TACOMA, Wash. — New laws tightening gun restrictions in Washington state went into effect Friday. The new laws not only impact gun owners but gun shops as well.
As of July 1, the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds is banned in the state. Importing, manufacturing and distributing high-capacity magazines are also outlawed. While Senate Bill 5078 prohibits the sale and distribution of high-capacity magazines, it does not ban the possession of such magazines.
A new law also went into effect July 1 banning untraceable firearms, commonly known as “ghost guns,” in the state. Ghost guns are homemade firearms built by buying individual components or as a kit and can be purchased online without a background check. Ghost guns don’t have serial numbers, making them untraceable during law enforcement investigations.
Mary’s Pistols in Tacoma was busier than ever as customers looked to stock up on high-capacity magazines before the new law went into effect.
“We’ve been crazy busy, magazines out the door,” shop employee Rebecca Huckins said.
Huckins said that the new magazine restrictions are harder on small, locally-owned gun shops than big retailers like Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s.
“They’re getting the better deals. They’re the bigger box store,” Huckins said. “So, it’s probably still hard on them per se, but what they have for inventory they can just ship to another Cabela’s. So, it’s really no sweat off their back. It’s us that’s gonna, you know, the small businesses, that are going to kind of hurt from [this law].
Huckins said Mary’s Pistols nearly sold out of all high-capacity magazines before the ban took effect.
Second Amendment rights attorney William Kirk said he believes limiting the number of rounds a person can carry only hurts lawful gun owners and their ability to protect themselves.
“The state calls this a high-capacity magazine ban and limits to 10 rounds, but probably 90% of all semi-automatic handguns that are sold have standard capacity magazines which exceed 10 rounds,” explained Kirk. “In fact, 10-15 rounds is probably your most common carry capacity of most modern-day handguns.”
“It’s kind of stopping people from being able to protect themselves,” Huckins said.
Kirk, who works with Washington Gun Law, expects the ban to eventually be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. He pointed to a similar law in California challenged in the 9th Circuit Court and said it could have implications in Washington state.
However, Kirk said he agrees with the state’s new law banning ghost guns because 80% of all gun crimes are committed with illegal weapons.