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Gun store ‘running out of almost everything’ as ‘assault weapon’ ban looms

Washington residents rushed to gun stores this week as the state's sweeping new "assault weapons" ban loomed. It will outlaw many popular semiautomatic rifles.

Customers stripped entire sections of wall at Surplus Ammo & Arms bare this week, flocking to the Tacoma gun store for rifles that are about to become illegal in the state of Washington.

“We are running out of almost everything,” store manager Bruce Smith said.

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As Smith was speaking with Fox News Wednesday afternoon, one of his employees leaned over the counter and delivered an update: House Bill 1240 had officially passed. 

House Bill 1240 bans so-called “assault weapons” — primarily semiautomatic rifles — with exceptions for law enforcement and the military. The bill passed the Senate earlier this month. It was amended and had to be sent back to the House where lawmakers approved the changes.

The bill contains an emergency clause, so it will take effect immediately upon Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.

“They’re going to ban all AR-style guns and anything that attaches to those guns,” Smith said. He estimated sales have doubled in the past month, with customers primarily focusing on rifles like the AR-15, kits and replacement parts. “People are focusing on what they won’t be able to get.”

The bill bans more than 60 specific firearms, most of them semiautomatic long guns. Semiautomatic pistols and shotguns with certain features outlined in the bill may also be banned, but the specific guns are not listed.

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Smith said semiautomatic rifles make up a large portion of Surplus Ammo and Arms’ stock.

“The main part of our sales is going to be in the AR-style or in a bunch of the weapons that they are banning,” he said. “A significant amount of our inventory is not going to be allowed to be sold.”

Washington will become the 10th state to adopt a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

Smith said the ban will put some businesses “out of work.”

“They will close,” he said. “Trying to transition to a completely different thing that you’re selling, that you’re not known for, and then competing with the big box companies that have 60,000 square feet of retail space, that this is just a piece of it. You know, that’s going to be very difficult.”

The future is unclear for Surplus Ammo & Arms.

“What’s next is a good question,” Smith said. “We’re still trying to figure that out ourselves.”

To hear more from Smith, click here

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