Washington state Dems announces sweeping gun control plans after reducing sentences for drive-by shootings

Many called out the hypocrisy of the legislation after Democrats in the state just last year attempted to ease the sentencing for drive-by shootings citing “racial equity.”

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
Democratic Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson have announced new gun control measures for the state's upcoming 2023 legislative session to address what Inslee called a "gun violence epidemic."

During a press conference on Monday Inslee said, “We know we can act. We know we should act. And we know we will act in this session of the legislature. And the reason is, Washingtonians demand assertive, effective, and protective gun safety laws. We intend in this session of the legislature to give Washingtonians assertive, effective, and protective laws to protect them and their children against this epidemic of gun violence.”

The first measure would ban what Inslee called “assault weapons,” and the second is a bill to ensure gun manufacturers and dealers "must take reasonable steps to prevent their products from getting into the hands of dangerous individuals,” as well as implement a permit-to-purchase requirement for anyone who purchases a firearm.

Inslee claimed that the increase in gun violence during his time in office is the reason for the new legislation. “You need to get a license to drive a car in the state of Washington. You need to get a license to go fishing. It’s time you get a license to make sure you have safety training to purchase a gun in the state of Washington, and it’s high time that we pass a bill to make sure you get a permit before you get a firearm.”

Washington is on track towards a record year of homicides while many counties and cities in the state, including Seattle, have already passed last year’s record highs.

However, the numbers correlate to the defund the police movement going mainstream in the wake of the death of George Floyd. One of the presenters at the press conference with Inslee and Ferguson was a student at Ingraham High School who was in the building during a recent fatal shooting. Yet, students and teachers' unions have resisted bringing police back to campus after they were banned following the riots that rocked the city in 2020.

Additionally, progressive district attorneys and judges have been often criticized for not prosecuting criminals, especially repeat offenders who are regularly released back onto the streets.

Many called out the hypocrisy of the legislation after Democrats in the state just last year attempted to ease the sentencing for drive-by shootings citing “racial equity.”

The "assault weapon" ban measure is sponsored by Democratic state Senator Patty Kuderer and state Rep. Strom Peterson and would ban the sale, manufacture, and import of so-called “assault weapons” in the state, but according to officials at the press conference, will not affect those who already own assault weapons, law enforcement, and the military.

The second measure, sponsored by Democratic state Senator Jamie Pedersen and Democratic state Rep. David Hackney, would allow firearm manufacturers to be held liable if they fail to responsibly control the manufacture, sale, distribution, and marketing of firearms, as well as allow victims to seek justice when manufacturers fail to keep firearms away from “dangerous individuals.”

Republican state Rep. Jim Walsh slammed the announcement in a release stating, “The biggest problem with the governor and state attorney general’s proposals is that they are a waste of taxpayers’ time and money. The U.S. Supreme Court, in its recent Bruen decision, has clearly ruled that state gun-control schemes like these are unconstitutional — and unlawful. They will eventually be overturned by federal courts.”

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