January 27, 2021
The Washington State Senate recently introduced bills seeking to ban “assault weapons” and “large capacity” magazines.
SB5217 would ban “assault weapons,” which it defines as: (1) dozens of specifically named models; (2) any semi-automatic rifle with an overall length of less than 30”; and (3) “copycat weapons.” Copycat weapons are defined as any semi-automatic, centerfire firearm that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and one or more of eight categories of specified features, including a “pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action” (except for pistols), a thumbhole, folding or telescoping stock, a flash suppressor, a muzzle brake, or a threaded barrel. The bill provides that “no person in [Washington] may manufacture, possess, distribute, import, transfer, sell, offer for sale, purchase, or otherwise transfer any assault weapon,” with certain exceptions for government agencies, law enforcement officers, and federal firearms licensees. Persons who legally owned an “assault weapon” prior to January 1, 2022, could continue to legally possess it by registering it with the Washington State Patrol. However, they would only be allowed to possess their registered “assault weapons” at “property owned or immediately controlled by the person,” at a “duly licensed firing range,” and during a “lawful outdoor recreational activity, such as hunting.” They could also transport the “assault weapon,” unloaded in a locked container, between such locations. Violation of the “assault weapons” ban would be a Class C felony.
SB5078 would ban “large capacity” magazines, which it defines as “any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 17 rounds of ammunition,” except for .22 caliber tubular magazines, and tubular magazines in lever-action firearms. Possession of a combination of parts from which a “large capacity” magazine could be assembled would also be illegal. The bill would make the manufacture, possession, sale, distribution, importation, transfer, or purchase of “large capacity” magazines illegal, with certain exceptions for government agencies, law enforcement officers, and federal firearms licensees. SB5078 provides an exception for those who legally owned “large capacity magazines” before its enactment. Legal ownership is presumed if the person “provides a photo of the person with the large capacity magazine and the photo can be shown to have been taken prior to the effective date.” Persons able to establish that they legally owned a “large capacity” magazine before the effective date of SB5078 would only be allowed to possess it at “property owned or immediately controlled by the person,” at a “duly licensed shooting range,” and during “lawful outdoor recreational activity, such as hunting.” They could also transport the “large capacity” magazine, unloaded in a locked container, between such locations. Violation of the “large capacity” magazine ban would be a gross misdemeanor.
Renzulli Law Firm, LLP will continue to monitor firearm related legislation throughout the country. If you have any questions concerning firearms related legislation, please contact John F. Renzulli or Christopher Renzulli.