Democratic Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed one of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws in 2023, and now highway shootings are surging in the state.
Over 50 models of guns are banned under the legislation, including popular rifles such as AR-15s and M-16s, and the Democratic Legislature wants to crack down further with several more gun control bills in the body. The state is now seeing a surge in highway shootings, with more than a dozen reported on state highways since the beginning of the year, according to KOMO News.
There have been over 190 reported “shooting incidents” in the state year to date as of Friday, Washington State Police (WSP) told the DCNF. Of these, nine are freeway shooting incidents from the Seattle area that are actively under investigation.
The number of reported shooting incidents in 2023 was similar, at 199 by this time last year, WSP told the DCNF.
On Jan. 22, two separate shootings occurred in King County within two hours, according to KOMO News.
At least seven shootings were reported on freeways near King County, Washington, in January, according to KOMO News.
Several Washington drivers have expressed concerns about the incidents.
“I’m worried about these random shootings if I’m with my daughter and my family,” Wanzhong Tang told KOMO News.
“Hearing about all these incidents, I definitely make a point of not looking at someone if they cut me off, just mind your own business and move on, it’s not worth engaging,” Kendra Hubbell told KOMO News.
“It’s not something that I ever thought of before driving down the road but it feels like there’s nothing we can do,” Hubbell continued.
Mass shootings have surged in the state, rising from four in 2019 to 15 in 2023, according to Axios.
Washington state Democrats painted the bill outlawing assault rifles as a solution to mass shootings and an answer to anti-gun activist outcry, according to PBS. “They are marching in the streets. They are asking for us to take action,” Democratic Washington state Sen. Liz Lovelett said in March 2023.
“We are very pleased that this long overdue legislation passed,” Mike Faulk, Inslee’s press secretary told CNN in April 2023. “The governor has been advocating for this policy since he voted for the federal ban in Congress in 1994. It will save lives working in tandem with other gun reforms moving this session.”
Several more gun control bills have been introduced in Washington state’s legislature.
One bill, H.B. 1902, would impose a requirement to have a permit to purchase firearms in the state. Another proposed bill, S.B. 5444, would ban guns in several public places, including parks, zoos, libraries and bus stations. A separate bill currently moving through the Legislature, H.B. 2054, would restrict gun-dealers to delivering only one gun per person every 30 days.
Other blue states have also introduced major new gun laws within the past two years. A California law restricting concealed carry permit holders from bringing firearms in “sensitive places,” such as playgrounds, churches and hospitals, which took effect Jan. 1, is facing legal challenges. Another law was passed by Illinois in January 2023, which bans semiautomatic firearms with a capacity of more than ten rounds for long guns and 15 rounds for handguns, which quickly resulted in lawsuits, though the Supreme Court has twice declined to hear the case.
Inslee did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.