Proposed ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Covers Semi-Auto Rifles, Handguns

Proposed legislation in Washington State would ban so-called "assault weapons," which are actually just semi-auto sport-utility rifles. (Dave Workman)
Proposed legislation in Washington State would ban so-called “assault weapons,” which are actually just semi-auto sport-utility rifles. (Dave Workman)

Legislation that would ban so-called “assault weapons” in Washington State defines such firearms to include semiautomatic rifles and a semi-auto pistol that has “a threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor, forward handgrip, or silencer.”

It comes as a small group of demonstrators gathered in front of the State Capitol in Olympia to support the ban. They were led by Ralph Fascitelli, president of Washington Ceasefire.

By no small coincidence, the demonstration came as Mukilteo gunman Allen Ivanov pleaded guilty to gunning down four teens at a party last summer, killing three of them including his ex-girlfriend. Ivanov used a semi-auto rifle that he purchased after passing a background check.

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Conservative Firing Line obtained a draft of the legislation Monday. The 11-page draft also applies to a “semiautomatic, centerfire, or rimfire rifle with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition.” That definition could apply to several popular rimfire rifles that have been in circulation for years, if not decades.

Also included in the definition are semiautomatic shotguns that have: “a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath  the action of the weapon, thumbhole stock, or vertical handgrip; a folding or telescoping stock; or an ability to accept a detachable magazine.”

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, a Bellevue-based gun rights organization, was quick to label this bill as a gun control effort that likely will not get much traction in Olympia during the upcoming legislative session.

“This is the gun prohibition lobby’s wish list,” Gottlieb said during a brief interview, “and we’re confident that the million-plus gun owners in Washington State will make sure this does not pass.

“What we need to ban are assault politicians, not commonly-owned firearms,” he quipped.

The draft legislation could incur the wrath of gun owners may wish to purchase a semi-auto pistol for use with a silencer. Since sound suppressors became legal to use in the Evergreen State a few years ago, their popularity has climbed. These devices have become especially handy for recreational shooters using indoor gun ranges, or whose gun ranges may have seen increasing encroachment by nearby residential development.

Gun rights activists have seen how such bans have expanded incrementally over the years in other states, including California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York.


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