‘Blatantly Unconstitutional’: Gun Rights Groups Sue Washington Over Assault Weapons Ban
AUBURN, WA - APRIL 22: Washington state Governor Jay Inslee speaks prior to U.S. President Joe Biden at Green River College on April 22, 2022 in Auburn, Washington. Biden spoke about the high cost of prescription drugs and child care as hardships on American families. He is on a multi-day trip to the Pacific Northwest, with stops in Portland and Seattle. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
Karen Ducey/Getty Images

Washington state is facing at least two lawsuits from gun rights groups after Democratic Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a ban on so-called assault weapons on Tuesday.

Inslee signed into law three gun control bills. One of those pieces of legislation, House Bill 1240, took effect immediately and banned the manufacturing and sale of dozens of types of semiautomatic rifles.

“This new law is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court long-ago ruled that states cannot ban firearms that are in common use,” Aoibheann Cline, director of the NRA’s lobbying operations in Washington state, told Fox News.

Cline called H.B. 1240 the “worst of such schemes in the country” that bans “nearly every modern semiautomatic rifle.”

“AR-15-style firearms are the most popular rifles in America. In fact, AR-15s outsell America’s most popular truck, the Ford F-150, and there are more privately owned AR-15-style firearms than subscribers to all daily newspapers nationwide, combined,” Cline said.

“It’s outrageous that states continue to pass these unconstitutional bans. But rest assured, the NRA will continue to fight each one,” Cline said. “[The] people of Washington deserve better.”

Inslee signed two other pieces of gun control legislation on Tuesday alongside the extensive ban targeting semiautomatic rifles: H.B. 1143 and Senate Bill 5078. H.B. 1143 mandates that all new gun owners take a safety and training course that teaches how to properly store firearms and about Washington’s self-defense laws. Senate Bill 5078 gives Washington’s attorney general the authority to punish gun manufacturers for criminal misuse of their product.

Inslee said the bill signing marked a “monumental day” of victories against “weapons of war” and gun manufacturers.


“It is a victory over weapons of war, to not expose children for weapons of war in our streets and in our classrooms. It is a victory against impetuous gun violence for people who could buy a gun and then create violence without a second thought. It is a victory over irresponsible gun manufacturers that have been responsible for gun violence,” Inslee said.

Inslee’s laws are facing another legal challenge from the Second Amendment Foundation, which also filed a lawsuit against the state on Tuesday.

“The state has enacted a flat prohibition on the manufacture, sale, import and distribution of many types of firearms, inaccurately labeled as ‘assault weapons,’ which are owned by millions of ordinary citizens across the country,” Second Amendment Foundation founder and executive vice president Alan Gottlieb said in a statement. “In the process, the state has criminalized a common and important means of self-defense, the modern semiautomatic rifle. The state has put politics ahead of constitutional rights, and is penalizing law-abiding citizens while this legislation does nothing to arrest and prosecute criminals who misuse firearms in defiance of all existing gun control laws. It is absurd.”

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