In the News: Five gun bills introduced in Washington legislature; What this could mean for gun owners

Five gun bills introduced in Washington legislature; What this could mean for gun owners

KEPR-TV, Pasco

Jan. 20, 2020

Monday was a big day in Olympia for anyone with stake in the gun debate.

A senate committee began debate on five gun bills that could change what people in Washington are allowed to use, buy and own.

The heated discussions went on for about two hours.

“America has a gun violence problem,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer, who is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 6077.

It’s the first bill the committee addressed Monday, and the most controversial.

If passed, this bill would outlaw the manufacturing, possession and sale of a magazine that can hold over 10 rounds.

There are several exemptions to the bill. If the magazine was purchased before the bill goes into effect, you’re still able to own and use it for legal purposes. Another exemption is a person who gets one as inheritance. Law enforcement officers and military service members will also be exempt in most cases.

Several parents who’ve lost kids in mass shootings spoke before Washington lawmakers in support of the ban on high capacity magazines.

“Carmen’s shooter was able to kill 17 students and staff and wound 17 more within a matter of seconds,” said April Schentrup, who lost her daughter in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Ami Strahan’s son was the only person killed in the shooting at Freeman High School in Rockford, Washington.

“The only reason my son was the only loss that day was because the assault rifle jammed,” Ami said. “Assault rifles were designed for fighting wars. They were not designed to be used by a common citizen.”

Their emotional testimony, countered by opponents of the bill like Dan Mitchell owner of Sporting Systems, a tactical store in Vancouver, Washington.

“A passage of this bill would disproportionately punish those who most need standard capacity magazines,” Mitchell said. “Those with injuries, those that are ill, amputees, disabled, the elderly, a mother with a child in her arms.”

Gun rights activists picketing in the Tri-Cities on Saturday agree.

“Because this person murdered all these people, the rest of you people have to give up your guns is horse manure,” said Wayne Flynn.

“The guns aren’t the problem it’s people,” his wife Sharon added. “We need to stand up for what we believe.”

Other bills included in the conversation are Senate Bill 6294 and Senate Bill 6347.

If passed, Senate Bill 6294 would require a training class before getting a concealed carry permit. The required class would include three additional requirements to the firearm safety course created by I-1639.

If passed Senate Bill 6347 would add two years to a concealed carry permit if a gun owner takes the same training class mandated by I-1639. Those in favor of this bill say it incentives training, instead of requiring it. A typical concealed carry permit is good for five years. If a permit-holder takes the class the permit would be good for seven years.

Senate Bill 6406 and Senate Bill 6402 would increase punishments for stealing a firearm, or crimes committed with a stolen firearm. Both had no opponents speak before the committee.

Sen. Lynda Wilson, who is the primary sponsor of the bill, said, “We have focused our attention most recently on the good citizens that own those guns rather than where the focus should be, on the criminal.”

All of the bills are scheduled for executive session in committee for Thursday.

There are two bills that have been introduced in the state legislature that would prohibit the sale and manufacturing of assault rifles. Those are House Bill 1286 and Senate Bill 5340. They are not on the calendar but we can expect lawmakers to get to these sometime soon during this legislative session.