The governor of Washington has signed a statewide assault weapon prohibition

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Except for sales to the military and law enforcement, assault-style weapons are banned by House Bill 1240 in Washington. The widely used AR-15 rifle, along with dozens of other semiautomatic firearms, are all prohibited under the measure.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee made the following statement at the state capitol: "AR-15s should not be idolized; they should be prohibited, and that's what we're doing here today." Votes in both chambers were generally along party lines; the state Senate approved the measure a few days before the state House did, 56 to 42.

According to the statute, "finding and declaring that firearm violence is a threat to the public health and safety of Washingtonians" was done by the state legislature. Legislation that "requires training for all gun purchases" and "imposes a 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases" was also signed into law by Inslee.

This move by the states comes as Americans debate how to effectively confront the epidemic of gun violence in their country. According to the Gun Violence Archive, which uses the same definition of "mass shooting" as CNN, 173 mass shootings have occurred in the United States so far this year.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence reports that with the ban, Washington becomes the eighth state to implement tight regulations on so-called assault weapons. In addition to Maryland and Virginia, Washington, DC, has its own set of gun laws.

Inslee's press secretary, Mike Faulk, told CNN last week, "We are very pleased that this long overdue legislation passed." Since voting for the federal prohibition in Congress in 1994, the governor has been a vocal proponent of this policy. It will save lives when combined with other gun regulations being considered in this session.

On Tuesday, the White House released a statement praising the ban on assault-style weapons. In a tweet last week, Republicans in Washington's Senate warned that prohibiting specific guns is not the answer to gun violence. Those who conduct violent actions with firearms and other weapons must be dealt with.

State Republicans stated on Twitter that they expect the measure to be challenged in court, which would waste state money without doing much to address the underlying causes of gun violence.

An illustration of the difficulties gun control proponents confront is the Illinois bill that was signed by Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker earlier this year but has been held up in court due to objections. The measure bans certain rifles and high-capacity magazines.

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