Washington State gun ban is about politics, not public safety

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

A state House commmittee in Olympia, Washington is set to take up a sweeping bill that would ban the sale and manufacture of so-called assault weapons this week, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who’s been pushing for the ban for close to a decade, seems pretty confident that the Democratic majority in the statehouse is large enough that this will finally be the year its enacted into law.


Ferguson and other supporters claim the ban will make the state safer, arguing that “military-style weapons” have no place in a civilized society. And yet, Ferguson and other lawmakers also taking great pains to inform the public that the proposed ban wouldn’t impact those who already own them; an empty promise given that grandfather clauses can always be removed later.

But Ferguson appears to be willing to play “Let’s Make a Deal” with the gun ban legislation; so much so, in fact, that it sounds like he’s open to a major carve-out even if it undermines his public safety argument.

However, there’s a bigger issue according to Aero Precision’s VP Janie Vigil, a firearm manufacturer in Lakewood.

“This bill prohibits manufacturing and will result in a direct layoffs—in fact, closure—of our facility,” Vigil told the committee.

The impact, she says, would be on their 624 employees, of which 380 are minorities.

“I’m asking for you to stand up for our employees and their families and vote no for this bill,” Vigil said.

Ferguson says he’s spoken with people on both sides of the issue, and is well aware of the possible impact to our workforce.

While he anticipates the bill to move out of committee Thursday, he says he’s confident an amendment will be made to ensure companies who like Aero Precision sell their products out of the state can continue to do so.


Hang on a second. HB 1240 explicitly bans both the sale and manufacture of firearms the state designates as “assault weapons,” because anti-gunners like Ferguson don’t believe that “battlefield weapons of war belong on our streets.” It’s a matter of public safety, at least according to backers of the gun ban. So why would Ferguson be so willing to see the gun ban bill amended so that companies like Aero Precision can continue to make these scary black rifles as long as they don’t sell them in Washington State?

If Ferguson really believes his own pitch for HB 1240, then by allowing companies like Aero Precision to continue making “assault weapons” for sale in other states, wouldn’t that mean that he and other supporters of the bill would be directly contributing to the violence and chaos that he attributes to these inanimate objects ?

Ferguson’s response to Vigil tells me that this bill is really about politics, not public safety. As long as anti-gunners can put something they can call a gun ban in place, the particulars aren’t all that important. After all, once the ban is in effect they can always go back and change it later; removing the grandfather clause for existing owners and telling companies like Aero Precision that, on second thought, they can’t make their products in the state anymore.


If I were Vigil I’d already be scouting out locations for Aero Precision to relocate, because there’s no way I’d trust those in power in Washington State to keep their word even if they grant an exemption for the company this go-around. The gun prohibitionists have made their true intentions known, and they’re not going to stop until they’re voted out of office or the Supreme Court smacks them down.


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