Washington gun bills move forward on party lines

House bills moved out of committee

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A slate of gun control proposals took a major step forward Friday when the committees in the Washington State House moved them to consideration by the full House.

One of the controls would ban semiautomatic weapons, and if passed, would link Washington to a number of other states that are considering or already passed similar measures.

Democratic supporters spoke about the recent mass shootings in California in supporting these bills. But Republicans said the tool that is used in those tragedies — the gun — should not be to blame, only the person who uses it.

Four bills are being considered by law makers in Olympia and two bills were passed out of the Washington House Civil Rights and Judiciary committe on a party line vote. Those would create a permit-to-purchase program (House Bill 1143), much like the one Oregon voters passed in November (that is currently held up in the courts.)

It would also create a mandatory waiting period from purchase to ownership of a firearm to allow a background check to come through.

The other, requested by Gov. Jay Inslee, is the ban on semiautomatic weapons.

“We have seen the continued incredible tragic acts of violence, of gun violence,” said Washington State Rep. Storm Peterson, a Democrat from Edmonds. “While this bill will not cure that scourge that is happening across the country, it is part of the solution.”

Longview Republican Rep. Jim Walsh disagrees.

“We need to do more to prevent violence in our society but restricting certain types of firearms, restricting the tool that violent minds use to make mayhem isn’t the right solution. The right solution is to try to reach the violent mind,” he said.

Walsh said it didn’t work when the federal government banned these kind of guns in the 1990s.

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