2018 Legislative Agenda

Strengthening Laws

Dangerous Access Prevention • HB 1122 / SB 5463

Guns taken from homes by children or those prohibited from possessing firearms have been at the heart of some of our state’s most tragic gun violence incidents. These include the 2017 Freeman High School shooting in Spokane, the 2016 Burlington mall shooting, the 2014 Marysville-Pilchuk high school tragedy, the 2008 Isaac Zamora rampage, and more. More than 75% of youth suicide attempts occur with guns found in the home and 65% of school shooters obtained their weapons within their own or a relative’s home. Dangerous Access Prevention builds upon successful laws in Florida, California and 28 other states. This policy incentivizes safe storage by creating criminal liability, depending on the severity of the incident, if a child or anyone prohibited from possessing a gun uses an unsafely stored firearm to harm themselves or someone else.

Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks • HB 1387 / SB 5444

Assault weapons are military-designed weapons created to kill humans quickly and efficiently. These firearms have repeatedly been used in high-profile shootings such as the 2016 shooting in Mukilteo, as well as the shootings in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook, and the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Studies show that shootings where assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines were used resulted in 135% more people shot and 57% more killed, compared with other mass shootings. In Washington, it is easier to buy an assault weapon than it is to purchase a handgun because assault weapons are treated the same as hunting rifles. The Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Check bill is built upon Washington state’s Concealed Pistol License background check standards; it will raise the age of purchase to 21 years, require safety training, and annual background check renewal.

Restoration of Local Authority • NEW LEGISLATION

For over 30 years, our local towns, cities, and counties have been blocked from taking action on their own to prevent gun violence because of a statewide preemption law. Local municipalities are best positioned to know how best to protect their communities and may wish to limit firearm access in certain public places – like public parks and libraries where kids play and learn. This legislation would restore local governments’ ability to build on statewide gun responsibility laws by taking additional steps to protect families and communities.

Keep Crime Guns Off the Street • HB 1483

Across the state, many law enforcement agencies choose to destroy confiscated crime guns rather than put them back on the street via auction. Under current law, the Washington State Patrol must auction or trade confiscated firearms. This Washington State Patrol Request Legislation helps keep our communities safer by giving the WSP the ability to destroy confiscated crime guns.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Crisis Prevention • SB 5441

Under current law, people who have been involuntarily committed consecutively for longer than 14 days may not possess firearms. However, individuals subject to 72-hour involuntary holds for mental health, may still legally purchase firearms even though national studies show that people who have been subject to 72-hour mental health hold are at great risk of suicide. One study showed that 75% of gun-eligible people who used a gun to complete suicide and 33% of those arrested for a violent gun crime had a 72-hour involuntary hold record. The Suicide Crisis Prevention bill will help prevent suicide and violent crises by temporarily restricting access to firearms for people who have been held for mental health treatment for 72-hours.

Voluntary Waiver • SB 5553

Many people realize they could be at risk of future crisis. Today, a person can voluntarily admit themselves to a hospital and seek out mental health support but there isn’t a clear path to ensure they won’t be able to purchase a firearm in a moment of crisis. This bill would give people the ability to voluntarily have their names listed on the prohibited purchaser list. The policy includes identity protection and a process that allows the person to restore their gun rights.

Keeping Our Communities Safe

Washington State is leading the country in finding new ways to save lives from preventable gun violence. We look forward to working with legislative partners to address gaps in law that cause, and worsen, firearm death and injury. In addition to the priorities listed above, we will be working to secure resources for mental health services and evidence-based suicide prevention education, and new research funding. We also support closing protection order loopholes, and closing the gap in our machine gun law that’s enabled dangerous conversion devices, like bumpstocks to be legally sold in Washington State.

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