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agenda for gun control

Photo by Vince Reinhart / Washington D.C.

Fight for tighter gun control continues

Alliance for Gun Responsibility ready for state legislative session

Last year our readers told us that protecting kids from gun violence was one of their top three priorities. They and statewide Alliance for Gun Responsibility saw some big wins come out of the state legislative session in 2023. Among the bills turned into law was, a ban on the “manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, or offer for sale of any assault weapon.”

With Washington State Legislature 2024 right around the corner (it starts Jan. 8), the organization recently released its newest agenda for lawmakers, along with some old facts. In Washington State:

  1. A person is killed with a gun every 14 hours.
  2. More people are killed with guns than die in car accidents.
  3. Nearly half of all suicides are from firearms.
  4. Firearms are the second leading cause of fatal injury for children.
  5. Nearly half of gun owners do not lock up their guns.

Here is what the alliance hopes lawmakers will do to change these statistics:

Require a Permit to Purchase Firearms

Permit-to-purchase systems ensure that background checks occur before a firearm purchase rather than at the point of sale. This life-saving tool has been proven to reduce firearm-related deaths, curb illegal gun trafficking, and help ensure firearms don’t fall into dangerous hands. Additionally, permitting provides an extra layer of safety by involving additional checks in the initial stages of firearm acquisition.

Report Lost and Stolen Firearms

Gun thefts often result in firearms being channeled into an underground market, where they can easily fall into the hands of those intent on causing harm. Washington State must require gun owners to report guns that have been lost or stolen to law enforcement, helping to prevent illegal gun trafficking. This reporting can significantly aid in tracking and retrieving lost or stolen firearms, reducing their availability to prohibited persons.

Dealer Responsibility

We must continue to hold the gun industry accountable by establishing responsible standards of care for firearms dealers operating in Washington State. Making safeguards explicit ensures that dealers are taking reasonable precautions regarding safe storage, preventing straw purchases, and maintaining accurate records. This responsibility is crucial in ensuring that firearms are sold and managed in a manner that prioritizes public safety.

Restricting Bulk Firearm Purchases

Limiting the number of firearms an individual can purchase at a given time is a straightforward approach to prevent gun trafficking. Data shows that multiple firearms sales are a significant indicator of firearms trafficking, and firearms sold in such sales are frequently recovered at crime scenes.

Support Community-Based Violence Intervention

As gun violence continues to impact young people and people of color disproportionately, the critical work of community-based violence intervention programs requires investment at all levels of government. Washington State needs to support the organizations and individuals working with community members most at risk for violence across our state.

Keep Communities Safe

Our state must work to ensure that every community is protected from the deadly epidemic of gun violence. We must apply additional safeguards, expand restrictions into public spaces, and allow the Washington State Patrol to keep confiscated firearms out of communities. Such measures are vital in creating a comprehensive approach to gun safety, enhancing the well-being of all citizens.

Restore Local Authority

Local leaders are best positioned to address their communities’ challenges. They should be empowered to make decisions about gun safety to keep their communities safe and build on the work that happens at the State Legislature by ending local preemption of firearm regulations. Gun violence prevention can—and should—happen at every level of government.

The 2024 session of the Washington State Legislature ends March 7.

Share your thoughts about gun control or other legislature proposed for the  2024 Washington State Legislature. Send a message to your senator or representative by calling 1-800-562-6000 (TTY for Hearing Impaired 800.833.6388). Or, email your lawmaker from the state’s lawmaker contact webpage.

Read more:

An agenda for children in 2024

The case for a WA commission on boy and men

State trust funds for low-income babies?

About the Author

Cheryl Murfin

Cheryl Murfin is managing editor at Seattle's Child. She is also a certified doula, lactation educator for NestingInstinctsSeattle.com and a certified AWA writing workshop facilitator at Compasswriters.com.