April 13, 2017 News

State Senate Lets Clock Run Out On Bipartisan Bill To Protect Law Enforcement, Victims, From Prohibited Persons Illegally Trying To Buy Guns

Last-Minute Decision to Kill House Bill 1501 Represents a Disappointing Conclusion to Landmark Session for Gun Responsibility in Olympia

 Olympia, WA – The Alliance for Gun Responsibility condemned the Republican-controlled Senate’s refusal to take vote on House Bill 1501, the Law Enforcement and Victim Safety bill, ahead of Wednesday’s cut-off deadline. The bi-partisan legislation, which had support from law enforcement and victims’ advocates, passed two Senate committees after passing in the House of Representatives by a vote of 84-13.

The Law Enforcement and Victim Safety bill would notify law enforcement and victims when felons, domestic abusers and other ineligible people illegally attempt to purchase guns. This would give victims an opportunity to proactively take steps to keep themselves and their families safe. The bill would also have provided police the tools and funding authority to investigate illegal attempts to buy guns. Currently, there are over 3,000 illegal attempts to buy a gun in Washington every year.

“It is outrageous that the Senate chose not to vote on the Law Enforcement and Victim Safety bill, especially because it had unprecedented bi-partisan support and had nearly made it to the finish line,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “The Senate’s inaction leaves law enforcement in the dark, and victims unable to take steps to protect themselves, when felons, domestic abusers and other prohibited persons illegally try to buy guns. Families and communities will pay the price. The truth is that until we have a gun responsibility majority in the Legislature, Washington State citizens will have to force legislators to take gun violence seriously.”

“Despite this gross oversight, we are encouraged by the successful passage of other meaningful gun violence prevention policies this session,” said Hopkins. “Those would not have been possible without our gun responsibility champions in state government, broad coalition support and the unprecedented public activism we’ve seen in Olympia and across the state. We are so grateful to the elected officials who are leading this fight, and to the hundreds of Washingtonians who were a constant presence in the state capitol, at town halls, and who delivered tens of thousands of calls and emails to their legislators.”

While the Senate chose not vote on House Bill 1501, the Legislature saw major progress for gun responsibility this session. Dangerous Access Prevention legislation advanced 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. Other gun violence prevention milestones include:

  • This session saw the largest number of bipartisan co-sponsors for gun responsibility legislation and set a record for the number of co-sponsors for a gun responsibility bill (HB 1122).
  • The House Judiciary Committee heard legislation on reducing the ease of access to deadly assault weapons (HB 1387) and passed legislation to prevent dangerous access to unsafely stored firearms (HB 1122) and to keep crime guns off the street (HB 1483)  out of Committee.
  • The Republican-controlled Senate heard, but took no action on, legislation to prevent suicide (SB 5441) and allow individuals to voluntarily waive their firearm rights during a period of crisis (SB 5553).

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.

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