A monumental step toward gun safety cleared another hurdle Saturday as the Senate passed House Bill 1240, a measure to ban the sale, manufacture and distribution of assault weapons in Washington state. 

The bill passed 27-21.

“We are the only country in the world that grapples with the horror of mass shootings, and today we took a critical step forward — and took the weapon of choice away from those who would do innocent people harm,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) sponsor of the Senate companion bill, SB 5265. 

“People are sick and tired over the seemingly endless instances of gun violence and are downright incensed at their leaders’ inaction. Enough is enough.” 

If the bill receives final passage, Washington will join nine other states and Washington, D.C., in banning assault weapons. 

The bill itself is simple. It bans the sale, manufacture, and import of assault weapons in our state. It does not ban possession of an assault weapon and it allows for ownership by law enforcement and military service members and an exception in cases of inheritance. 

A floor amendment allows for gun manufacturers to sell inventory already in stock prior to Jan. 1, 2023, and only to out-of-state clientele, for 90 days after the bill goes into effect.  

Because the bill was amended in the Senate, it must return to the House for further consideration. The 2023 legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on Sunday, April 23.