Monthly Archives: March 2018

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    State senate committee clears bill to raise age to 21 for semi-automatic rifle purchases

State senate committee clears bill to raise age to 21 for semi-automatic rifle purchases

March 5th, 2018|

KOMO News / March 1, 2018
By Keith Eldridge

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OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill to prevent those under 21 from buying semi-automatic rifles has cleared a key state senate committee. Republicans argued it goes too far in the direction of gun control.

The original bill surfaced in January in the wake of a deadly shooting at a Mukilteo party a few years ago where the alleged shooter legally bought the weapon at age 19. But that bill languished.

Then came Florida. The suspect in Parkland school shooting was under 21 and legally obtained an assault weapon that he is accused of using to gun down students and staff.

“Unfortunately because of the horrible events we saw in Parkland, Florida the national conversation has sparked renewed interest in this,” said bill sponsor Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle.

On Thursday, the state senate Ways and Means committee approved the bill (SB 6620) along party lines to prevent those under 21 from purchasing semi-automatic rifles.

“There are many many rifles that remain available to anyone between the age of 18 and 21, bolt action rifles and shotguns, completely exempted from this bill,” Frockt said.

The bill requires the same enhanced background checks needed for purchasing handguns. ”

The bottom line is that we need to have a full background check on people who are buying an AR-15 or AK-47 type of semi-automatic rifle,” Frockt said.

The bill now goes to the full senate where it’s fate is unknown, even though democrats are in the majority. Republicans and one democrat argue this is just another step in the direction of full gun control.

“Many people want to go to the 2nd Amendment. They think that’s the way it’s going to be solved. I don’t believe that,” said Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach.

They argue more money should be spent on mental health intervention to help people before they decide to shoot up a school or party.

“I think we need a greater emphasis on prevention, mental health, spotting those signs, security first,” said Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-minority leader.

The supporters of the bill say it also has components to provide mobile applications for students to use during lockdowns and increased protections for students to anonymously report suspicious behavior.

“We have to make sure our schools are protected,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond. “We have a whole generation of children who are growing up who are scared to go to school, scared to go to concerts, scared to go to the movie theaters and we have to change that culture.”

The regular session ends March 8th with not much time to get it through the Senate and then the House, but sponsors are hopeful given the climate in the country to do something about school shootings.

Washington lawmakers propose voluntary firearms training for teachers

March 5th, 2018|

Kiro 7 / Feb. 28, 2018
By Essex Porter

OLYMPIA, Wash. – There’s a new push to have the state pay for teachers and other school district employees who volunteer to be armed. Auburn Republican Sen. Phil Fortunato says it would not require teachers to be armed, but it would pay to properly train those who want to carry firearms in school.

Administrators in the rural Toppenish school district are already quietly carrying firearms in school, after undergoing extensive training.

At the state Capitol today, the superintendent remembered how a principal had to confront the Sandy Hook killer, unarmed.

“She went toward him. If she would have had a pistol or even a rifle maybe all those kids and adults would be alive today,” said Toppenish superintendent John Cerna.

Toppenish is a model for Fortunato. He wants the state to pay for training civilians to provide armed protection for schools.

“We are currently protected by armed security people in this building and we protect our children, the most precious thing we have with a sign that says Gun Free Zone,” Fortunato said at a news conference at the state Capitol.

“I think it’s a terrible idea,” said Redmond Democratic Sen. Manka Dhingra. “I’m a parent of kids who go to a public school system. I’m a PTSA member. I have lots of friends who are teachers. I don’t know anyone who’s involved in the schools who think this is a good idea.”

In Georgia today, an armed teacher fired a shot in an empty classroom. No one was hurt.

Fortunato responded, “My question, too, is an active shooter comes into the classroom right now, what are you going to do? Are we going to not employ this program because somebody in Georgia decided to have episode in a classroom?”

Oak Harbor Republican Sen. Barbara Bailey has separate legislation to require mental health professionals in every school.

“It’s the priority, we need to make sure that our students have access to a mental health counselor.”

With Democrats in the Senate majority, it’s not clear how far their legislation will get.