May 10, 2017 News

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND VICTIM SAFETY BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND VICTIM SAFETY BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

House Bill 1501, Now Law, Will Alert Law Enforcement, Notify Victims of the Thousands of Ineligible Attempts Made Each Year to Buy Guns

Governor Jay Inslee Also Signs Bill Clarifying Background Check Law

Olympia, WA – Today, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility hailed Governor Jay Inslee for signing into law House Bill 1501, the Law Enforcement and Victim Safety bill. The bipartisan legislation had support from a broad coalition, including law enforcement, prosecutors, and victims’ advocates, many of whom joined Governor Inslee for the signing ceremony. The law, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives and was passed unanimously by the Senate, will take effect later this year.

House Bill 1501 notifies law enforcement and victims when felons, domestic abusers and other ineligible people illegally attempt to purchase guns. This will give victims an opportunity to proactively take steps to keep themselves and their families safe. The law also provides police new tools to investigate illegal attempts to buy guns. In Washington State, there are over 3,000 illegal attempts to buy a gun every year.

“Law enforcement officers will have new tools to keep our communities, and themselves, safe because this bill was signed into law,” said Don Pierce, retired Bellingham chief of police and former executive director of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. “No matter where you are in Washington State, individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms are nonetheless trying to buy them. There have been over 12,000 such attempts in our state since 2013. House Bill 1501 will give officers the knowledge and resources they need to investigate these crimes and take appropriate action.”

“Today’s signing of the Law Enforcement and Victim Safety bill means that I will no longer be in the dark if the man who shot me attempts to buy a gun,” said Courtney Weaver, a survivor of firearm domestic violence. “The day that I receive a notification that my ex-boyfriend is trying to buy a gun would be one of the worst days of my life. But it would also be the day that I can take action to protect myself and my loved ones by using this valuable information to ensure my safety. House Bill 1501 could be the difference between life and death for me and so many other survivors of domestic violence.”

“Today, we saw that good things happen when elected officials at the state level work together to save lives from gun violence,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “This victory for our state simply wouldn’t have been possible without the bipartisan sponsors, Representatives Hansen and Hayes, the many coalition partners who stuck with this bill through thick and thin, and especially the survivors and citizens who were a constant presence in Olympia. They deserve a huge thank you, as does Governor Inslee.”

The signing of House Bill 1501 caps off the most successful legislative session yet for gun responsibility. Today, Governor Inslee also signed Senate Bill 5552, legislation clarifying existing provisions of Washington’s background check law. Legislators also advanced Dangerous Access Prevention legislation farther through the legislative process than ever before, and Enhanced Assault Weapons Background Check legislation was introduced that raised the purchase age for assault weapons to 21 and required safety training. The Senate also held multiple hearings on legislation to prevent suicide.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s full 2017 Policy Agenda is available here.

About the Alliance for Gun Responsibility

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility works to end the gun violence crisis in our community and to promote a culture of gun ownership that balances rights with responsibilities. Through collaboration with experts, civic leaders, and citizens, we work to find evidenced-based solutions to the crisis of gun violence in our community. We create innovative policy, advocate for changes in laws, and promote community education to reduce gun violence. Learn more at www.gunresponsibility.org and follow us at @WAGunResponsib.

###