April 17, 2013 at 6:48 PM
State House Democrats ‘seething with anger’ after Senate kills gun control bill
OLYMPIA — Democrats fumed Wednesday afternoon after the Republican-run state Senate declined to vote on a bipartisan gun-control bill before a key legislative deadline.
State Rep. Roger Goodman, who sponsored the bill, said he and others were “seething with anger” after hearing the measure would not get a vote before the 5 p.m. cutoff, likely ending its chance this legislative session.
The bill, House Bill 1840, would require some gun owners with a restraining or protective orders against them to temporarily surrender their guns while the order is in effect. Supporters see that as a protection for domestic violence victims, but opponents see it as intrusive and potentially unconstitutional.
The issue was highlighted in a recent New York Times story.
The measure was seen as gun-control advocates’ top priority after a string of high-profile defeats this session, including on a proposal to expand background checks for firearms sales.
The bill passed 61-37 in the House and 5-0 (with one abstention) in the Senate Law & Justice Committee after senators included an amendment to add more judicial oversight.
Once it got to the full Senate, several members expressed concern “that an individual who has not committed a crime would lose their guns,” said Sen. Mike Padden, a Spokane Valley Republican who chairs the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
Padden said he supported the bill, but “I don’t make all these decisions.”
Goodman said that “I guess these senators don’t mind guns remaining in the hands of domestic abusers, and they’re going to have to answer for that.”
Senate Democrats considered making a procedure move to bring the measure to the floor, but decided against it.
The Senate did pass one gun-control bill Wednesday — House Bill 1612, which would require people convicted of a firearms-related felony to register with law enforcement. The database of firearms felons would be maintained by the Washington State Patrol.
The bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Mike Hope of Lake Stevens, passed 41-7. It had passed the House 85-10, but now must go back there for approval of a technical change before going to Gov. Jay Inslee for final approval.
The apparent death of HB 1840 came on the same day an effort in the U.S. Senate to expand background checks failed.
Washington state gun-control advocates described the failures as evidence a gun-control ballot initiative is needed.
“It’s time for the people to lead,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, in an email about the U.S. Senate vote.
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