March 1, 2018 News

Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks, Part of the School and Community Safety Bill, Moves One Step Closer to Vote on Senate Floor

Senate Ways and Means Committee Voted to Advance Substitute Senate Bill 6620 One Week Ahead of Session Cut-off on March 8

Olympia, WA – Today, the Senate Ways and Means Committee, voted to advance Substitute Senate Bill 6620, the School and Community Safety bill. The vote moves the bill, which includes Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks, to raise the minimum purchase age for semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21, to the brink of a vote in the Washington state Senate. The legislation must be delivered to the Governor’s desk before the 2018 legislative session adjourns on March 8.

“Washington is a leader in gun violence prevention policy at the state level. Legislators have the opportunity to continue that leadership by passing this commonsense bill that will save lives,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO, Alliance For Gun Responsibility. “Republicans and democrats across the nation, at every level of government, are advancing legislation to raise the age to purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 years of age to 21 years of age. We have the chance to become the first state in the nation to do so and we are urging our legislators to listen to the will of the people and pass this policy.”

Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks, part of the School and Community Safety bill, raises the age of purchase semi-automatic rifles from 18 to 21 years of age, and requires a state-level background check. This legislation would change the fact that it’s easier to buy a semi-automatic rifle in Washington State than a handgun. Semi-automatic rifles have been used in high-profile shooting incidents, including the 2017 Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs shootings, the 2016 Mukilteo house party shooting, the 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, and far too many others.

Today’s vote comes as momentum continues to build for the Legislature to act. Hundreds of thousands of emails have been sent to legislators in an effort to urge them to act this session on school and community safety, including Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks. Gun violence prevention organizations in Washington state joined forces earlier this week, alongside the Seattle School District and MomsRising, to call on legislators to pass SSB 6620. On Tuesday, survivors, students, educators, prosecutors, doctors, gun owners, and veterans came to Olympia by the dozens to testify before the Committee.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility is also actively communicating with Washingtonians, through television and digital advertising, about the enormous opportunity to support our students, make our schools safer, and close loopholes in our gun law. The ad, “Choose Our Kids,” is available on the Alliance’s YouTube channel.

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.