Washington and Oregon groups push to ban high-powered rifles, to create a ‘West Coast Wall’

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SEATTLE -- In light of the mass shootings across the country, gun control groups feel they have the momentum to make some sweeping changes regionwide.

On Wednesday, several Washington and Oregon groups announced a new campaign pushing for a ban on high-powered rifles. They hope to follow California’s lead, calling it the ‘West Coast Wall.’

But gun rights advocates say the other side is focusing on the wrong thing.

“I would rather have that as a self-defense weapon than one of these handguns if I had a choice,” Lowpriceguns.com owner Jason Cazes said.

But gun control advocates from the West Coast are banding together to call for a 10-bullet magazine restriction and a ban on all high-powered rifles they call assault weapons.

“Creating a West Coast wall of California, Oregon and Washington is necessary to stop would-be shooters to travel up and down the I-5 corridor,” Penny Okamoto of Ceasefire Oregon said.

Washington Ceasefire points to a recent poll by SurveyMonkey. Of the 310 people questioned in Washington and Oregon combined, 65% were in favor of an assault weapons ban. The poll said 43% of the 310 people owned guns in their own homes and of those people 52% supported a ban on high-powered rifles.

“To the best of our ability we believe it’s a good poll,” Ralph Fascitelli of Washington Ceasefire said.

But the Second Amendment Foundation says they don’t trust the numbers.

“I don’t think any reputable polling company would base the results of a survey of 310 people especially in a state with 7 million people,” Dave Workman with Second Amendment Foundation said.

Gun rights advocates say restricting guns and the capacity of magazines will not stop the mass shootings.

“This diverts public attention from the real problem, which is stopping criminals and stopping terrorist acts,” Workman said.

“I believe in the 2nd Amendment and constitutional right. To do nothing to what we continually witness in this country is simply not an acceptable answer,” said Democratic Washington state Sen. David Frockt.

Passionate views on both sides not just on guns but what many view as their constitutional right.

“There is simply no constitutional barrier from taking this commonsense step,” Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said.

“That’s my choice in my home and it’s my 2nd Amendment right to have that,” Cazes said.

Gun rights advocates say opponents coined the words "assault rifle" to demonize the guns.

They note that fully automatic guns are illegal in this country already and when it comes to semi-automatic rifles, you have to pull the trigger each time you shoot it.

They also believe even with a ban, the bad guys will find a way to get a high-powered rifle.

But the other side believes a ban would make a difference and they are hoping to gather enough signatures in the next 6 to 9 months to pressure lawmakers to vote for a ban.

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