April 26, 2023 In the News
2023 LEGISLATIVE VICTORIES
Washington’s 2023 legislative session is officially over and it was miraculous! This session was the first total return to in-person work since the 2020 pandemic and we brought our boldest agenda yet. EIGHT vital gun violence prevention and community safety bills passed.
Here’s a breakdown of our legislative victories:
HB 1240: RESTRICT ACCESS TO ASSAULT WEAPONS
Semi-automatic assault weapons have been used in the deadliest mass shootings in the last 10 years. This bill ensures that Washington became the 10th state to ban the sale of these military-grade firearms across all of our communities. This is a victory years in the making and one that will ensure that assault weapons are not sold in Washington State.
HB 1143: IMPLEMENTING A 10-DAY WAITING PERIOD AND MANDATED SAFETY TRAINING FOR THE PURCHASE OF ALL FIREARMS
This bill requires safety training and a 10-day waiting period to purchase any firearm in Washington. States with similar precautions have lower rates of firearm-related death, fewer guns diverted to criminals shortly after retail sale, and lower rates of guns exported to other states.
SB 5078: ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS
For too long, federal law has prevented gun violence victims and survivors from holding gun dealers and manufacturers accountable for dangerous and irresponsible practices. This means that the gun industry has been able to engage in reckless and dangerous practices without fear of consequences. SB 5078 ensures a pathway for victims and survivors of gun violence to hold industry leaders accountable for wrongful and dangerous business practices, and ensure that victims have a method to seek justice.
SB 5231: EMERGENCY DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NO CONTACT AND FIREARMS RELINQUISHMENT ORDERS AT THE SCENE OF DV INCIDENTS
This bill provides authority for an officer to ask a judge, on behalf of and with the consent of the victim, to authorize an emergency domestic violence No-Contact Order, and an Order to Surrender and Prohibit Weapons or Extreme Risk Protection Order when the officer has responded to a domestic violence call. These emergency orders are effective immediately upon issuance, until the initial court hearing on the charges.
SB 5006: CLARIFYING WAIVER OF FIREARM RIGHTS
Washington’s voluntary waiver program is a revolutionary and lifesaving suicide prevention tool. However, expansion of this waiver program was necessary. SB 5006 helps clarify and strengthen the program. Under current law, individuals must file waiver forms in person at the local court, but this bill expands the program to run electronically as well, which eliminates barriers for some of the most vulnerable Washingtonians.
HB 1230: SAFE STORAGE INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS
This bill requires the Department of Health (DOH) to share information about the secure storage of prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and firearms and ammunition. Additionally, it requires school districts to post and have easy access to the delineated DOH information and to ensure the information is accessible through various communication means.
HB 1562: RESTORATION OF FIREARM RIGHTS
Reducing the risks of lethality and other harm associated with gun violence, gender-based violence, and other types of violence is the focus of this bill. To help reduce the risk of harm, including the risk of lethality, and the disparate impact associated with gun violence and gender-based violence because of access to firearms, this bill updates the law prohibiting possession of firearms by persons convicted of certain crimes to cover additional types of offenses associated with violence and strengthens the criteria and process by which they may petition to restore their firearm rights.
HB 1715: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTIONS
This bill enacts additional protections for victims of domestic violence. Electronic monitoring with victim notification technology and a pilot program to implement DV high-risk teams are adopted, additional training for law enforcement is provided, and many provisions in law related to firearms relinquishment are strengthened, along with other lifesaving measures, thanks to this bill.
$$$: INVESTING IN GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
The legislature allocated $30 million in funding for various gun violence prevention programs this legislative session! Gun violence continues at a record pace in Washington and the nation as a whole, weighing heavily on our communities and highlighting how much work there is left to do to create the safe future we all deserve. But this session proved how much progress is possible.
None of these victories would have occurred without the dedication of our legislative champions and our tireless supporters. We are so grateful for everyone who worked with us to help make Washington a safer state.
— Dylan O’Connor is Government Affairs Director at the Alliance