Your turn, Congress: Washington state leads on firearm safety policies
Tuesday’s [May 24] violent tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, once again highlights the overwhelming need for policies to reduce gun violence. As the Associated Press reports, it also highlights how state leaders in Washington stand in contrast to Congress and Republican leaders.
During the past several years, Washington voters and the Legislature have passed policies to reduce and prevent gun violence related to domestic violence, suicide, community violence and mass shootings. Policies include universal background checks, an increase in the purchasing age for semi-automatic weapons, liability for people who don’t secure their firearms, and extreme risk protection orders – sometimes called “red flag laws.”
In the most recent legislative session, Gov. Jay Inslee signed bills to ban high-capacity magazines, untraceable ghost guns, and open carrying of firearms in certain public settings such local government meetings and election-related facilities.
“We must strengthen laws around gun violence to save lives. The public and our children are paying the price of the gun lobby’s cynical interests. ENOUGH,” Inslee said on Tuesday. “Want to show you care about kids and our communities? A few ideas: universal background checks, ban on high capacity magazines, ghost guns and bump stocks, and unsafe storage liability. WA has done this, and more. Your turn, Congress.”
More work remains to prevent gun violence in Washington state. The state’s recently-created Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention promotes a data-driven approach to policy-making and investments. The office partners closely with communities, public health leaders, law enforcement and others to identify strategies for different communities and different types of gun violence.