Gun Safety Bill Passes Washington State House
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington House Democrats have passed a bill that would require a 10-day waiting period when purchasing firearms.
Firearms dealers would not be able to sell or transfer guns without the completion of a background check and not before 10 days have elapsed since the check was initiated, The Olympian reported.
People buying firearms also would have to show proof of a completed firearms safety training program within the previous five years.
The measure is sponsored by Rep. Liz Berry, of Seattle, at the request of Gov. Jay Inslee’s office. It passed Tuesday with a 52-44 vote and will move to the Senate for consideration.
“This bill will save lives,” Berry said. “It’s simple: 10-day waiting periods reduce gun violence. Research shows that delaying a person in crisis from obtaining a firearm can be the difference between life and death. And over half of suicides in the U.S. are done by firearms. That’s why this cooling-off period is so important.”
Several Republicans spoke against the legislation before the vote.
“This bill will impair your right to keep and bear a firearm,” said Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen. “That’s an irreconcilable problem.”
Walsh argued that Washington state’s Constitution is clearer than the federal constitution when it comes to gun ownership rights and said he believes the bill infringes on those rights. He said he thinks the legislation could potentially face legal hiccups.
An earlier version of the measure would have required a permit to purchase firearms. But Berry introduced a striking amendment Tuesday to remove that provision.
Currently, a 10-day waiting period is mandatory in Washington when purchasing a semiautomatic assault rifle.
In 2018, Washington voters passed Initiative 1639 to implement the semiautomatic rifle waiting period. It required purchasers of semiautomatic weapons to complete enhanced background checks and enacted the waiting period. The law also made it illegal for people under 21 to purchase semiautomatic assault rifles.
If passed by the Legislature and signed by Inslee, Berry’s legislation would go into effect on July 1, 2024.