GUN SAFETY 

Issue Team Chair: Pat Griffith – pgriffith [at] lwvwa.org – (206) 285-2452
Issue Paper: Gun Safety (PDF) 

Update for the Week of March 18, 2018

The Senate ran out the clock on SB 6620, the last-minute attempt to change the age for assault weapon purchase from 18 to 21 and require an enhanced background check as for pistols. The bill also called for grants to school districts for emergency implementation and for a communication system enabling students and others to report potential threats confidentially. NO VOTE WAS SCHEDULED despite many calls to action by LWV and gun safety advocates. This was especially disappointing as the Florida legislature was able to pass similar legislation.

Save the Date: March For Our Lives

Saturday, March 24: March for Our Lives events are being organized in many cities by student organizers. The Seattle march will start at 10:00am at Cal Anderson Park. LWV of Seattle/King County is training student volunteers to register voters. We hope to have a League contingent marching and will gather at Café Argento, 1125 E. Olive (corner of 12th Ave and E. Olive) around 9am to make/distribute signs. March will start officially at 11am and proceed to Seattle Center where we plan to have a table. Please call or email for more information and updates. Volunteers are needed for welcome, cleanup, and peacekeepers. Please contact Pat Griffith if you plan to join us or volunteer.

Bills the League Supported Which Passed
  • SB 5992 bans the sale, manufacture, and possession of so-called “bump stocks” which are trigger modification devices. Passed the Senate on January 25 29-20, was heard in the House on February 9, and emerged from Executive Session after a weakening amendment was defeated. Senate staff of senators who voted for the bump stock ban have been deluged with negative intimidating messages from the opposition, so if your Senator voted YES, please give that office a thank you call or email. On Friday, February 23 after emotional debate, the House passed the Bump Stock Ban by a vote of 56-41.
  • SSB 5553, a suicide prevention measure which permits voluntary waivers of firearm rights for persons vulnerable due to suicide or other danger to self or others, passed the Senate on January 24, 49-0, and passed the House on February 23, 77-20. 
  • EHB 2519 allows concealed pistols not to be returned due to protection orders.
  • SB 6298 prohibits persons convicted of domestic violence harassment from firearm possession and adds domestic violence harassment to prohibitions in background checks.
  • E2SHB 1612 for suicide awareness, suicide-safer homes project, and creating a task force.

Seattle’s ordinance imposing a tax on weapon and ammunition sales has been determined by the Washington Supreme Court to be legal. Also included in the ordinance is a requirement to report stolen weapons. This has good prospect for being brought to the state level.

Update for the Week of February 25, 2018

Legislators were deluged with messages to leadership through LWVWA and other organizations to bring ESB 5992, the Bump Stock Ban, to the floor and it worked! One legislative assistant said she had 1500 messages. 

On Friday, February 23 the Bump Stock Ban passed the House, as did SB 5553 which allows voluntary waivers of gun rights. Whether these would have passed without the shooting in Parkland, Florida and the near-miss in Mukilteo is hard to tell. We look forward to Governor Inslee's signing.  

Update for the Week of February 4, 2018

The Senate Law and Justice Committee moved SB 5444 out of Exec Session by a vote or 4-3, same as the Bump Stock bill. The bill is now in Ways and Means, so please urge your Senator to move this bill.

In the House, though five gun-related bills had a hearing last week, none were scheduled for Executive Session, so we will have to wait for consideration of SB 5444 / HB 1387 after the Senate hopefully passes it.

Update for the Week of January 28, 2018

Gun safety advocates as well as NRA advocates filled two hearing rooms on Thursday, January 25 in the House Judiciary Committee for testimony on HB 2519 for background checks before return of surrendered firearms; HB 2293 to restrict firearms and other dangerous weapons in child care facilities;HB 1387 / SB 5444 requiring enhanced background checks for assault weapons and large capacity magazines; HB 2422 / SB 6049 banning large capacity magazines; and HB 2666 / SB 6146 to allow local governments to regulate firearms No executive session has been scheduled for these bills. 

Big news of the week: SB 5992 passed on the Senate floor by a bipartisan vote or 29-20 on Thursday, January 25. Thanks to all who urged passage of the Trigger Modification aka Bump Stock bill.

Update for the Week of January 21, 2018

Five bills on gun issues were heard in the Senate Law & Justice Committee on January 15 with SB 5992, the Bump Stock ban, passing out of committee and on to Rules Committee. Other bills will be scheduled soon for Executive Session.

Hundreds of gun safety advocates as well as NRA advocates filled two hearing rooms. Expect SB 5992 to reach the senate floor this week.  Please contact your Senator to support SB 5992 by clicking here.

Plan to come to Olympia on Thursday, January 25, for the House Judiciary Committee hearing at 1:30pm on these bills or their House companion bills.

2018 Legislative Session Outlook

With recent horrific events involving firearms including assault-style weapons still fresh in voters’ minds and new legislators willing to press forward on sensible gun laws, some progress is likely despite the short session and legislators’ reluctance to confront what they see as a controversial issue in some districts. We are likely to see a ban on the sale, manufacture, and possession of bump stocks: devices that effectively convert a weapon into an automatic weapon. The pre-filed bill has bipartisan sponsors.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson has vowed continued commitment for a ban on assault-style weapons and a limit on magazine size for as long as it may take to pass. 

We do need to keep in mind that 78% of gun deaths in Washington State are suicides.

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