Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, there have been a number of legislators who have introduced legislation in the Washington House of Representatives as a response. There are those who want to see stricter gun control laws. And on the other side, we're seeing bills that would fight to protect the constitutional right to keep and bear arms.
It's been quite a polarizing issue with no decisive way of knowing how this issue will play out in the Legislature. Certainly, all of us want to make sure our children are safe when they go to school. We also want to make sure our families are safe in their homes, at their workplaces and in their communities.
We are all concerned as evidenced by the fact that my office is getting more calls on this issue than any other since the session began on Jan. 14. Many people are asking, how do we stay safe? How do we protect our children? How do we preserve our second amendment rights as law-abiding citizens?
With more laws?
I want to bring another side to this debate that I don't think people are talking about. Yet, I think it is really important.
Historically, as we look back to the various shooting tragedies that have happened across the United States, there's been one thing each of those incidents have in common. In every circumstance in which the perpetrator prepared to do harm, that person broke the law, possibly numerous times, BEFORE pointing the gun at the intended targets and pulling the trigger.
With that in mind, I'm asking the question no one else is asking: What law or laws could have effectively stopped the perpetrator when he/she ignored and broke the other laws and proceeded to commit the tragedy?
And here's another question we need to be asking: When the person with the gun has broken those laws (even new ones that might be enacted) and is in a place of business, a classroom or a public location pointing the weapon at people with his/her finger on the trigger, NOW WHAT?
If it was your child in that line of fire, what would you want to be done at that very moment?
I'm not just asking the question rhetorically. I really want to know what you think.
It's time we begin seriously discussing this issue. Not from the point of emotion or polarizing positions, but from the standpoint of reality. Reality tells me that we can pass many laws in the state as a reaction to this horrible tragedy. But at the end of the day, the perpetrator heading to a destination to commit evil has already ignored the laws. More laws on the books will likely be ignored by the gunman as well.
So how do we respond once the perpetrator has reached the intended destination? How can we be better prepared? How can we protect ourselves and our children? Are more gun control laws the answer?
Please let me know your answers to these questions I've posed. In order to respond, do not hit “REPLY,” because it will not reach my e-mail. Instead, send me a new e-mail with your thoughts on this important issue. My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call my office at (360) 786-7967.
I want to hear from you!
What's going on this week in the House of Representatives?
Here's a schedule of committee hearings:
WEDNESDAY, JAN. 30
8 a.m. – Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee – House Hearing Room D
- Hunting Licenses for Veterans with Disabilities – Public Hearing on House Bill 1192
- Ensuring Hunter Safety – Public Hearing on House Bill 1199
- WDFW License Suspensions – Public Hearing on House Bill 1218
8 a.m. – Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs – House Hearing Room E
- Forest Practices Applications – Public Hearing on House Bill 1223
- Addressing Prevailing Wage Filings – Public Hearing on House Bill 1254
8 a.m. – Labor and Workforce Development Committee – House Hearing Room D
- Exempting School Construction from Prevailing Wage Rules – Public Hearing on House Bill 1255
1:30 p.m. – Environment Committee – House Hearing Room C
- Prioritizing State Investments in Stormwater Control – Public Hearing on House Bill 1235
1:30 p.m. – Government Operations and Elections Committee – House Hearing Room E
- Creating Distinct Legislative Districts – Public Hearing on House Bill 1121
THURSDAY, JAN. 31
8 a.m. – Health Care and Wellness Committee – House Hearing Room B
- Abortion Health Insurance Mandate – Public Hearing on House Bill 1044
8 a.m. – Government Accountability and Oversight Committee – House Hearing Room E
- Gambling Commission Issues – Public Hearing on House Bill 1295
8 a.m. – Education Committee – House Hearing Room A
- Lowering Compulsory School Age – Public Hearing on HB 1283
10 a.m. – Government Operations and Elections Committee – House Hearing Room E
- Regulatory Fairness Act – Public Hearing House Bill 1162
1:30 p.m. – Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee – House Hearing Room D
- Under-Producing Ag Land – Public Hearing on House Bill 1188
3:30 p.m. – Transportation Committee – House Hearing Room B
- Ferry Vessel Replacement – Public Hearing on House Bill 1129
FRIDAY, FEB. 1
8 a.m. – Finance Committee – House Hearing Room A
- Joint Task Force on Education Funding's Recommendations Review – Work Session
1:30 p.m. – Early Learning and Human Services Committee – House Hearing Room C
- Substance Abuse Assessment & Treatment of TANF/Welfare Recipients – Work Session
In your service,