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Washington Lawmakers Propose Assault Rifle Restrictions

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Washington state lawmakers are fast-tracking legislation aimed at increasing school safety and preventing mass shootings.

They’re reintroducing a proposal that would require buyers of military-style weapons to be 21 instead of 18. It would also enhance background checks for purchases and create a way for students to report potential threats to their school.

Adam Cornell was the prosecutor for the 2016 mass shooting in Mukilteo that killed three people. He told senators at a public hearing Tuesday that if this measure had been in place at the time, the shooter would not have had access to such a powerful weapon.

“It took 35 seconds for three beautiful children to be cut down and to have been killed in the hands of a jealous 19-year-old with easy access to an assault rifle,” Cornell said.

But opponents say the measure unfairly limits gun rights.

“The idea that we need to strip civil rights from people who fall under a certain age bracket, who could volunteer for the draft, who could join the armed forces and be issued a fully automatic rifle, I find somewhat unreasonable,” said Brett Bass, a firearms instructor at the Bellevue Gun Club.

There is a tight deadline for this legislation. Lawmakers have until next Thursday to pass bills before the end of the legislative session.