Senate Democrats take early aim at gun legislation

By Alex Visser, WNPA Olympia News Bureau | Jan 10, 2018
Photo by: Nicholas Johnson Paul Kramer, the father of Will Kramer.

With a newfound majority in the Washington Senate, state Democrats have found an early target in firearms regulation as the 2018 legislative session gets set to begin.

Senate Bill 6049 would regulate the ownership and manufacturing of large capacity magazines and make them all but illegal in most cases. “Large capacity” refers to any magazine that can hold more than 10 rounds.

The bill was requested by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who cited a motivation in mass shootings across the country.

This is including the 2016 shooting at a house party in Mukilteo in which Kamiak High grads Anna Bui, Jake Long and Jordan Ebner were shot and killed, and Will Kramer was injured.

Allen Ivanov, the shooter who was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole, and also a Kamiak graduate, used an AR-15-style rifle in the 2016 shooting.

In his January 2017 sentencing, Ivanov said, “It was the ease of acquiring a gun that enabled me to act on my emotions.”

Ivanov also said he hoped for a change in gun laws so mistakes like his won’t be made by others.

“I know for a fact that even in the feverish state that I was in, I never could have done this with my hands,” Ivanov said. “I wish they never sold me a firearm, and I wish I was never legally allowed to buy one. I hope there will be a continuous effort to change the gun laws so that others cannot make such a tragic mistake.”

Paul Kramer, Will Kramer’s father, believes Senate Bill 6049 “is a very reasonable step towards making Washington state a safer place to live.”

Kramer believes the bill is a quick and easy way to prevent gun violence in Washington, and it will save lives.

“Prohibiting the sale and ownership of large capacity magazines will save lives,” Kramer said. “Large capacity magazines make it too easy for a madman to murder mass numbers of people rapidly. While this is only one small piece of the overall changes needed to create a less violent culture here in America, it is a step in the right direction.”

The bill was introduced by Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, and is sponsored by three other Democratic senators: Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond; Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma; and Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle.

Currently, eight states and the District of Columbia have introduced some kind of restriction on large capacity magazines. In Colorado and New Jersey, the limit is 15 rounds, and in Hawaii the ban pertains only to handguns.

Such magazines were previously banned on a federal level under the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which also banned semi-automatic weapons before expiring in 2004.

Pedersen said he feels confident the bill will pass, and that the key is to receive support from rural Democrats and more moderate Republicans. The senator added that he has received at least some vocal support from both parties.

“We’ve obviously had a series of high-profile shootings across the country,” Pedersen said. “This is a small step to take.”

But Dave Workman, senior editor of TheGunMag, said he doesn’t find such a ban necessary, arguing that large capacity magazines haven’t proven to be a problem. Workman said he expects a flurry of opposition from gun owners across the state, many of whom own firearms that would be affected by the ban.

Workman’s sentiments were echoed by Joe Waldron, legislative chairman of the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association, who said his organization is firmly against the potential legislation.

Waldron said the bill emphasizes the role of guns, while legislators should be taking a look at potential societal problems that lead to mass shootings.

The legislative chairman pointed out that many pistols carry large capacity magazines, but the bill doesn’t differentiate between handguns and the assault weapons Waldron believes the bill is targeting.

Waldron called the bill “meaningless” and “unenforceable,” and said it would force Washington citizens to give up private property that is arguably protected by the Second Amendment.

“The bottom line is we oppose the bill because it’s a waste of time,” Waldron said. “They focus on the inanimate object; what they need to be focusing on is the behavior.”

The Senate plans to hear SB 6049 on Jan. 15.

 

Mukilteo Beacon editor Brandon Gustafson contributed to this story

 

 

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