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Senate passes bill banning sale of high-capacity firearm magazines; now goes to House

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A state Senate bill banning the sale of high-capacity firearm magazines will now be taken up by the House.

SB 5078, which addresses firearm safety measures to increase public safety, passed Wednesday by a vote of 28-20.

This marks the first time a limit on firearm magazine capacity has passed a chamber of the Washington Legislature, providing a victory for gun control advocates. However, the bill is also getting pushback.

Senator Marko Liias (D-Everett) sponsored the bill at the state’s attorney general’s request.

“The data are clear. States that have limited the sale of high capacity magazines to 10 rounds have achieved significant improvements in public safety,” Liias said.

Before the vote, Liias referenced a mass shooting in Mukilteo back in 2016, in which three people were killed.

“The only reason other young people were able to get to safety that night was because the mass shooter needed to reload his weapon,” Liias said.

The bill would ban the sale of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Tiffany Teasdale, the owner of Lynnwood Gun and Ammunition, argues the ban would prevent people from protecting themselves.

“If the person, who is the victim, has to change magazines to protect themselves and their family, it’s going to be easier ability to disarm that person, which is very dangerous,” Teasdale said.

It’s a point of view shared by Republican Senator Phil Fortunato from Auburn. He proposed many amendments to the bill, none of which were adopted.

“Cause a criminal is not going to look at the law and a criminal is not going to say, oh you know what, I better not commit murder, better not rob this store with a magazine more than 10 rounds,” Fortunato said.

The bill would not apply to law enforcement and the military and would not punish people who already own high-capacity firearm magazines.

While the bill has passed a historic hurdle, it is far from a done deal.

“We’re hoping because this industry is pretty tough and you have to be an idiot to try to pass a law that prevents people from protecting themselves. We’re hoping that the House will pull through,” Teasdale said.

In a statement, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said, “The Legislature put public safety above the interest of the gun lobby. This historic vote represents an important step toward combatting mass shootings.”

This is the sixth session Ferguson has proposed the legislation.