‘Weapons Of War’: Washington State Calls For Major Gun Control Measures

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced Monday three new gun violence prevention measures for the 2023 legislature, including efforts to ban high-caliber weapons, hold manufacturers and retailers liable for gun sales and introduce a purchase permit requirement for all gun buyers.

As a result of an increase in gun violence, Inslee says the new legislation, along with mental health assistance, will curb gun violence.

“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 Democratic governor said.

According to Inslee, more than 800 Washington residents were killed by gun violence last year and 23 just last month. Seattle recorded 53 homicides in 2020, a 25-year high, and a slightly lower 42 homicides in 2021. The Seattle Times reported that 256 people survived gunshot wounds in King County in September, and 70 died.

According to a news conference, the first measure would ban the sale, manufacture, import, and transfer of assault weapons in Washington, but not those who already have them. Inslee called assault weapons “weapons of war,” adding, “there are no legitimate reasons for them in our society.”

In the second measure, weapons manufacturers would be held liable if they fail to adequately control firearms manufacturing, sales, distribution, and marketing. The legislation would also allow victims to sue manufacturers who allegedly fail to keep firearms away from “dangerous individuals.”

“There is nothing normal about the violence that we are accepting in our society, in our communities, and in our schools. We have a responsibility to act, and we are going to continue to act this session. I am proud to be working with the governor’s office and the attorney general’s office on the liability bill that will say gun manufacturers and retailers have to accept responsibility for these dangerous products that they sell,” Sen. Jamie Pedersen (D-WA) said during the news conference.