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2022 Law Prohibiting Large Capacity Magazines

If enacted, Senate Bill 5078 would prohibit the manufacture, possession, distribution, importation, selling, offering for sale, purchasing, or transfer of large capacity magazines for firearms. This law would NOT apply if you possess a large capacity magazine before the effective date of the bill, or if you inherit a large capacity magazine.

What is a Large Capacity Magazine?

According to Senate Bill 5078, a large capacity magazine is defined as “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.” S.B. 5078, 67th Legislature, 2021 Regular Session (WA 2021).

Why Ban Large Capacity Magazines?

In this bill, the legislature asserts that gun violence is a threat to Washingtonians and that the perpetrators of the ten deadliest mass shootings since 2009 all used a large capacity magazine. The senators’ reason that if a shooter has a regular magazine instead of a large capacity magazine, he or she will be forced to reload. This pause in shooting may give potential victims time to run to safety or get help.

Are There Exceptions?

The exceptions listed in the current version of the bill include government agents (federal, state, and local law enforcement, etc.), government contractors, members of the armed forces, licensed firearms dealers who sell to any branch of the armed forces or law enforcement agency, and licensed firearms dealers who sell to anyone who is NOT a resident of Washington state. Those shooting at a licensed shooting range are also exempt.

What Will the Punishment Be?

If enacted, the punishment for violating this law will be a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of $1,000 and a jail sentence for 90 days.

What’s Next?

The Washington State Legislature continues to introduce bills that infringe upon Washington state residents’ right to bear arms. You can read the proposed bill here, and follow the bill’s journey through the Capitol here.