Seattle's Child

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Senate committee scheduled to vote on gun bills March 28

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence call on parents to speak out

The Senate Law & Justice Committee heard two significant gun control bills on March 23. Advocates for the bills, including Seattle-based Grandmothers Against Gun Violence and the statewide Alliance for Gun Responsibility, are urging parents to take action today by calling lawmakers to share their stance on the bills. 

The bills have already been approved by the state House of Representatives. If the bills are voted PASS when the committee votes on March 28, they will be eligible for a floor vote. If they have successful floor votes, the bills will become law after Gov. Inslee’s signature.

House Bill 1143, authored by Queen Anne resident Rep. Liz Berry, would require people who want to purchase a weapon to pass a background check, take gun safety training, and wait 10 days before actually receiving the weapon. No safety training is currently required in Washington state and there is no mandatory waiting period.

Stiff opposition

The bill has met stiff opposition from gun rights advocates. Opponents of the bill largely focused on the bill’s required waiting period among other aspects of the proposed law. The Senate Law & Justice Committee will hear the bill tomorrow at 8 a.m. 

“A ten-day waiting period is a critical addition to Washington gun laws to save lives,” says bill advocate Snohomish grandmother Jane Weiss, whose niece died by gunfire as she walked down the street near her college. 

Weiss adds: “It’s a commonsense action to reduce the significant number of gun deaths attributed to suicide [when] 85% of firearm attempted suicides are successful the first time.” 

The gun control second bill, sponsored by Rep. Strom Peterson from Snohomish County, bans the manufacture and sale of assault weapons. Lawmakers have attempted to ban assault weapons for years. House Bill 1240 has moved further in the legislative process than any previous attempt to get a ban passed. 

A popular firearm

Assault weapons — which have been used in many mass shootings — can kill and injure many people in seconds. Assault weapons are the most popular firearms sold in the U.S. and opponents to the ban say that they need this lighter, easily adaptable weapon for self-protection. Assault weapons are the most popular firearms sold in the U.S.

Supporters of these two bills will gather in Olympia Thursday, March 23 at 7:30 a.m. to speak to legislators at the 8:00 hearing. All concerned about ending gun violence are encouraged to be there to support the legislators who face significant challenges in getting both bills out of committee.

Parents are an especially powerful group that politicians need to hear from on this issue. Speaking up, calling, and emailing are all ways to express parental concerns for their children’s safety. 

Take action

To contact members of the Senate Law & Justice Committee, call committee member numbers listed on the Legislature website. Or, send messages to lawmakers through The Alliance for Gun Responsibility online sign up form.

More at Seattle’s Child:

“RISEing up: A mother and grandmother talk about ending gun violence”

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.