January 25, 2018 Press Releases

Gun Responsibility Advocates Celebrate Another Milestone for the 2018 Legislative Session

House Judiciary Committee, Led by Gun Responsibility Champion Laurie Jinkins, Hears Several Gun Bills, Including Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks and Restoration of Local Authority

The Hearing Comes on the Heels of a Unanimous Senate Vote to Pass Suicide Prevention Bill

Olympia, WA – Dozens of gun responsibility advocates and testifiers are descending on Olympia today, for the House Judiciary Committee hearing of several gun violence prevention bills, including Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks (HB 1387) and Restoration of Local Authority (HB 2666).

During the hearing, legislators will hear support for these commonsense gun responsibility policies from survivors of gun violence, medical professionals, veterans, educators, elected officials and gun owners.

“Washingtonians continue to show their overwhelming support for commonsense gun laws that help save lives. The amazing turnout of supporters today is no different,” said Alliance for Gun Responsibility CEO Renée Hopkins. “Last week the Senate Law and Justice Committee heard strong support for these bills and we are thrilled that the Judiciary Committee members are hearing the same drumbeat for action. Now the Legislature must work to ensure that we build upon the success of last year’s passage of House Bill 1501 and make 2018 the most significant gun responsibility session to date.”

The Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks bill would raise the age of purchase to 21 years, require safety training, and change the fact that it’s easier to buy an assault weapon in Washington State than a handgun. Assault weapons 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.

“On October 1, my daughter was murdered in the Las Vegas mass shooting. According to the police, FBI and the coroner’s office, she was shot in the back by a modified assault weapon at a range of about four football fields as she ran for her life,” said Jim Parsons, a resident of Bainbridge Island. “When I visited the site of the massacre, I thought of the power and velocity of that bullet. Only an assault rifle, made even more dangerous with a bump stock and high-capacity magazines, could kill so many within minutes.”

Restoration of Local Authority would restore local governments’ ability to build on statewide gun responsibility laws by taking additional steps to protect families and communities. For over 30 years, our local towns, cities and counties have been blocked from taking action on their own to prevent gun violence because of the statewide preemption law.

“As a city council member in Edmonds, I see the opportunity for gun violence prevention efforts at the municipal level. No one knows what a community needs better than those who are part of it,” said Mike Nelson, Edmonds City Council. “Last year, the Edmonds City Council passed a lost and stolen gun ordinance and a resolution in support of Dangerous Access Prevention. We know there is more we can do to keep our community safe and are asking the state Legislature for the ability to so.”

The hearing today directly follows a historic vote on the Senate floor Wednesday. The Senate unanimously voted to pass Senate Bill 5553, a firearm suicide prevention bill. The first of its kind in the country, the policy would give people the ability to voluntarily have their names listed on the prohibited purchaser list. The policy includes identity protection and a process that allows the person to restore their gun rights. The bill is now headed to the House for consideration.

To see the Alliance’s complete 2018 legislative agenda, visit www.wagunresponsbility.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.