Aiming for gun safety in Washington: Today So Far
As officials in Washington state are look ahead to the next legislative session, a handful of gun safety proposals are being prepared for consideration, including an assault weapons ban.
This post originally appeared in KUOW's Today So Far newsletter for December 20, 2022.
Here come the gun control efforts ... again. But this time, proponents think they can make it happen.
At a press event Monday, Attorney General Bob Ferguson noted that this next session will be the seventh time he has pushed for a ban on assault weapons in Washington state. This time, however, he is joined by Gov. Jay Inslee and a slate of Democratic lawmakers. Proponents say they have hope it can pass this time. In fact, it's not just a ban they are pursuing.
Ferguson is also proposing a new law that would establish legal liability for the gun industry — from manufacturers to sellers — should their products be used in a crime. Inslee is further proposing a permit program to purchase a gun. If this all is successfully passed, Washington gun stores will no longer be able to sell assault weapons, and people who want to buy a gun will have to go through some sort of safety course to obtain a license/permit before being able to purchase one. And if a gun is used in a crime or some sort of tragedy, then victims will have a legal avenue to sue manufacturers and potentially stores.
Details on what counts as an "assault weapon" weren't exactly clear at the announcement. But you can safely assume that any firearms generally issued to soldiers (or similar models) will be banned.
Here's what to understand. Washington's gun control laws usually target the purchase of certain items, like high-capacity magazines. In this case, the proposal bans the sale of assault weapons. The firearms will still be legal to own in Washington state. If you own such a weapon now, nobody is coming for your guns. And if you really, really want an assault rifle, you can just go one state over and buy one there. But proponents hope that adding these layers to accessing guns in Washington will create space and time to stop people from harming others.
Everett is the latest city to offer gift cards in exchange for guns. Kirkland has also held a couple of these events over the past few months, and ultimately paid out $18,000. When Everett police held their event last weekend, about 30 cars were lined up at the precinct before it even started. They ran out of gift cards. In the end, they took in 241 guns, and gave out $25,000 in gift cards. Read more here.
One last thing. Just because it needs to be said for those folks, I'm sure not you: It snowed, so be aware. This is one of those winter storms where one area gets 8 inches, and another gets nothing. It's raining where I'm at right now, and Port Angeles is expected to get 11 inches of snow by tomorrow. It seems snow stuck around the areas north of Seattle, and definitely up in the mountains. Chains are required over Snoqualmie and Stevens passes. And if you see a snow plow out there, don't pass it, and don't crowd it. A WSDOT plow was hit by a car this morning, and that just makes it harder on everybody in the end. Even if you're just seeing rain, like me, know that temps are taking a dive tonight, which means a fresh coat of ice on the ground. Finally, if you need a warming shelter, call 211, tell them your zip code, and they'll guide you to the closest option.
AS SEEN ON KUOW
Anna Scott with a "shockingly long" needle for invitro fertilization treatments. Anna writes of her experiences over the past year for the latest edition of Seattle Story Project — Written on the plane the day after learning there was no baby there. (Courtesy of Anna Scott)
DID YOU KNOW?
Elvis Presley was drafted Dec. 20, 1957. A lot of people recall the 1950s "Elvis the pelvis," or the 1960s movie star Elvis, or the Las Vegas Elvis. A lot of folks forget that there were a few years in there that Elvis served in the Army.
Elvis was officially sworn in on March 24, 1958. He was stationed in Friedberg, Germany. That's where he met Pricilla, who would eventually become his wife in 1967. However, in Germany, when they started dating, she was 14, another (awkward) fact that folks seem to forget. Elvis spent two years in the Army, serving in Company D, 32nd Tank Battalion, 3rd Armor Division. He eventually attained the rank of sergeant.
ALSO ON OUR MINDS
This year, to celebrate the ancient Jewish festival of lights, the White House added a menorah to its holiday lineup for the first time. The nine-pronged candelabra was created by the Executive Residence Carpentry Shop out of wood removed from the building in 1950 during a Truman-era renovation, the White House says.