Washington’s new gun laws take full effect Monday

It just got a lot harder to buy a semi-automatic rifle in Washington.

New gun laws passed by voters in November 2018 take full effect on July 1, giving Washington state some of the strictest firearm regulations in the country.

Some provisions were already in place. Starting in January, the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle was raised from 18 to 21.

But as of July 1, the remaining provisions restrictions are in place, including:

Enhanced background check and waiting period requirements for the purchase or transfer of semiautomatic assault rifles.
Training requirements to purchase a semiautomatic assault rifle.
Criminal liability for failure to safely secure a firearm under certain conditions.
Safety warning and safe storage requirements for dealers.

Washington gun shops will also no longer be allowed to sell semi-automatic rifles to anyone who does not live in the state.

You can read the full law here.

Many of Washington’s law enforcement leaders have pushed back against this initiative– saying they will not enforce these new rules. But, even if you live in one of those counties or cities, your local authorities still have to follow the law.

According to Washington’s Attorney General, “This law, like any other, is presumed constitutional and in force unless a court rules otherwise. No court has held any part of Initiative 1639 unconstitutional.”

Departments do have some discretion when it comes to how strongly they will enforce the new rules, but some things– like performing background checks– are not discretionary. Those are now required by law, and anyone who fails to perform them could be held accountable.

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