OLYMPIA – About 100 gun rights supporters rallied on the steps of the Capitol building in Olympia on Friday, Jan. 12.
Most held signs and many carried pistols, rifles or knives.
“This is the safest day to be at the capitol,” Senator Phil Fortunato, R-Enumclaw said.
A long list of speakers, mostly Republican, voiced opposition to legislation they say would limit or eliminate their rights to bear arms. They called on lawmakers from both sides of the aisle to halt gun regulation bills.
The Gun Rights Coalition national chair member Rick Halle opened the rally with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Robert Satiacum, member of the Puyallup Tribe, then lead the group in prayer. He emphasized that the right to bear arms unites everyone regardless of party lines, race or ethnicity.
The gun regulation bills being considered this session are numerous, but here’s a rundown of the five most contested:
• SB 5444 and companion bill in the House 1387 would require a state license to own, sell, buy or manufacture an assault weapon with a large capacity magazine.
• SB 5463 and companion bill in the House 1122 would require a firearms seller to sell or give the buyer a locked storage box and mandates that a person who leaves a firearm unlocked or accessible to someone not intended to use the weapon is guilty of community endangerment.
• SB 5992 would ban any trigger modification devices that increase a weapon’s rate of fire like bump stocks.
• SB 6049 and companion bill in the House 2422 would ban high capacity magazines of 10 rounds or more.
• SB 6146 and companion bill in the House 2666 would allow local governments — cities and counties — to determine their own gun regulation laws.
Representative Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, directly addressed the bill potentially banning high capacity magazines.
“Can anyone tell me what this is?” he said as he held up a magazine. “It’s 40 rounds of freedom. Do you know why I need it? It doesn’t matter because it’s mine. I can have it because this is America.”
Groups like Giffords Law Center for Gun Violence support some of this legislation. Laura Cutilletta, legal director of the law center says that bump stocks were designed to skirt regulations on firearms. Banning them, she said, would only make current regulations more accurate, not infringe on Second Amendment rights.
Representative Matt Shea, R-Spokane said that these laws would restrict freedoms of law abiding gun owners and they won’t reduce crime.
“A new law isn’t going to stop bad people,” Shea said. “A ban on a plastic accessory is not going to stop bad people. Registration is not going to stop bad people. Armed good people are going to stop bad people.”
Democratic Representative Brian Blake, D-Raymond, said the bills are misleading. He said himself and other lawmakers are willing to work with gun right activist groups to achieve a compromise.
“We are willing to work with anyone to reduce suicide and violence of any type,” Blake said. “But we are not going to do that on the backs of responsible gun owners.”
The Legislature is expected to hold hearings on all five bills at 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 15 in the Senate Law and Justice committee.
Taylor McAvoy is a reporter with the WNPA Olympia News Bureau.