The Washington Legislature convenes next Monday in Olympia and they have a perfect opportunity to act swiftly and decisively to reduce gun violence in our state by enacting improved gun safety laws. Whether they will or not remains to be seen.
Shortly after the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, I spelled out the immediate steps that I believe should be taken by the Legislature. Here’s a quick summary—
- A ban on all assault weapons as existed nationwide until 2004.
- A ban on large capacity ammunition magazines that fuel semi-automatic weapons.
- Universal background checks, which must include closing the gun show loophole.
- Trigger locks and safe storage requirements.
- Micro-stamping technology in all firearms sold, purchased or delivered in the state to improve the capabilities of police in tracing fired bullets.
The evidence is clear. States with reasonable gun safety regulations have fewer gun deaths. Unfortunately, Washington ranks low on the list of states with strong gun safety laws. The Legislature can correct these shortcomings and quickly.
I will be joining the Stand Up Washington march this Sunday afternoon organized by numerous community groups as a collective statement against gun violence.
Local officials should not just sit back and wait for elected officials in Olympia to act. We must actively encourage them to enact reasonable gun safety regulations that will protect communities across Washington State.(Over the weekend, the Seattle Times carried two thoughtful op-ed pieces about gun violence. The first, written by the father of the individual who killed six people (including himself) in Seattle last year, calls for earlier interventions for those with mental illness. The second compares the U.S. to Canada and Sweden in terms of gun ownership and gun safety regulations.)