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WA gov signs 7 new gun bans, confiscation laws

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. (Gov Jay Inslee/Twitter)
May 08, 2019

On Tuesday, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee approved a series of bills that will tighten the state’s gun laws.

The new laws restrict access in a number of ways, including bans on ghost guns and red flag confiscations for juveniles and domestic violence suspects, AP News reported.

Inslee signed the following seven bills:

HB 1465 requires an additional background check for gun buyers who currently possess a concealed carry license.

HB 1739 prohibits possession, manufacture, purchase, sale, assembly, loan, and all other possession of untraceable firearms — all non-antique firearms manufactured after July 1, 2019 that do not have a serial number.

HB 1786 authorizes police to confiscate guns from those served with restraining and protective orders.

SB 5027 expands “red flag” confiscation to juveniles under age 18, permitting an extreme risk protection order to be filed against them and barring their firearms possession for up to one year, renewable on an annual basis.

SB 5181 implemented a six-month gun rights suspension from anyone under 72-hour psychiatric detainment permitted by Washington’s Involuntary Treatment Act, which is not decided by a judge but by a medical expert. In the past, those laws pertained only to people who had been committed by a judge.

SB 5205 bans gun ownership to those with a history of violence and found incompetent to stand trial but not committed, where the current law has only banned guns from those declared incompetent and involuntarily committed by a judge.

SB 5508 strengthens concealed carry license requirements, requiring applicants to undergo a fingerprint-based background check through the FBI in addition to checks through the state databases.

One bill that Inslee has yet to sign would require police to confiscate any weapons found on the property of a domestic violence call and put them on a five-day hold, regardless if they were used in a crime or not.

“Our state is a leader on #gunsafety but more work is needed to protect our students & the people of WA. That’s why today I am so happy to sign bills that ban untraceable ghost guns, keep guns away from our most vulnerable Washingtonians & improve gun safety overall,” Gov. Inslee tweeted.

Renee Hopkins, head of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, an advocacy group who supports the governor, said the new laws will make Washington “one of the states with the strongest laws in regard to preventing gun violence.”

“It’s taking a risk-based approach to it, and really looking at the situations that we know are highest risk,” Hopkins added.

Opponents of the new bills argue that they weaken gun rights.

Spokesman for the Gun Owners Action League of Washington, Joe Waldron, said some of the bills “lacked due process protections and collectively amount to a growing set of restrictions that will affect all gun owners.”

He said, “They’re just as happy expanding the list of people that can’t have guns. Piece by piece, they’re chopping away.”


This article has been updated to provide clarity on the restrictions of HB 1739.