Washington state joins others in banning sales of “assault weapons”

Washington is now the ninth state to ban sales of a wide swath of mostly semi-automatic weapons including AR-15s and other firearms that have become symbols over their use in mass shootings.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, signed House Bill 1240 into law, a measure prohibiting “manufacture, importation, distribution, selling, and offering for sale” of more than 60 specific weapons, including AR-15s, M-16s, AK-47s and others.

The law, one of three signed Tuesday, focuses on guns that state legislators describe as “assault weapons.” It also bans kits that can convert a semi-automatic firearm into an automatic one. The law takes effect immediately.

A second measure requires a 10-day waiting period and safety training for all other firearm purchases. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. The third bill increases liability for gunmakers and dealers and takes effect July 23.

Which states now ban these weapons?

Washington joins eight other states in prohibiting such weapons. A 10th state, Hawaii, bans such pistols but not rifles. Virginia and Minnesota regulate the firearms but do not ban them.

The new bill does not ban ownership of the weapons for law enforcement and those in the military. Gun manufacturers can sell existing inventory to buyers outside Washington for 90 days after the bill becomes law.

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