Dear friends and neighbors,
Last night, we officially adjourned the 2023 legislative session in Olympia. During the 105-day session, legislators introduced 2,306 bills, and we expect that Governor Inslee will sign roughly 500 of those into law. We made remarkable progress on many fronts, including historic investments in housing, special education, behavioral health, and climate action. We took important steps to protect access to abortion and officially repealed the death penalty from state statute.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sending newsletters focused on each of these topics to detail the work we did to strengthen our state this session. This first newsletter will detail the progress we have made together to reduce gun violence and improve public safety in our communities.
Gun violence prevention
Reducing gun violence in our community and state has been one of my primary objectives in the Legislature since the Sandy Hook shooting more than a decade ago. The voters have approved three major ballot measures since 2014: extending background checks to private sales; authorizing extreme risk protection orders to keep guns away from those who are at risk of hurting themselves or others; and most recently imposing safe storage requirements on all firearms and age restrictions, waiting periods, and safety training requirements on semi-automatic rifles.
Since Democrats regained control of our state Senate in 2018, the Legislature has banned bump stocks; added domestic violence harassment to the list of conditions that prevent people from buying a firearm; adopted a first-in-the-nation measure to let people struggling with mental illness place themselves on a firearms do-not-purchase list; prohibited open carry of firearms at public demonstrations; banned large capacity magazines; restricted ghost guns; and restricted weapons at public meetings.
As our country continues to grapple with an appalling string of mass shootings and homicides and suicides by gun violence, our state Legislature is taking more action in 2023. Here’s a rundown of significant gun safety bills that passed the Legislature this year:
- HB 1240 will prohibit the sale, manufacture, and import of assault weapons in Washington state. We will become the 10th state to ban the sale of these weapons.
- HB 1143 will institute a 10-day waiting period for purchases of all firearms and require comprehensive safety training.
- SB 5078, a bill for which I was the prime sponsor, will require gun manufacturers and dealers to impose reasonable controls to prevent their products from getting into the hands of dangerous individuals.
- SB 5006, another bill for which I was the prime sponsor, will remove barriers to the voluntary waiver of firearm rights program to allow people to surrender their guns when facing a mental health crisis.
- HB 1562 will reduce the risk of death and harm for domestic violence survivors by making it harder for perpetrators of that violence to regain their gun rights.
- SB 5231 will allow police to remove guns immediately from the scene of a domestic violence incident, rather than having to wait for a court date.
- HB 1230 will require school districts to post up-to-date information about secure storage of firearms and ammunition, along with prescription drugs and information about substance use trends and overdose symptoms and response.
I’m proud that our state has recognized that it will take a multi-faceted approach to reduce gun violence, and I look forward to joining Gov. Inslee when he signs the measures into law in the coming days.
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions at email@example.com.