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New Washington gun laws set to take effect as federal measures debated

Senators recently released a bipartisan package of proposals concerning mental health, school safety and gun-related measures.

SEATTLE — Lawmakers, including Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), currently are considering a package of proposals concerning mental health, school safety and gun-related measures. It comes as new laws are set to go into effect in Washington.

Specifically, Murray lauded a measure that would support efforts to institute red flag laws, a proposal to close the "boyfriend loophole," and adding an extra check for people buying guns between ages 18 and 21.

"I'm so heartbroken by what happened not just in Uvalde, but in Buffalo and schools in our state, in community centers, across the board, and what is heartening to me right now is this is the first time I've felt the Senate is actually going to step up and take action," Murray said. "Is it everything I want? Of course it's not, I just believe we have to do something to save some lives."

As lawmakers in Washington D.C. weigh options, Washington state is preparing for several gun-related laws to take effect, including one that bans the purchase of high-capacity magazines.

"When the magazine ban got announced we immediately jumped up 50% and it's been solid just day after day after day for the last four months," said Wade Gaughran, owner of Wade's Eastside Guns and Shooting Range in Bellevue. "It's hard to say this is because of this or this is because of that but I'm sure the mag ban is a big thing for Washingtonians right now."

Gaughran does not believe the law will reduce crime. He says his shop does not condone illegal activity, but he expects people may still try to purchase those magazines elsewhere. 

"It's a minor law a major law already covers," Gaughran said. "Murder is against the law, armed robbery is against the law, there's plenty of laws that haven't made a dent in our current wave of crime, so I just don't see the guy on the way to the bank robbery thinking, 'you know what, I need to switch out my magazines from 15 to 10.'"

Murray believes while statewide laws are a start, she would like to see more action at a national level.

"Washington state is at the head of the curve, but I remind you that somebody can go across the border into Idaho and purchase an assault weapon, so we will be as safe as the laws of the rest of the nation," Murray said. "So yes, it has made a difference in our state but it has to be nationwide."

Murray does plan to support the bipartisan measures presented, though she hopes to work on other changes as well.

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