fabrique Nationale L1A1 Sporter;
(xxix) Fabrique Nationale M249S;
(xxx) Fabrique Nationale PS90;
(xxxi) Fabrique Nationale SCAR;
(xxxii) FAMAS .223 Semi-Auto;
(xxxiv) Heckler & Koch G3 in all forms;
(xxxv) Heckler & Koch HK-41/91;
(xxxvi) Heckler & Koch HK-43/93;
(xxxvii) Heckler & Koch HK94A2/3;
(xxxviii) Heckler & Koch MP-5 in all forms;
(xxxix) Heckler & Koch PSG-1;
(xl) Heckler & Koch SL8;
(xli) Heckler & Koch UMP;
(xlii) Manchester Arms Commando MK-45;
(xliii) Manchester Arms MK-9;
(xlv) SIG AMT SG510 in all forms;
(xlvi) SIG SG550 in all forms;
(xlviii) Spectre M4;
(xlix) Springfield Armory BM-59;
(l) Springfield Armory G3;
(li) Springfield Armory SAR-8;
(lii) Springfield Armory SAR-48;
(liii) Springfield Armory SAR-3;
(liv) Springfield Armory M-21 Sniper;
(lv) Springfield Armory M1A;
(lvi) Smith & Wesson M&P 15;
(lvii) Sterling Mk 1;
(lviii) Sterling Mk 6/7;
(lix) Steyr AUG;
(lx) TNW M230;
(lxi) FAMAS F11; or
(lxii) Uzi 9mm carbine/rifle