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Safe gun storage legislation fails in Washington state

Monday, March 13, 2017 10:58
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A bill requiring the safe storage of guns has failed to pass in the Washington state House of Representatives.

The legislation — House Bill 1122, sponsored for the fifth straight year by Democratic Rep. Ruth Kagi — would have made it a crime if a someone stored a firearm where it was found and then used to cause death or injury by a child.

Though the bill ultimately failed, HeraldNet reports it was the first time such legislation had made it out of the House Judiciary Committee, which Kagi viewed as a “huge step forward.”

“It’s further progress,” Kagi said. “We have more public understanding about firearm safety and storage of your guns. We’ll keep working on it.”

Opponents, including Rep. Brian Blake of the Democratic Caucus, complained the bill overreaches by allowing police officers to inspect homes for proper gun storage.

“This issue has a long history,” Blake said. “Had they drafted the bill more broadly about all the dangerous things a child has access to in a home they might have had more success.”

“Maybe this is the line where people look at a piece of legislation and say, ‘Wait a minute, if we start dictating what we get away with in people’s homes, what’s next?’” said David Workman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

While the topic of safe gun storage may be dead for now, another gun control measure recently passed in the House and is now up for consideration in the Senate.

The legislation, House Bill 1501, would require gun dealers to notify law enforcement when they deny prohibited possessors from purchasing firearms. The Washington State Patrol would then keep track of all those denied in a database, which could lead to investigations and prosecutions.

The National Rifle Association did not testify against the measure.

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