January 26, 2021 Press Releases
Hundreds Sign In To Support SB 5078, Prohibiting High-Capacity Magazines
The Washington Senate Law & Justice Committee heard testimony from survivors, health care providers, veterans, educators, and others
OLYMPIA, WA – Today, hundreds of gun responsibility advocates tuned in to watch and signed in to testify as the Senate Law and Justice Committee considered Senate Bill 5078 to restrict access to high-capacity magazines. The committee heard testimony from numerous people with firsthand experience with gun violence including survivors, health care providers, law enforcement officials, veterans, and educators.
“Washingtonians expect action to prevent gun violence,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “Year after year, people from all across the state have shown up to Olympia to urge lawmakers to reduce the scope of gun violence in our communities by prohibiting high-capacity magazines. Today, in the midst of a pandemic and after one of the most violent years in decades, they reiterated that call. We have made tremendous progress in the fight against gun violence in recent years. We cannot afford to press pause now. Legislators should pass this commonsense policy.”
Whether a state allows high-capacity magazine sales is the single best predictor of mass shooting rates in that state. In Washington state, high-capacity magazines have been used in mass shootings in Mukilteo, Burlington, Seattle, and Spokane. Shooters also used them in the six deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history: Las Vegas, Orlando, Sutherland Springs, Sandy Hook, Parkland, and El Paso. High-capacity magazines also make shootings deadlier. A review of recent mass shootings found that mass shootings involving high-capacity magazines resulted in an average of five times as many people being shot as in those that did not.
The need to restrict access to these deadly accessories was reiterated by survivors, experts, and advocates in testimony:
“Do children at school have a right to live?” asked Ami Strahan, whose son Sam Strahan was killed at Freeman High School. “Did the students at Parkland have a right to their life? My son was 15 years old. He was a sophomore in high school. He had a whole life ahead of him. I come here in his honor and for all the students and families that will be forever impacted by that day. I have an opportunity here—as do you—to make impactful and meaningful change so that no families have to live without their loved ones.”
“Gun violence is an urgent public health epidemic,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, Director of the Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at Harborview Medical Center. “Like all epidemics, gun violence is incredibly complex. It will require a comprehensive policy response. This bill is a smart, evidence-based proposal that will reduce the scope of gun violence in our state and help save lives.”
Prime Sponsor, Sen. Marko Liias addressed concerns about a 2020 decision by a 9th Circuit panel striking down California’s blanket high-capacity magazine ban.
“The difference between this law and others around the country is [SB 5078] builds on our tailored approach that balances the competing interests in these constitutional protections,” said Sen. Marko Liias. “It speaks to how we will handle magazines already in circulation, what are the legitimate grounds that folks should continue possessing these magazines, and it sets up a reasonable framework for protecting public safety while recognizing and respecting our fundamental constitutional rights.”
Tomorrow at 10:30am, the Senate Law & Justice Committee will hear testimony on Senate Bill 5038, which will limit open carry and reject armed intimidation. The Alliance’s full 2021 legislative agenda can be found here.