February 11, 2022
By Mark Chesnut
A measure to ban the manufacture, distribution and sale of firearms magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition has received approval from the Washington State Senate.
“The years 2020 and 2021 have seen a sharp increase in gun sales and gun violence, as well as fears over gun violence and incidents of armed intimidation,” the legislation states. “In this volatile atmosphere, the legislature declares that it is time to enhance public health and safety by limiting the sale of large-capacity magazines. The legislature intends to limit the prospective sale of large-capacity magazines, while allowing existing legal owners to retain the large-capacity magazines they currently own.”
The measure would address not only rifle magazines that hold more than 10 rounds—banning most standard magazines used in AR-15s, America’s most popular rifle—but also semi-auto pistol magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds. That would outlaw a majority of the magazines that come stock with semi-auto pistols from most manufacturers.
The legislation further states: “‘Large capacity magazine’ means an ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition, or any conversion kit, part, or combination of parts, from which such a device can be assembled if those parts are in possession of or under the control of the same person, but shall not be construed to include any of the following: An ammunition feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than 10 rounds of ammunition; a 22 caliber tube ammunition feeding device; or a tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.”
With the apparent intention of making sure the government is better armed than Washington’s law-abiding citizens, the measure would make an exception for the “manufacture, importation, distribution, offer for sale, or sale of a large-capacity magazine by a licensed firearms manufacturer for the purposes of sale to any branch of the armed forces of the United States or the state of Washington, or to a law enforcement agency in this state for use by that agency or its employees for law enforcement purposes.”
While the introduction to the legislation states it would allow “existing legal owners” to keep their magazines holding more than 10 rounds, a thorough study of the measure as it passed the Senate revealed the “grandfather clause” language had been removed.
Interestingly, many across Washington and even in other states who get their news from the Associated Press via their local news outlet got nothing but confusion, thanks to an ignorant headline writer and editor. The headline concerning the state senate action on the measure said, “WA Senate OKs ban on sales of high-capacity gun ammunition,” and was published online with the same headline at the following news outlets: The Olympian, KOMO, Herald and many other so-called “news” sites.
While we’re not sure what “high-capacity gun ammunition” is, we’d sure like to have some to test out next time we head to the range!
With the Washington legislative session set to adjourn on March 10, anti-gun Democrats have a tall hill to climb to try to get the measure approved in the state House of Representatives.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for more than 20 years.