The Alliance for Gun Responsibility has set its 2023 legislative agenda, pushing for more big changes in state law in its effort to reduce, or in the best world, stop, gun deaths and injuries in Washington State. Each year, the non-profit advocacy organization, which launched in 2013, leads a statewide coalition of citizens to lobby lawmakers to pass responsible gun legislation. Those efforts are in part responsible for the passage of three critical initiatives since the organization’s inception:
In 2014, Initiative 594 closed a critical loophole in gun purchase background checks.
In 2016, Initiative 1491 created Extreme Risk Protection Orders, allowing law enforcement, family members or others to ask a judge to keep firearms out of the hands of people deemed a danger to themselves or others.
And in 2018, Initiative 1639 raised the age requirement and created an advance background check for purchasing a semi-automatic assault rifle and created safe storage standards.
But just two months after a shooting at Seattle’s Ingraham High School and following a year of gun violence in Washington and across the U.S, the organization says it’s 2023 agenda for the Washington State Legislature “is essential to protect and build on the progress we’ve made to keep our communities safe.
To get involved in the Alliance’s advocacy efforts, go to the organization’s website and click on the Act tab. The group suggests these ways of taking action:
Write a letter to the editor of your local news or niche publications.
Volunteer to make calls to lawmakers and citizens, knock on doors and more.
Testify before lawmakers in Olympia about the personal impact of gun violence.
Attend legislator town hall meetings and share your thoughts.
Join an Alliance chapter team where, among other things, you can participate in in-person meetings to discuss gun violence prevention issues and priorities, man tables at public events, meet elected officials, phone bank or write letters and postcards to elected officials.
According to the organization, the items on the Alliance’s 2023 Legislative Agenda “reflect the urgent need for Washington to continue leading the way in adopting innovative policies to prevent gun violence.”
Here’s what the Alliance for Gun Responsibility will be pushing lawmakers to do this year:
Restrict Access to Assault Weapons: Semi-automatic assault weapons have been used in all five of the deadliest shootings in U.S. history. These weapons were designed for the battlefield—they have no place in our neighborhoods.
Establish Pathways to Justice for Gun Violence Victims: Federal law has shielded the gun industry—dealers and manufacturers—from nearly all accountability for the danger and damages their products cause. Washington can hold gun industry members accountable by ensuring a level playing field for responsible industry members, incentivizing safe and responsible business practices, and establishing a pathway for individuals to seek justice in court for harms caused by the industry.
Require a Permit to Purchase Firearms: Permit to purchase systems require a comprehensive background check, safety training, and a waiting period to purchase a firearm. States with permit-to-purchase laws have lower rates of firearm-related death, lower rates of guns diverted to criminals shortly after retail sale, and lower rates of guns exported to criminals in other states.
Protect Progress and Continue Momentum: Washington must build on recent strides made to prevent gun violence by closing dangerous loopholes, extending purchase requirements to all firearms, continuing to align victim protection processes, and strengthening our Voluntary Waiver program.
Reject Armed Intimidation: The carrying of firearms in public places greatly increases the possibility of deadly violence and produces a chilling effect on daily life. Washington should expand existing safeguards to include prohibitions on concealed carry and apply them to more public spaces to help reduce the risk of political violence by firearm. Additionally, it is crucial that we take steps to intervene against threats of mass violence by removing firearms from dangerous situations.
Restore local authority: Local leaders are best positioned to address the challenges facing their communities. They should be empowered to make decisions about gun safety to keep their communities safe. Gun violence prevention can—and should—happen at every level of government.
Invest in Community-Based Programs and Public Education: The state must invest in community and public education work to supplement and strengthen legislative progress. First, Washington must greatly expand funding for the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention to support on-the-ground work in disproportionately impacted communities. And second, the state must make meaningful investments in public education efforts, including executing public education campaigns around safe storage practices and Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), instituting ERPO training for law enforcement and court personnel, and ensuring schools serve as a source of information for families about the risks of firearms.
Address Inequitable and Biased Policing: Addressing inequitable and biased policing is an essential part of combating gun violence. As such, the Alliance is committed to supporting the individuals and coalition members leading the way in building on recent progress to reduce police violence, increase accountability and transparency, set clear guidelines for law enforcement, and improve access to justice.