Washington leaders speak out on Las Vegas shooting massacre

Natalie Brand reports

The shooting massacre in Las Vegas is prompting renewed calls by Democrats in Congress, including Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., for a conversation on gun safety.

“Like so many people, I refuse to believe the politics are too tough to come together to enact common sense policies and do whatever we possibly can to keep our children safe – or that we should sit by as innocent Americans suffer rampant gun violence that is unmatched in any other country in the world,” said Murray in a statement. “Many people may read this and say now is not the time to talk about gun safety, but like so many moms and dads in our country, I want to know – if not now, when?”

Republican leaders, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers have offered condolences but there are no indications of discussing specific legislation.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was premature to debate gun control.

“There’s a time and a place for political debate, but now is the time to unite as a country,” Sanders said.

While the debate remains stalled in Washington D.C., state leaders point to specific laws in place in Washington.

I-594, passed in 2014, requires a universal background check for all gun sales, including sales between private citizens.

KING 5 investigation last year revealed the new law blocked 50 gun sales, sparking debate over whether that number proves it’s working effectively enough.

The voter passed initiative is currently in the hands of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after facing a challenge by gun owners who argue the law fails to exempt certain transfers that could put law-abiding owners at risk of prosecution.

Related: More on the suit via Northwest News Network

Separately, Attorney General Bob Ferguson has recently proposed a ban on the sale of assault-style weapons and high capacity magazines in Washington state, following the shooting tragedy in Mukilteo.

However, he acknowledged getting legislation passed in Olympia would be a huge uphill battle. As a result, he’s proposed an alternative bill that would create a new license for anyone carrying assault weapons, similar to a concealed carry permit.

Seattle’s mayoral candidates, weighing in on the topic Monday, both expressed support for Ferguson’s proposal.

“As mayor, I will work closely with Attorney General Bob Ferguson on some of the solutions he’s proposed like banning assault rifles in our state, and I will work with other mayors across the country to make sure we are banding together to push back on the NRA. It’s time,” said Cary Moon.

Like Moon, Durkan advocates exploring options at the local and state level, if gridlock continues in D.C.

“We need to reexamine is there a time where we can have the debate again that assault weapons shouldn’t be in civilian hands, because they are really weapons of death and weapons on war,” said candidate Jenny Durkan.

“I know it’s a difficult issue, it’s one where the second amendment protects guns, and it tends to divide people, but we really need to have those debates, so I think we can lead as a city; we can lead as a state.”

Washington leaders speak out on tragedy

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., speaking on the floor:

“To the families, to the victims of this horrific incident, I want them to know that our thoughts and prayers are with them as our whole nation turns to this situation. My thoughts and prayers also go out to at least one Washington family that I know is one of those who have been impacted and was at this event. We may find out that there are others, but we are thinking and praying for their recovery and I hope that everybody will take time to say some thoughts and prayers for those people who have been impacted by this incident.”

Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash.

"My heart breaks for the families of the victims, the wounded, and all those impacted by last night’s tragic, senseless, and evil event and I continue to pray for those being treated in the hospital," said Reichert. "Targeting innocent individuals enjoying time with family and friends is beyond evil and cowardly. As this tragedy continues to be investigated, we must all be thankful for the incredible bravery and swift action of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, all first responders, as well as local trauma center personnel. We must remain resilient as one nation."

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Governor Jay Inslee

“It's difficult to conceive of the horrific violence suffered in Las Vegas last night. Trudi and I, and all Washingtonians, pray for the hundreds wounded or fighting now for their lives, and grieve for the dozens killed.

“Law enforcement responded with incredible courage, and responders immediately began treating the hundreds of victims. There are already heroic stories emerging of strangers protecting those near them during the shooting.

“We can draw inspiration from those stories as we heal together in the days and weeks to come. This horrific act has shaken us all to our core.”

King County Councilmembers Reagan Dunn, Kathy Lambert, and Pete von Reichbauer 

“As citizens across this nation and world react to the tragedy in Las Vegas, we ask fellow residents of King County to join us in donating financial support to provide relief to the victims and families of this horrific act of violence.” 

© 2017 KING-TV


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