January 27, 2021 Press Releases

Hundreds Of Gun Responsibility Advocates Sign In To Support SB 5038, Rejecting Armed Intimidation

For the second day in a row, the Washington Senate Law & Justice Committee heard testimony from survivors, health care providers, veterans, educators, and others  

OLYMPIA, WA – This morning, hundreds of gun responsibility advocates once again tuned in to watch and signed in to testify as the Senate Law and Justice Committee considered Senate Bill 5038 to prohibit open carry at public demonstrations and the state capitol. Gun violence survivors, local elected officials, law enforcement officials, and others testified in support of this timely legislation. 

“The need to address the threat of armed intimidation has never been more apparent,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “The very real danger of armed protesters and the risk posed by firearms at public demonstrations was made shockingly clear in the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol. But this issue has also hit close to home. Last legislative session, armed protesters rallied regularly in Olympia against gun safety measures. In December, two protests in Olympia ended in shootings. Earlier this month, protestors breached the grounds of the Governor’s mansion for the first time in our state’s history. Across the state, protesters showed up in business districts and residential neighborhoods, armed with semi-automatic assault rifles and dressed in tactical gear, to protest COVID restrictions or peaceful racial justice marches. The right to bear arms does not trump every other right. This policy will protect our most public spaces from the risk of gun violence and the threat of armed intimidation.” 

The need to reject armed intimidation was reiterated by survivors, experts, and advocates in testimony: 

“I have traveled to Olympia for many years to testify in person and I am thankful to be doing this in the safety of my home this year,” said Liz Hjelmseth. “I was shot when I was 8 years old by my brother. He didn’t want to kill me. I was shot because there was an easily available gun and anger overtook his actions. Each time I come to Olympia, I say goodbye to my family and wonder if I will make it home in one piece. I know there are going to be many easily accessible guns and anger will be ever present. And I am uniquely aware of the danger that holds. It is time to put the right to safety above the privilege to carry a gun.”

A clip of the hearing can be viewed here. The Alliance’s full 2021 legislative agenda can be found here.