Bipartisan approval sends the bill to the Governor
OLYMPIA — The Washington Legislature today passed Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s agency request bill prohibiting the manufacture or possession of untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns. The bill also prohibits sending a printable gun file to a person who is ineligible to possess firearms. The bill designates undetectable firearms as contraband.
HB 1739, sponsored by Rep. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, passed the House on March 4 by a bipartisan vote of 55-41. It passed the Senate on April 16, also with bipartisan support, 30-18, with an amendment. The House agreed to the Senate amendment today by a vote of 56-40. The measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.
“I support the Second Amendment. However, we cannot allow felons and other dangerous individuals to get around our state’s background check requirements by printing untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns,” Ferguson said. “Guns that evade metal detectors pose too great a risk to the safety of our communities.”
“3D printers are becoming more advanced and more available to everyday consumers,” said Rep. Valdez. “These undetectable guns pose enormous threats to public safety. This is one of those issues that requires lawmakers to be proactive before it’s too late.”
Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, sponsored a companion bill in the Senate.
“The untraceable and undetectable nature of 3D-printed guns poses a unique danger to all Washingtonians,” said Sen. Dhingra. “I am proud that we are enacting laws that are keeping up with the realities of technology by limiting the creation and distribution of 3D-printed guns. This law will help our state reduce gun trafficking and save lives.”
Several organizations offered key support for the measure, including the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. Other supporters included: Gov. Inslee; Everytown for Gun Safety; Grandmothers Against Gun Violence; Faith Action Network; Foundation for Healthy Generations; the Washington State Medical Association and the Washington Association for Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention.
In 2018, Ferguson sued the Trump Administration over its decision to allow the unlimited distribution of downloadable files for 3D-printed guns. A U.S. District Court judge blocked the Trump Administration’s decision, writing that “the untraceable and undetectable nature of these small firearms … poses a unique danger.” The litigation is ongoing.
In February, a Texas man who was barred by a judge from possessing a firearm was sentenced to eight years in prison for allegedly obtaining parts of an AR-15-style rifle, and then using a 3D printer to manufacture the firing mechanism. According to federal prosecutors, he also had a “hit list” of Democratic and Republican lawmakers titled “9/11/2001 list of American Terrorists” when he was arrested.
The Legislature has passed six of Ferguson’s agency request bills this session, and one has been signed into law by the Governor.
More information about Ferguson’s 2019 agency request legislation is available on the AGO’s legislative information page.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Brionna Aho, Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; Brionna.firstname.lastname@example.org