High-capacity magazine ban bill 'dead'
Time runs out on bill to limit how many rounds a magazine holds
Last updated 2/20/2020 at 1:32pm
OLYMPIA — A bill that would have limited the number of rounds of ammunition a firearm magazine can hold is “dead” for this legislative session.
Substitute House Bill 2240 was on the docket for a second reading in the House, but was did not receive a second vote prior to 5 p.m. today, Feb. 19.
“The attempt to ban magazines in Washington state is dead,” Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, said from Olympia in a live broadcast on his personal social media feed shortly after 5 p.m. “We just got word we are done today and the magazine ban is dead.”
The failure to pass on second reading by the deadline means the Senate will not consider it in the remaining weeks of this Legislative session even though it has a companion bill, Substitute Senate Bill 6077, on the Senate side.
Under both bills, firearms magazines and clips would have been limited to no more than 10 rounds.
Proponents argued the measure would reduce injuries in mass shootings, while opponents argued it was unconstitutional and denied gun owners the opportunity to defend themselves if more than 10 rounds were needed.
The bill was introduced by Western Washington Democrats following a request by Gov. Jay Inslee.
Shea, a staunch Second Amendment supporter, said the bill failed to make the deadline in part because there were 120 amendments proposed to the bill.
“They had to really think long and hard did they want to have that debate,” he said, noting the debate would've taking so much time that Democrats in control of the House and Senate wouldn't have been able to take up other issues by the deadline.
Rep. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls, said that another reason for the decision to let time elapse on this bill were packed galleries.
“We had patriots and concerned citizens in the balcony,” he said. “That doesn't go unnoticed.”
But, he cautioned, other anti-gun legislation has found some footing.
Sutherland specifically referred to Engrossed House Bill 2623, which adds a new restriction on possession of a firearm for anyone convicted of second-degree animal cruelty.
“Apparently if you kick a cat, you're going to lose your Second Amendment rights,” Sutherland said, noting that while he does not condone animal cruelty, it's not a reason to strip someone of their right to keep and bear arms.
After passing the House, 56-41, on Feb. 18, that bill has moved to the Senate.
“We'll see if it passes the senate,” he said. “They have a little more common sense over there.”