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Grandmothers against guns 2024

Photo courtesy Grandmothers Against Gun Violence

Grandmothers to lawmakers: Protect kids from guns

To parents: 'More than laws are needed'

Things are shaping up for the Washington state legislative session, which begins today in Olympia and ends on March 8th. Grandmothers Against Gun Violence (GAGV) will focus on several bills that will be considered during this session. At the same time, we’ll follow the implementation of firearm safety laws passed last year.  

Among the laws passed in 2023 is a limited ban on assault weapon manufacture and sale in Washington state; mandatory training and a 10-day waiting period before firearm purchases; and a process by which victims of firearm violence can sue the manufacturers and distributors of the weapons involved.  

During the 60-day 2024 legislative session, we will be considering bills requiring:

  • the reporting of a lost or stolen weapon; 
  • a limit on the number of firearms a person can purchase at one time
  • guns taken in buy-back programs as well as by law enforcement be destroyed rather than resold

What we all recognize, however, is that despite the significant accomplishments in Washington state to pass good gun safety legislation, the problem of gun violence is not getting better. 

Data shows that there are serious problems in Seattle/King County as well as in other parts of the state. Our focus this year will continue to be on the safe storage of weapons while we also support legislation and funding to support community efforts to reduce gun violence.

GAGV is working to get the safe storage message out through various social media efforts as well as at our monthly “Show Up” rallies at locations throughout Seattle. We have testified in Olympia in support of the requirement that school districts send home, as well as post on the district website, information about the risks of having an unsecured loaded gun anywhere in the house. That bill became law and should be implemented this year. 

On a much more local level, parents and grandparents are encouraged to ask about firearm possession before allowing their children to have a playdate at a friend’s house. Johns Hopkins offers some guidance in this area.

Clearly, more than laws alone are needed to have the impact we would like. Gun sales continue to be strong, challenges from court rulings undermine legislative success, and political turmoil causes concern as we head into a difficult presidential year. 

As parents and grandparents, we can support and vote for candidates who make gun violence prevention a priority. Daily, we can keep our homes safer by assuring that anything dangerous is locked up securely. 

King County provides its “Lock It Up” program in 13 languages. It is an excellent resource for information, as is “Be SMART,” the Moms Demand Action program which provides free speakers on the topic.

Read more:

Fight for tighter gun control continues

An agenda for children in 2024

State trust funds for low-income babies?

The case for a WA commission on boy and men

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Dolan-Waldman, Ed. D.

Jennifer Dolan-Waldman is a retired educator with an Ed.D. in Education Administration from Fordham University and a grandmother of three. She spent her career, working as a teacher, principal, district administrator, and assistant superintendent. In addition, she has volunteered as an English instructor to immigrants. Since her retirement, she has focused on serving her community by advocating for common sense gun reform and efforts to pass Washington state legislation that supports the reduction of gun violence as a member of Grandmothers Against Gun Violence.