Washington state legislature passes magazine restrictions

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File

Washington state used to have a lot of pretty decent gun laws. They weren’t perfect, but better than a lot of the country. Then things went off the rails and the state has embraced more and more gun control, regardless of any evidence that they simply aren’t solving any of the solutions they were supposed to.

I can’t help but remember the definition for insanity, namely doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Yet here we are, and they’ve gone and done it yet again.

After more than three hours of debate, Washington House Representatives passed a ban on “high-capacity” magazines in the state late Friday night. House members voted to pass the measure 55-42.

Friday was the cutoff deadline for policy bills to be passed from the opposite house before they can no longer be considered this session.

The bill will now head for Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk. Senate Bill 5078 prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution, selling, and offering for sale of “ammunition feeding devices” with the capacity to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The bill will go into effect July 1, if signed by Inslee.

Violations of the new law would result in a gross misdemeanor, which carries a maximum punishment of 364 days in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Licensed firearm dealers are exempt from the prohibition if selling to law enforcement agencies or to branches of the military in the state.

There was some fairly fierce opposition and a number of amendments offered up, including one from a Democratic lawmaker to modify the pistol capacity to 15 rounds, which would have exempted a lot of magazines for handguns from the ban.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

Instead, we’ve got a bill that bans standard magazines for most semi-automatic firearms throughout the state.

So, what will be the impact of this? Not nearly as much as some people likely think.

Magazine capacity isn’t really a limiting factor for criminals, only the good guys. As the aggressors in every engagement, they can set the tone of the fight and reloading isn’t really an issue for them. For all the horrors of Parkland, people forget that the killer used 10-round magazines. That wasn’t exactly a low-intensity school shooting by any stretch of the imagination.

Not that there really is such a thing, but you get my point.

Magazine restrictions don’t really have the impact gun control enthusiasts seem to think, and there’s no reason to believe Washington state will be any safer for it. Criminals who want “high-capacity” magazines will simply drive over to Idaho for them and authorities in the state won’t be able to do jack about them.

Plus, since magazines aren’t serialized, it’ll be impossible to determine when those magazines were bought or sold originally.

This has long been a line anti-gunners have been ready to draw, but as we’ll see, it won’t have the impact anyone thinks.

Then there are the likely legal challenges that will come up. I can’t help but feel that with the current Supreme Court, even with Biden’s nominee on the bench, simply won’t sit there and just allow these restrictions to stand. Not in light of what we know the Founders wanted when they ratified the Second Amendment.

I look forward, in time, to seeing this law overturned–either directly or via a different law–and it really should be.

If Washington state wants to make their state safer, this isn’t how it’s done.