OLYMPIA – The Washington State chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America announced their 2015 Gun Sense legislative priorities to help prevent gun violence today as part of the group’s day of action at the State Capitol. Moms’ and survivors’ three-pronged legislative priority agenda includes Extreme Risk Protective Orders legislation, Child Access Prevention legislation and blocking any efforts to weaken I-594, Washington’s new law to require background checks on all gun sales—and which passed with nearly 60 percent of the popular vote last November. In advance of the first hearing on HB 1857, the Extreme Risk Protective Orders legislation, Moms Demand Action volunteers also delivered more than 10,850 signed petitions—and heart-shaped Valentine’s Day cookies—to urge legislators to prevent more “broken hearts” by helping save lives from gun violence.
“Moms are in Olympia with a message: parents and concerned Washington citizens care about preventing gun violence in our state,” said Leah Bernstein, Washington Chapter Leader of Moms Demand Action. “We’re here to urge our legislators to support a three-point plan to help prevent gun violence—and that includes blocking efforts to weaken I-594, Washington’s background check law that is already keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
“When my 19 year-old niece Veronika was killed by a mentally disturbed young man in Isla Vista, California, last year, it changed my family’s life forever,” said Jane Weiss from Mill Creek, whose 19 year-old niece Veronika was murdered in the tragedy in Isla Vista, California. “I’m here today with Moms Demand Action to support their legislative priorities to help prevent gun violence—including the Extreme Risk Protective Orders legislation, which would give family members and law enforcement the ability to ask a judge to temporarily remove guns from someone who poses a severe risk to themselves or others. Legislation like this could have saved my niece’s life – that’s why I fought for California to pass a similar law, and why I am here today in my home state to call on Washington’s political leaders to support this common-sense public safety measure.”
“In Washington, guns taken from the home or accessed by children have been at the heart of some of the most tragic gun violence incidents in our state, including the recent shooting of a young boy in Lake Stevens and the Marysville-Pilchuck High School shooting—among many others,” said Liz Hjelmseth, a gun violence survivor and volunteer with the Washington Chapter of Moms Demand Action. “As a survivor of gun violence, I stand with Moms Demand Action in support of their 2015 legislative priorities—including Child Access Prevention legislation, which will help prevent unintentional child shootings. I urge our legislators to listen to Washington moms and help keep our kids and communities safe from gun violence.”
Specifics on Moms’ three-pronged legislative priority plan are below:
1) Extreme Risk Protective Orders (HB 1857/SB 5727)
• Extreme Risk Protective Orders help prevent tragedies by empowering the people best equipped to detect when someone is experiencing a dangerous crisis: their immediate family members and law enforcement—individuals who are often the first to see warning signs.
• Extreme Risk Protective Orders allow family members and law enforcement to ask a judge to temporarily suspend a person’s access to firearms if they have evidence the person poses a serious threat to themselves or others.
2) Child Access Prevention (HB 1747 and SB 5789)
• Guns accessed by children have been at the heart of some of the most tragic gun violence incidents in Washington— but the majority of these events are preventable with responsible gun storage. Child Access Prevention legislation will hold adults responsible for keeping guns out of the hands of children, and allow prosecutors to bring criminal charges when a negligently stored firearm is used by a child to harm themselves or others.
• Child Access Prevention Laws can reduce the number of children killed or injured in unintentional shootings, and substantially reduce child gun suicides. Nearly seventy percent of unintentional child shootings could have been prevented with responsible gun storage.
3) Don’t Weaken I-594
• Washington voters approved I-594 by a 20-point margin, and lawmakers should respect the will of the people by rejecting any and all efforts to weaken a law that is working smoothly for gun owners and sellers and is already keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Just days after being implemented, the new law blocked a prohibited purchaser who had a warrant out for his arrest from buying a rifle at a Spokane gun show.