What to Know About the Washington State Magazine Ban

There’s been a lot of debate in this country about weapon safety and gun availability. According to CBS News, about 42.1% of Washington state residents own a firearm of some kind. Despite the high percentage, it has become one of the many states making it more difficult to arm yourself.

Just this year, a new magazine ban has been put into action affecting gun owners in the state of Washington. As of July 1, gun sellers can no longer legally sell ammunition magazines that can hold over 10 rounds. That also includes making and distributing the product.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Washington magazine ban in 2022 and the current gun laws in the state. 

What Is the Washington State Magazine Ban?

Back on March 23, Governor Jay Inslee signed a package of three gun control bills into law. One of them focused on the sale of standard-capacity magazines. It officially went into full effect on July 1. 

The magazine ban specifically prohibits the sale of any ammunition magazines that can hold over 10 rounds. However, it did not ban the ownership of these magazines, and gun shops could still sell them until the law went into effect.

Banning high-capacity magazines only affect the general public, though. Firearm manufacturers and dealers can still sell larger magazines to law enforcement and the military. Anyone else can only purchase a standard-capacity magazine. 

The purpose behind the ban is to curb gun violence in the state. However, whether or not it will live up to that hope is yet to be seen. 

How Did It Begin?

The new Washington state legislature was sponsored by Senator Marko Liias and passed with a vote of 55-42 in the House of Representatives. The state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, requested his sponsorship in response to a shooting in 2016. This particular event resulted in three people at a party dying as a result of a shooting involving a 30-round magazine. 

Washington now counts as the tenth state to restrict high-capacity magazines. In addition, one of the three new laws also restricts the assembly of “ghost guns”. These guns are firearms that haven’t been serialized, which means they’re impossible to trace. 

What the Magazine Ban Covers

Strictly speaking, the majority of people affected by this new ban are gun manufacturers and retailers. Both will have to find a way to get rid of their stock of higher-capacity magazines and suffer some losses. 

Anyone that violates the new law will be charged with a gross misdemeanor. They may get sentenced to a potential 364 days in county jail and a fine of up to $5,000. 

Effects on Gun Owners

For gun owners, magazines are what you use to load most modern firearms. It holds individual rounds in a tube and moves them into the gun as you fire it. 

Most people will choose to load a larger magazine simply due to convenience. Bigger gun magazines mean you can fire off more rounds before needing to reload. That fact alone is the reason why this law went into effect. 

In effect, gun owners can no longer buy larger ammunition magazines in the state of Washington. The law also prohibits you from buying them outside of the state and bringing them back home. If you need to buy new gun magazines, then you are limited to those that hold 10 rounds. 

The only exceptions to this rule are members of a law enforcement agency and branches of the armed forces. If you’re not part of either, then your only option is to relocate completely. 

Effects on Gun Shops

Gun retailers and manufacturers were the most affected by the new law set in place. Currently, they can no longer stock and sell high-capacity ammunition magazines. They’re also prohibited from selling these mags to people outside of their state, even if it’s legal there. 

That goes the same for private sellers. While you can still legally own ones already purchased, you can’t inherit or transfer them to someone else. 

Since the law didn’t go into effect until July 1, gun sellers had roughly four months to prepare for the change. As such, there were huge sales up until that date. 

WA gun shops reported increased sales ahead of the state ban. People flocked to their local stores to buy not only high-capacity magazines but also guns to go with them. At least in the short term, the Washington ban on high-capacity magazines has mostly managed to encourage their sales. 

Washington State Gun Laws

The magazine ban isn’t the first major law put into place to control gun distribution. In fact, Washington state has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country due to its voters.

To begin with, it’s one of the only U.S. states that ban young adults from buying semi-automatic rifles. This includes AR-15s and any other semiautomatic rifles. You have to be at least 21 years old to buy one. 

In addition, one of the three new laws passed this year includes restrictions on carrying firearms in certain meeting areas. It specifically prohibits the open carrying of any firearms or weapons. These areas include places where local government governing bodies meet as well as the board of directors of school districts. 

Navigating the Magazine Ban

If you’re someone already living in Washington state, there’s a good chance that you’ve already stocked up well before the magazine ban went into effect. However, those planning a move in the near future will likely be surprised by the restriction. 

Please be mindful of this article’s publishing date and always check your local laws for the most updated information in your state.

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