Breaking News
More () »

Gun control legislation in Olympia causes debate over how to best prevent gun violence in Washington

Multiple bills this legislative session are aimed at preventing gun violence, but not everyone agrees on what would be effective.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Both Republicans and Democrats in Olympia agree that gun violence is a problem in Washington. But what they do not agree on, is how to fix it.

“You have to give the police the ability to enforce the law on this gang violence,” said Republican Senator Phil Fortunato during a press conference he hosted Wednesday about gun and police legislation.

Senator Fortunato serves areas of Pierce and King counties, He said law enforcement needs to be given more abilities to crack down on gang violence, which he said is increasing.

“Some of this youth crime are actually violent criminals who are sticking up convenience stores,” said Fortunato. “So, being able to give them back that ability to go out and do their job, that’s what we need to do”

Meanwhile, Gov. Jay Inslee and groups like the Alliance for Gun Responsibility are focusing on who has access to guns and what kinds of guns.

"We can always do a better job of increasing public safety and making sure that firearms are in the hands of those who treat them with respect,” said Dylan O’Connor, Director of Government Affairs for the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

One of the bills the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is supporting would require permits to purchase any type of guns. The second measure is to ban guns that they refer to as assault weapons.

"These are your AR-15’s and other weapons that have been the favorites of mass shooters in years past,” said O’Connor.

But people opposed say the restrictions would infringe on law-abiding gun owners, and that the state needs to focus on the criminals, not the weapons citizens are using.

"We go after the drunk driver, we don't go after the vehicle,” said Fortunato. “We don't go after Ford Motor Company or GM. We go after the driver that committed the crime.”

Banning guns, like AR rifles, has been attempted in the past in Olympia, and has failed. But, people in favor of this legislation believe they have more support this year.

Before You Leave, Check This Out