Did you know that data can be manipulated? Did you know that small differences in the way a question is phrased can make it impossible to compile large amounts of meaningful data? Yes, of course you did. I wanted to offer data on school shootings, but what exactly constitutes a school shooting? Shooting by students? persons unconnected to the school? on or off school grounds? with a fatality? injuries? no injuries? accidental? aimed at school from a distance? Mass shooting data is even worse. Shootings by law enforcement ought to be easy, but no. Do military sites count? Coast Guard? Suicide by cop?
So let’s leave data for another day; no one actually argues that we need more gun violence. Instead, let’s talk about some of the current issues. Yesterday, I linked to several organizations that work to reduce gun violence by various means. All of them are concerned about a bill that has passed the House of Representatives, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This would make it legal for someone with a concealed carry permit in one state to go to any other state without meeting that state’s requirements. Since some states have zero requirements for concealed carry, this would basically be the end of any special oversight such as extra background checks or proficiency requirements.
The Senate is not moving on this yet, but don’t relax too soon. In the House it was paired with a “fix” to a background checks law to bring more votes on board, but it might be split into two bills in the Senate. If you’re following any of the gun control groups, you’ll get a notice once it starts moving. Perhaps contact your folks in DC now and once again if it comes up for votes.
On the bright side, a gun control bill actually passed the state Senate with bipartisan support. Hooray! Remember the Las Vegas shooting where a man modified his rifle with a bump stock to make it act like an illegal machine gun? And for a brief moment, even the NRA thought it might withhold objection to outlawing bump stocks? And then it decided that even that tiny restriction on our second amendment rights was a slippery slope that it could not abide? Result: no hopes of national legislation.
But, on January 25, 2018, ESB 5992, “an act relating to trigger modification devices” passed the Washington state Senate by a vote of 29-20. Since there are only 25 Democrats in the Senate, some Republicans are in that 29 vote total. Everyone who supported this deserves a note of thanks. Here’s a link to roll call votes that you can use as needed to find out who supported what: Roll call votes. Just enter the bill number (5992 in this case) for the list.
As yet, the House hasn’t done anything on this issue. What gives with that? Stay tuned, because there’s no law without passing both houses. This is just the tiniest step into the muck of gun control laws, and we can barely make this move. Should we be discouraged? Or thrilled that we can do something, even if it’s baby steps, on the state level? If you’re discouraged, go back to my first “Guns” post and click through the various organizations to look for “victories.” There’s actually a lot going on at the state level. Please let me know if other gun control bills that you know about are at a critical stage and need support.