Gun rights activists rally in opposition to five firearm bills

By TAYLOR MCAVOY | WNPA Olympia News Bureau

OLYMPIA — About 100 gun rights supporters rallied on the steps of the Capitol building in Olympia on Jan. 12. Most held signs and many carried pistols, rifles or knives.

“This is the safest day to be at the Capitol,” state Sen. 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 chairman Rick Halle opened the rally with the Pledge of Allegiance. Robert Satiacum, member of the Puyallup tribe, then led the group in prayer. He said 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 House companion bill 1387 would require a state license to own, sell, buy or manufacture an assault weapon with a large- capacity magazine.

SB 5463 and House companion bill 1122 would require a firearms seller to sell or give the buyer a locked storage box, and would mandate 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 House companion bill 2422 would ban high-capacity magazines of 10 rounds or more.

SB 6146 and House companion bill 2666 would allow cities and counties to determine their own gun regulation laws.

State Rep. Morgan Irwin, R-Enumclaw, 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.

State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane said these laws would restrict freedoms of law-abiding gun owners and would not reduce crime.

“A new law isn’t going to stop bad people,” he 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.”

State Rep. Brian Blake, D-Raymond, said the bills are misleading. He said he 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,” he said. “But we are not going to do that on the backs of responsible gun owners.”

All five bills are scheduled for a hearing beginning at 10 a.m. Jan. 15 before the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

— Taylor McAvoy is a reporter for the WNPA Olympia News Bureau.