Gun owners, packing heat and concerns, rallied on the steps of the Washington state Capitol in Olympia Friday morning.
Around 100 people, many with weapons on their hips or slung over their shoulder, listened to speeches from lawmakers and gun advocates about fears over proposed gun legislation.
During the speeches, Shana Veillette from Puyallup helped fellow gun owners identify who represents them in Olympia. She’s testified against gun-related bills before but said this year is especially concerning.
“Because the Democratic party is running our state now,” said Veillette who said lawmakers are threatening her right to bear arms.
“We have freedoms,” said Veillette, “Our forefathers put that in place for a reason.”
Monday morning state senators will hear public testimony on five bills regarding guns.
One proposal would eliminate “bump stocks” and other trigger modifications, another would limit the number of rounds in magazines.
Related: Inslee wants ban on bump stocks
Senator Jaime Pedersen, D-Seattle, expected both of those bills to be ready for the governor’s signature by the end of the month.
Pedersen said those bills have bipartisan support. He is also sponsoring a bill that would hold gun owners liable if a gun is not secured around children or the mentally ill.
He did not expect a proposed ban on assault weapons to get a hearing in the Senate, an issue of concern raised at the rally.
Pedersen said gun laws will likely pass this session, but not only because Democrats hold the power. He said voters have recently given lawmakers “marching orders” to pass new gun laws, noting that voters recently passed two initiatives dealing with guns.
“How do we balance that very real, constitutional right with a public safety crisis that we have with gun violence,” said Pedersen.