Amid Successes, Alliance for Gun Responsibility Condemns Legislature’s “Unconscionable” Failure to Take Vote on School and Community Safety Bill, Including Enhanced Assault Weapons Background Checks
Legislature Takes No Action to Raise Age to Purchase Semi-Automatic Rifles, Despite Massive Public Outcry
Four Gun Violence Prevention Bills Passed, the Most to Date During One Session
Olympia, WA – Today the Alliance for Gun Responsibility condemned the failure of the Washington State Legislature to take a vote on Substitute Senate Bill 6620, the School and Community Safety bill that included Enhanced Assault Weapons Background Checks. Legislators’ inaction on the bill to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles, and strengthen the background check for those weapons, was a black mark on a year that saw the most gun responsibility bills passed in a single session.
Governor Jay Inslee signed the Machine Gun Loophole bill (ESSB 5992) into law on March 6th. Three more bills await the Governor’s signature, including the domestic violence harassment bill (SB 6298), the concealed pistol license eligibility bill (HB 2519) and voluntary waivers (SB 5553), a first-in-the-nation suicide prevention bill.
“It is simply unconscionable that the Legislature failed in its duty to vote on, let alone pass, the School and Community Safety bill,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “We are proud of, and grateful to, everyone who was a part of passing the most gun responsibility legislation in a single session. Washingtonians delivered hundreds of thousands of emails and hundreds of visits to the Capitol this session, and their outpouring of support throughout session will only grow in future sessions. Gun responsibility is a consensus viewpoint in Washington State, and Washington State deserves a gun responsibility majority that reflects their views. Our coalition will be working in 2018 to build that majority, and we will be back in 2019 stronger than ever.”
“On behalf of our entire coalition, I want to thank so many gun responsibility champions whose ceaseless determination made these successes possible,” continued Hopkins. “Each and every one of our prime sponsors this session made sure commonsense gun responsibility policies made progress in 2018. I want to especially thank Senators David Frockt, Jamie Pedersen, Christine Rolfes, Kevin Van De Wege, Deputy Majority Leader Andy Billig, Representative Laurie Jinkins, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Governor Jay Inslee for their leadership. And it is with tremendous gratitude that we wish Representative Ruth Kagi a happy retirement after her decades of work to protect children from gun violence.”
SSB 6620 had overwhelming support from Washingtonians from across the state. The Legislature heard testimony in support of this lifesaving bill from educators, veterans, gun violence survivors, gun owners, doctors, prosecutors and students. Gun violence prevention organizations across Washington State joined together in an effort to pass the legislation. Recent polling data showed that Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks, part of SSB 6620, was supported by 77 percent of voters in the 5th, 30th, 44th and 47th legislative districts.
To see the Alliance’s complete 2018 legislative agenda, visit www.gunresponsibility.org.
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.