Poll: 56% of Washingtonians support assault rifle ban

73 percent of King County voters support banning assault weapons; According to the poll, 50% of respondents in eastern and central Washington are in favour.

KENT, Wash. — The Northwest Progressive Institute (NPI) released a new poll Friday showing a majority of Washingtonians support a ban on military-style assault weapons as a way to curb gun violence in the state.

The NPI poll, conducted a week after the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 21 people, found that 56% of 1,039 likely midterm voters in Washington state support an assault weapons ban. A ban on assault rifles was opposed by 38% of those surveyed.

Andrew Villeneuve, founder of the Redmond-based advocacy group, said the poll results showed support across the state, regardless of geography.

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The poll found that 73% of voters in King County support an assault weapons ban, while 50% of voters in east and central Washington support new legislation. That mark is higher than the 43% of respondents from eastern and central Washington who oppose any action to limit the purchase of assault weapons.

Across party lines, nearly 90% of Democrats support a ban on offensive military weapons, compared to 21% of Republicans in the NPI poll.

Villeneuve believed the poll’s nationwide support indicates a “rock solid foundation” for introducing an assault weapons ban in Washington’s next legislative session, which begins annually on the second Monday of January.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said this is the seventh straight year he has urged state politicians to ban the sale of assault weapons in the state.

In 2021, Washington lawmakers banned the purchase of high-capacity magazines that the Uvalde, Texas, shooter used to shoot dead 19 children and two teachers in a classroom.

Ferguson pointed to the seven states in the country that already have assault weapons bans: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

A federal judge upheld each state’s bans as constitutional, Ferguson said.

“I support the Second Amendment,” Ferguson said. “You can support the Second Amendment and still support common sense gun reform that is constitutional and lawful. Other states have done it and these bans have been maintained. Now is the time for the Washington Legislature to take that next step.”

According to the NPI, the House of Representatives and the state Senate have not voted to ban assault weapons in over a decade.

“I understand the fact that we’re going to get exactly 0% from the Republican legislature,” Ferguson said. “They are AWOL on the issue of sane gun reform in this state. And with that they have to go to sleep at night.”

State Senator Manka Dhingra, District D-45, said she was concerned for her school-age daughter because of the increase in mass shootings every day.

“After all these years, I’ve fallen over so many times [my daughter] At school, I would look at her clothes to memorize them, to make sure I knew what she was wearing – so I might be able to identify her,” Dhingra said. “No parent should have to have that thought.”

Several laws are in place to try to prevent gun violence in Washington. The state mandates widespread background checks on gun sales, a ban on high-capacity magazines, and bans anyone under the age of 21 from buying semi-automatic guns.

Washington voters in 2016 passed an initiative on “Extreme Risk Protection Orders,” known as ERPOs, which allow family members and law enforcement agencies to seek a court order preventing someone from accessing guns if they fear the person is at risk to hurt yourself or others. It must be proven that the person poses a significant risk.

Dhingra said eliminating “weapons of war” must be Washington state’s next step in curbing gun violence.

She said she is optimistic her peers can pass a bill in the Senate, but it will need collective approval in the State House for it to become a reality.

A Republican state official was absent from Friday’s press conference detailing the results of the NPI poll. Several Democratic lawmakers claimed there was no Republican support for banning military-style guns.

“Gun violence is preventable,” Dhingra said. “We know how to do it and we just have to do it now.”

Emily Cantrell of Seattle, board member of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, said she survived the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

On October 1, 2017, Cantrell said she was in a Las Vegas crowd when a lone gunman used an arsenal of automatic weapons to spray over 1,000 bullets into a concert crowd.

In 10 minutes, the shooter injured over 500 people and killed 60 victims.

“The chaos that night was beyond anything imaginable,” Cantrell said. “We were on the run. We’d run whenever the bullets stopped raining down on us, and when they came up again, we’d dive. And for some reason I’ll never understand, I got through that horrible night when so many others just died standing next to me.”

Describing the moments during the shooting, Cantrell said the gun violence didn’t stop after the killing spree. In the United States, an average of 123 people are killed by gun violence, she said.

“We live in a country where gun violence is non-discriminatory and no one is safe from it,” Cantrell said. “Shootings happen in schools, grocery stores, malls, movie theaters, cafes, concert halls and the streets we walk on.”

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/washington-assault-rifle-ban-poll/281-abdb27f4-c2fd-41e8-a0c7-eb0d8a599536 Poll: 56% of Washingtonians support assault rifle ban

Alley Einstein

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