February 17, 2021 Press Releases

Alliance For Gun Responsibility Honors Victims Of Gun Violence And Calls For Legislative Action

On its virtual lobby day, the Alliance planted 842 flags to represent Washingtonians killed by gun violence each year

In a press conference, survivors, advocates, and the Attorney General called on Washington legislators to prioritize gun responsibility legislation

SEATTLE, WA – Every year more than 800 Washingtonians are killed by gun violence. Today, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility planted 842 flags, one to represent each person killed by guns in Washington in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available. The event was held just days after the third anniversary of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and on what would normally be the Alliance’s annual lobby day in Olympia. In lieu of an in-person lobby day, the Alliance organized volunteers from across the state to call on legislators to act. A sign-on letter and video messages calling for action on gun responsibility this legislative session can be seen here

Survivors, advocates, and the Attorney General echoed that call at a news conference in front of the commemorative display. 

“Every year, more than 800 Washingtonians are killed by gun violence,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “Tragedies like the senseless shooting in Parkland three years ago put the impact of the gun violence epidemic in stark relief. But the truth is, gun violence is claiming lives in each of our communities every day without making headlines. In light of the pandemic, the crisis of police violence, the surge in gun sales, and the rise in armed intimidation, gun violence has only grown more dire. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis—from economic hardship and social disruption to the spike in gun sales—exposed and exacerbated existing risks of gun violence. This year, once again, Washington legislators have the opportunity to act to prevent gun violence in our communities. We urge them to seize this chance to keep Washingtonians safe. Our communities cannot recover from the hardships of the last year if they are crushed by the weight of gun violence.” 

Attorney General Bob Ferguson added to the call for action, urging lawmakers to restrict access to high-capacity magazines. “Three years ago, 17 people were murdered in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School involving an AR-15-style assault weapon and multiple high-capacity magazines,” he said. “That tragedy sparked a powerful youth movement against gun violence, but these senseless shootings have continued. More than 70 lives have been lost in mass shootings using high-capacity magazines since Parkland — in Thousand Oaks, Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton and many more. We’ve witnessed more than 80 of these shootings in the last four decades. We’ve grieved too many times. We need more than thoughts and prayers. It’s time to act.”

“Three years ago, my older daughter Carmen was murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. She was a beautiful, caring, funny, brilliant and musically talented 16-year-old senior,” said April Schentrup. “Carmen’s shooter was able to kill 17 students and staff and wound 17 more within a matter of seconds. A few minutes—seconds really—can change lives forever. A few seconds could have made the difference between Carmen and three of her classmates making it into the safe corner of their classroom. A few seconds could have allowed someone to attack the shooter as he was reloading. But the shooter’s high-capacity magazines meant that he didn’t have to stop for a few seconds to reload. After Carmen’s death, my husband and I moved to Washington with our youngest daughter for safer schools and a chance to heal. I hope that legislators act so that other families do not suffer like ours.”

“A police officer’s first job is to be a peace officer, and that requires proper policy and investment,” said Lyn Idahosa, Executive Director of the Federal Way Black Collective. “The first time I was paralyzed with fear as a mother was when a police officer told us our lives didn’t matter. Over the summer, in response to a peaceful demonstration of teachers, vigilantes positioned themselves on the roof of a gun shop with assault weapons. Absent a crime, police still valued armed white employees’ ability to ‘protect’ property not even in danger of being destroyed over the trauma myself and my son felt that day. The emotional damage will always be with me. My 2-year-old had an adverse childhood experience courtesy of armed protesters and police not in a war zone but right in the ‘City of Opportunity.’”

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s full legislative agenda can be found here