Tuesday, January 26, 2016
By Evan Smith
State Rep. Ruth Kagi says that she is not optimistic about prospects for a state Child-Access Prevention Act.
The State House Judiciary Committee held a hearing Thursday, January 21, on the Kagi-sponsored Child-Access Prevention bill and four other bills aimed at firearm safety.
The bill would create the crime of child endangerment due to unsafe storage of a firearm when a person stores or leaves the firearm in a place they know or should know is accessible to a child and the child does harm with the unsecured gun.
Judiciary Committee Democrats pointed out before the hearing that the bill would not mandate how a firearm should be stored — just that adults take the responsibility for storing their guns so that young children or troubled teens can’t get easy access to the guns.
Kagi said Saturday that she intends to continue to try to get the votes to get the bill out of committee but that it is not looking promising.
She said that the bill, HB 1747, had a very good hearing.
“The testimony from parents, public health officials, police officers and prosecutors all clearly showed the need for this legislation and the terrible price we are paying for allowing children and youth to access guns in their homes,” Kagi said. “The NRA remains adamantly opposed to the bill, but the hearing was very different than two years ago.
“There were many more citizens there in support of the bill, which I believe reflects growing public support of reasonable gun safety legislation. The public is demanding that the legislature take action to protect our children.”
Democrat Kagi added,
“Bi-partisan support is critical to the bill moving forward, and it does not appear that one Republican is willing to vote for it. It is extraordinarily frustrating to see Washington state unable to pass such common-sense legislation when 28 other states already have child-access prevention laws in place."
Kagi represents the 32nd Legislative District, including Shoreline, part of northwest Seattle, Lynnwood, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas, and parts of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace. She is chairwoman of the House committee on early learning and human services.
Evan Smith can be reached at email@example.com.