Washington state has made tremendous progress on gun violence prevention in recent years, both at the ballot and in the legislature. We’ve updated the rules for purchasing semi-automatic assault rifles, strengthened protections for victims of domestic violence, prohibited 3D-printed and untraceable firearms, created suicide prevention tools, and more. Our 2020 Legislative Agenda outlines a bold roadmap for the Washington State Legislature to do even more to keep our communities safe from gun violence.
REGULATE ACCESS TO AMMUNITION AND HIGH-CAPACITY MAGAZINES: Washington’s background check system helps ensure firearms do not make it into dangerous hands. However, we do not currently address access to ammunition and the high-capacity magazines that make semi-automatic weapons extraordinarily deadly. We should take steps to require background checks on all ammunition and magazine purchases and prohibit magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds. Polling data for 2020 shows broad public support on this issue.
ADDRESS THE INTERSECTION OF ALCOHOL AND FIREARM VIOLENCE: Emerging research shows a clear link between even a single driving under the influence (DUI) conviction and future violent acts. Today, our law prohibits firearms possession after a felony DUI. We can help keep guns out of crisis situations by adjusting our laws to temporarily restrict access to firearms after a second DUI conviction, while incentivizing treatment pathways and encouraging continued sobriety where appropriate by allowing for earlier restoration of firearms rights.
KEEP KIDS SAFE: Firearms are prohibited in K-12 schools across our state. But other places where our children gather to learn and play do not have similar protections. We can help keep our kids safe by extending the protections for K-12 schools to early learning centers, parks, and libraries across Washington.
RESTORE LOCAL AUTHORITY: If local leaders determine there are events or places where firearms present a high risk, they should be able to act. Our state should allow local governments to put stronger laws into place when it is right for the community.
CENTRALIZE OUR BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM: In 2019, the Legislature passed HB 1949, directing the Office of Financial Management to study ways to centralize our state’s background check system. The Legislature should implement and fully fund the suggestions brought forward as a result of that study.
KEEP CONFISCATED CRIME GUNS OFF THE STREET: Allowing the State Patrol to destroy confiscated crime guns, rather than require them to auction or trade them will help keep dangerous crime guns out of our communities.
REQUIRE SAFETY TRAINING: Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia require safety training before issuing a concealed pistol license; Washington is not one of these states. Updating our laws to include training requirements will help ensure people carrying concealed weapons know how to safely handle them.
COMMUNITY AND VICTIM PROTECTION:Washington continues to make tremendous strides to help ensure firearms are removed from dangerous people and crisis situations. As we implement these laws, there are additional ways to strengthen these provisions, including allowing access to important databases, aligning penalties for violations, clarifying procedures to restore firearm rights, ensuring concealed pistol licenses are removed at the same time as firearms, funding crime victims support with a surcharge on ammunition sales, and using best practices for surrender processes statewide.
SUPPORT COMMUNITY-BASED PROGRAMS: Research on programs in cities like New York, Oakland, and Milwaukee continues to show the promise of holistic, community-based programs in preventing gun violence. Supporting programs like these in Washington will help interrupt and prevent gun violence.
REQUIRE REPORTING OF LOST AND STOLEN FIREARMS: Our state should follow the example of a growing number of cities in Washington and require owners to alert law enforcement that their weapon may now be on the black market within 48 hours of the weapon being lost or stolen.
REQUIRE LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES TO PARTICIPATE IN FIREARMS TRACING: Law enforcement agencies have a number of tools at their disposal to trace firearms from the point of sale to the crime scene, and to connect weapons to multiple crimes, but all too often these systems go unutilized. Implementing programs to overcome barriers to using these systems will help law enforcement agencies to use them statewide.
UPDATE LAWS TO ENSURE VIOLENT INDIVIDUALS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PURCHASING FIREARMS: Illegal discharge, or display of a firearm and other crimes do not currently prohibit potentially dangerous individuals from purchasing and possessing firearms. This ought to be rectified. In addition, we should make the act of threatening to commit mass violence a crime that prohibits individuals from possessing firearms.