(The Center Square) — Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told lawmakers Wednesday there was no evidence that banning the sale of high-capacity firearm magazines would deter violence. and that the ban was likely to be found unconstitutional.

“There’s no evidence that this kind of ban will reduce violence in Washington, nothing at all,” Knezovich said.

He was addressing the House Civil and Judicial Rights Committee that is reviewing Senate Bill 5078, which passed in that chamber by a 28-20 vote last week.

Gun control advocates are claiming victory because this is the first time a gun magazine capacity limit has passed through a chamber. The bill would ban the sale of magazines containing more than 10 cartridges.

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, sponsored the bill at the request of the state attorney general.

“The data is clear. States that have limited the sale of high-capacity magazines to 10 rounds have achieved significant improvements in public safety,” Liias told reporters.

Before the vote, Liias referred to a mass shooting in Mukilteo in 2016, in which three people were killed.

“The only reason other young people were able to get to safety that night was because the mass shooter needed to reload his gun,” he said.

The bill would ban the sale of firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

SB 5078 is pushed back, especially by law enforcement, the Second Amendment Foundation, and the National Rifle Association.

Knezovich’s testimony followed that of Margaret Heldring of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, who said ‘these guns’ belong in the military and law enforcement, but ‘they have no place in civilian life “.

Knezovich disagreed with this assertion as well as others made by the bill’s supporters. He said it was “not correct” to blame the mass shootings on high-capacity magazines. He said single-bullet shotguns were used to make many of these shots.

“In Russia, 19 people were killed with a shotgun,” he said. “The magazine capacity does not deter the amount of damage that can be dealt.”

Fentanyl crossed the southern border, he said, and was responsible for killing more children than guns, but not as much focus was being placed on this threat to society.

“If we think we’re going to get out of this problem by banning magazines, you’re wrong,” he said. “The way we get out of this problem is to enforce our laws and make it painful to commit gun crimes.”

Knezovich’s comments were echoed this week by other eastern Washington sheriffs. Stevens County Sheriff Brad Manke and Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer called SB 5078 “ridiculous” and said it would no more deter criminals than gun control measures at earlier fires had done so.

“All they’re doing is taking something away from law-abiding citizens,” Manke said.

“What benefactors forget is that criminals don’t obey the law,” Songer said.

Even though larger capacity magazines are banned, Franklin County Sheriff Jim Raymond said it only takes a few seconds for someone knowledgeable about firearms to swap out a magazine.

“It won’t save anyone,” he said.

Sheriffs think the “anti-gun mob” knows they can’t openly confiscate guns, so they’re slowly taking their rights away, and SB 5078 is just one more step in that direction.

Manke, Songer and Raymond were among 22 Washington sheriffs who refused to enforce gun control laws brought about by the passage of Initiative 1639 in 2018. The measure that changed a number of rules on gun possession was approved by a strong margin on the west side of the state and soundly rejected by all but two counties on the east side.

“At the end of the day, supporters of these laws feel good, but they don’t work. It’s just stupid,” said Raymond, who has seen many changes in 40 years in law enforcement but is most worried about the push in recent years to take away gun rights. to people who do not commit any crime.

“I’m not going to go out of my way to find out how many bullets you have in your magazine,” he said.