February 28, 2018 Press Releases

Momentum Builds for Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks Bill

On the Heels of Yesterday’s Senate Hearing on Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Released a Television Commercial that Highlights Opportunities to Protect Schools and Close Gaps in Current Law

Dozens of Survivors and Gun Violence Prevention Advocates Packed Hearing Room, Testified in Support of the Bill

Gun Violence Prevention Organizations in Washington Joined Forces and Publically Called for Passage of This Commonsense Gun Responsibility Legislation Before Session Ends on March 8

Seattle, WA – On the heels of yesterday’s Senate Ways and Means Committee hearing on Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks (SB 6620/HB 3004), the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is running a commercial, as part of a nearly six-figure program to communicate to Washingtonians and to the Legislature about the enormous opportunity to support our students, make our schools safer, and close loopholes in our gun law. With just over a week left in the 2018 legislative session, the goal of the ad is to encourage the people of Washington to speak out in support of this commonsense bill and contact their legislators. The ad, “Choose Our Kids,” is available on the Alliance’s YouTube channel.

“The time for action is now. The horrific school shooting in Parkland, Florida, the 17th school shooting so far this year, is a harsh reminder of what happens when deadly weapons designed to kill many in just a few seconds, fall into dangerous hands,” said Renée Hopkins, CEO, Alliance For Gun Responsibility. “In Washington, it’s easier to purchase an assault weapon than a handgun. Legislators have the opportunity to change the law right now and we urge them not to waste this opportunity.”

In addition to television ad, gun violence prevention organizations in Washington have joined forces to demand that state legislators pass Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks. The Alliance for Gun Responsibility, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, Washington Ceasefire, the Brady Campaign, Thurston Gun Sense and Safe and Sane Skagit and their volunteers from across the state are calling on legislators to do everything in their power to bring the Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks policy to a vote. The unified call to action comes just one day after the Senate Ways and Means Committee heard testimony in support of the bill from educators, survivors, medical professionals and veterans.

“Today, it takes less than a half hour for someone to purchase an AR-15 style rifle, the same weapon that was just used to murder 17 innocent people in Parkland, Florida. These weapons of war may have their place in the military and in our police forces, but they don’t belong in our schools and churches,” said Amanda Turner, Co-President, Seattle Chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “We join the call for our state leaders to vote on this important bill to limit access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines by prohibited and dangerous people.”

Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks, which would raise the minimum purchase age for assault weapons from 18 to 21, needs a floor vote in both houses to move forward before the 2018 legislative session ends on March 8.

“Washington Ceasefire and our volunteers greatly appreciate Senator Frockt’s continued efforts to support common sense gun safety legislation. The Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks policy is needed if we are serious about protecting our children. We join with schoolchildren, parents and teachers around the country in saying, ‘ENOUGH!’ We urge legislators to vote yes on this important legislation. We will all remember,” said Jaron Lindbor, Washington Ceasefire.

“Grandmothers Against Gun Violence is proud that Washington voters are solidly behind steps to prevent gun violence. We hope our legislators take their steps now. No one wants to see another life lost to a young person armed with the most lethal type of firearm. We urge a vote on Enhanced Assault Weapon Background Checks,” said Margaret Heldring, President, Grandmothers Against Gun Violence.

Studies show that shootings where assault weapons or large capacity ammunition magazines were used result in 135 percent more people shot and 57 percent more killed, compared with other mass shootings. Assault weapons have been used in high-profile shooting incidents, including the 2017 Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs shootings, 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School and the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, shooting.

“It is time for our legislators to stand up and make a change so that these deadly military style weapons cannot so easily be acquired and kept in dangerous hands,” said Margy Lavelle, Chairperson, Safe and Sane Skagit. “It is insane for us not to do everything we can to prevent these horrific school shootings.”

“As a grassroots organization dedicated to preventing gun violence in our community, our close proximity to the capitol makes up very aware of what’s going on at the Legislature. We are asking our leaders, to please not let another session go by without action on commonsense gun laws,” said Isabella Torrance, Thurston Gun Sense.

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.

About Grandmothers Against Gun Violence

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence works collaboratively with other groups to reduce gun violence and remedy the complex societal factors that contribute to a culture of gun violence. We are an active, enduring, effective grassroots organization. We show up. We write legislators, sign petitions, attend candidate forums, participate in rallies, partner with like-minded groups to add voices to the cause. We believe in public education on the topic of gun responsibility and gun violence. Our strength is in our numbers and persistence. We are grass roots with deep roots and, as grandmothers, we seek a safer world for our grandchildren and for theirs.

About Washington Ceasefire

Since 1983 this Seattle-based citizen activist group has been dedicated to reducing gun violence. Ceasefire sees the adoption of safer, child-proof, smart gun technology along with reasonable, common sense, gun safety legislation at the state level as the most promising near term paths to reducing the almost 34,000 gun deaths annually in the US.

About The Brady Campaign

The Brady Campaign and Center, united with the Million Mom March, is a national network of over 90 grassroots chapter affiliates mobilized to prevent gun violence at the community level. The network has played a vital role in expanding Brady background checks in the six states that have passed legislation since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and produced the largest national protest of gun violence in U.S. history – The Million Mom March, Mother’s Day 2000.

About Thurston Gun Sense

We are concerned citizens working together to prevent gun violence in Thurston County. To learn more about our work and get involved, visit our Facebook page.

About Safe and Sane Skagit

Skagitonians who support safe and sane gun legislation. We are witnesses, we give voice, we act. We promote respectful conversations about gun violence. To learn more about our work and get involved, visit our Facebook page.