Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Initiative 594 passed with 59.2 percent of the statewide vote last November. The initiative, which went into effect December 4, requires background checks for all gun sales and transfers. This means any time a gun is sold or exchanges hands, with a few exceptions, the parties involved must go to a licensed firearm dealer to have a background check. I-594 also doubled the waiting time on handgun sales from five to 10 days.
While popular overall, many areas of the state were not as supportive of the initiative. Only 42.5 percent of voters supported I-594 in the 39th District. I was one of the people who voted against it.
I understand why the concept may sound good, but in practical application I-594 is presenting a number of problems to law-abiding gun owners and businesses in our state. For example, it prevents:
- a victim of domestic violence from timely obtaining a firearm from someone to defend against an imminent threat of harm;
- armed private security guards from doing their jobs protecting persons and property because they are issued weapons during that job;
- veterans who have been honorably discharged from the military from using issued firearms with honor guards for funerals or flag ceremonies;
- active duty military personnel from giving their firearms to family or friends to use while at a private shooting range or to care for their firearms while they are away on training or deployed for duty;
- firearm safety instructors and firearm trainers from sharing firearms on a shooting range because it is considered a transfer requiring a check; and
- certain businesses from making safety repairs to firearms or firearm accessories, such as holsters, because it is considered a transfer to receive the firearm they were asked to fix or make accessories for.
As you might expect, there have been bills introduced this year that would repeal I-594, (House Bill 1245), fix small parts of it (House Bill 1533) and even go beyond (House Bill 1747) what the initiative established.
There has also been a bipartisan bill introduced, which I am co-sponsor of, that would comprehensively fix the problems with I-594 explained above. House Bill 2164 would only apply to persons not otherwise disqualified from possessing a firearm. In other words, it empowers those who have followed the law. The legislation was referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Gun issues are often emotional for people and it's easy to understand why. There are those who believe strongly in the 2nd Amendment and fear their constitutional rights are being eroded. And there are others who have been personally affected by a tragedy involving gun violence. I happen to fall into both of these categories.
If you want to share your opinions on House Bill 2164, or any bill for that matter, simply go to this website, enter the bill number, and click on the “Comment on this bill” icon. This will allow you to say if you support, oppose or are neutral on legislation, and provide you an opportunity to share your comments. This information will be shared with your state lawmakers.
I would like to know your views on the I-594 issue and House Bill 2164. Please consider taking this short survey. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Sultan science teacher honored by national group
Karrisa Kelley, who teaches chemistry and biology at Sultan High School, is being honored by the National Science Teacher Association for her work in the classroom. She will attend the organization's annual conference in Chicago this month. Karrisa is a great example of a teacher providing creative and hands-on learning experiences for students. Learn more in this Everett Herald article.
Honoring those who assisted in the Oso landslide rescue operations
I had an opportunity to join my 39th District seatmates in a ceremony at the Capitol for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel who assisted in the Oso landslide rescue operations. It was a special and emotional event. You can watch it here (my remarks are at the 12:40 mark).
As the anniversary of the Oso landslide approaches, I will be sharing more information about what we will be doing in the Legislature to honor the victims and communities.
In your service,