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February 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Update: This post has been updated with reaction from state Rep. Jamie Pedersen about the bill’s prospects.
OLYMPIA — A controversial gun control measure cleared its first major hurdle Tuesday, moving out of the state House Judiciary Committee on a 7-6 vote.
One Republican supported the bill — state Rep. Mike Hope, a Seattle police officer who lives in Lake Stevens.
Tacoma Democrat Steve Kirby voted no.
House Bill 1588, which would require a background check for almost all gun purchases, will now move to the House Rules Committee. Approval there would send it to the House floor.
Prime sponsor Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, said the bill does not yet have the votes to pass. But he said there’s “a decent chance” it will soon.
The bill seeks to address a so-called loophole in current law: Licensed firearm dealers must conduct a background check for sales, but private sellers — at gun shows or anywhere else — do not.
The bill would require a background check for all purchases unless the buyer has a concealed weapon permit.
Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, supports the idea. So do a near-majority of 23 state senators, but leaders of the GOP-controlled Senate say it’s unlikely to get a floor vote in their chamber.
On Tuesday, Republicans in the House Judiciary Committee made clear why they are opposed.
“This bill provides yet one more barrier to the poorest in our society among us to be able to protect themselves,” said state Rep. Matt Shea, of Spokane Valley. “I will not have that on my conscience.”
“I see this as a significant infringement of our Second Amendment rights,” added state Rep. Jay Rodne, R-North Bend.
But Pedersen, the sponsor and committee chairman, noted that background checks are already conducted before many gun purchases, “apparently without violating the amendment. ”
“Putting in place a system that makes sure that there isn’t a clear pathway around those rules makes sense and is likely to reduce some gun violence in our society,” Pedersen said.
Hope, the Republican who provided the decisive vote, acknowledged just before the vote that “politically speaking, this may not be the best thing.”
But it was the right thing to do, he said.
The bill, which drew dozens of supporters and opponents to a contentious hearing last week, is one of several the Legislature is considering in the aftermath of the school shooting in Connecticut in December.
February 13, 2013 at 10:15 AM
OLYMPIA — Amid arguments over the Bible and gun-violence statistics, a state House panel Wednesday morning took up a proposal to eliminate all exceptions to required background checks for firearm sales.
The proposal, House Bill 1588, is a central and controversial part of Democrats’ push to enact new restrictions in the wake of the gruesome school shooting in Connecticut. It would make it a crime for private citizens to sell a firearm at a gun show or anywhere else without conducting a background check; licensed dealers are already required to do so.
“I don’t think this is a bill that will solve all the problems of gun violence in our country,” said Rep. Jamie Pedersen, a Seattle Democrat who sponsored the bill and chairs the House Judiciary Committee. “But this is a small step that we can and I believe we should take that will move us toward a society that will be safer.”
Pedersen announced at the hearing that he and other supporters were slightly scaling back their proposal. Under the amended version, agencies conducting the checks would have to destroy records of the search, and a concealed pistol license could stand in place of a new check.
About a dozen officials and residents testified in favor of the proposal, including Seattle Police Department Deputy Chief Nick Metz and Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle shooting survivor Cheryl Stumbo.
“Please do what you can today,” Stumbo pleaded.
About a dozen gun owners and Second Amendment activists testified against the proposal, arguing the bill goes too far and would be ineffective.
Brian Judy, a representative for the National Rifle Association called it a “huge regulatory scheme.”
“Ninety-nine percent of gun owners are law-abiding citizens, and those are the ones who will be affected by this,” Judy said. “This is a misdirected program. It’s not going to work.”
Dinah Griffey, a gun owner who said she survived a domestic violence attack, told lawmakers that “every time you limit a woman’s right to defend herself, you empower her attacker.”
Among the most contentious moments in the two-hour hearing, GOP state Rep. Matt Shea argued with Seattle pastor Sanford Brown about what the Bible says about gun control, and Vancouver resident Wayde Hager called out state Rep. Mike Hope, a Seattle police officer who is backing the proposal, over statistics about where inmates get guns.
Also considered at the hearing, were House Bill 1612, which would create a registry of gun-crime offenders; House Bill 1147, which would increase the penalty for a second conviction for unlawful possession of a firearms; and House Bill 1676, which would make it a crime for an adult to leave a gun in a place a child can access it.
August 22, 2012 at 6:10 AM
Democrats are falling all over themselves with unbounded enthusiasm. Republican Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri and his off-the-wall crack about rape and pregnancy — he said women’s bodies somehow reject pregnancy in cases of “legitimate rape” — are an irresistible gift for the D’s. And they accept. It took U.S. Sen. Patty Murray about 10 minutes — OK, it was 48 hours — to send out a fund-raising letter on behalf of Akin’s Missouri Senate opponent, Democrat Claire McCaskill.
Here is an excerpt from her -hurry-up–and-send money letter:
“You’ve probably heard about Todd Akin’s offensive comments by now. So let’s stop and think about what it really means, and what we can do about it.
It’s one of the most revolting comments I have heard in a while. On Sunday, Todd Akin — the Republican Senate candidate in Missouri — said pregnancy from rape is “really rare” because, “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Todd Akin does not belong in the U.S. Senate.”
McCaskill is/was considered one of the most endangered Dems in the Senate. She was trailing Akin before his inflammatory comments and is still trailing him in Democratic polling.
Washington’s other senator, Maria Cantwell, up for re-election against an anti-abortion candidate, Michael Baumgartner, also did not waste time trying to raise money off the Akin blunder. She, too, sent out a fund-raising letter on behalf of herself and her Senate colleague Monday. It read in part:
“Akin’s response is so unbelievable, so callous, so insensitive, and just so outrageous, I barely even know where to start.
But here’s one thing we can do right now: stand up and support Claire McCaskill and make sure Todd Akin isn’t elected to the Senate.
These comments were not poorly chosen words from a long-shot candidate, and this isn’t his first time getting involved in this issue. Todd Akin is a Congressman from Missouri, and he recently partnered with GOP Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan to sponsor legislation that would redefine rape to only include “forcible” instances.
And this isn’t the isolated position of some zealot in Missouri. Maria’s opponent right here in Washington state also opposes the right to choose, and in the case of rape would force the victim to have her attacker’s child.”
In fairness, folks, the Politics Northwest blog ran similar comments of outrage from fellow Republicans two days ago. Attorney general Rob McKenna and others came out in unison telling Akin to hit the showers.
What is going on in Spokane? State Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane and running for election, has posted a picture on his Facebook page that has Republicans and Democrats alike telling him to remove it. The photo, as you can see below, is a tad personal. It features Shea campaigning in front of the house of his opponent, Amy Biviano. I checked the page Tuesday and the posting was still there, even though Spokane County Republicans urged him to take it down.
For future reference, Secretary of State Sam Reed is an optimist. Remember, his forecast of 46 percent participation in the earlier-than-imaginable Aug. 7 primary? The final number, says spokesman David Ammons, was 38.5 percent.
Two business-oriented groups are supporting Initiative 1240, the charter school measure.
A lot of time and money has been spent trying to figure out younger voters, those roughly ages 18 to 29. They had something to do with Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. But why are they so glib? Detached? Will they or won’t they turn out in 2012? An opinion piece in the New York Times offers some insight.
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