The Washington chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety, released the following statement after Senate Law & Justice Committee passed HB 1630, legislation that would prohibit firearms at public meetings, including those run by a school board, as well as at voting centers and other offices related to the electoral process. The committee also passed HB 1705, legislation to prohibit ghost guns – untraceable, unserialized firearms available for purchase online without a background check.
“We have already seen the harm that ghost guns and armed intimidation can do to our communities. They have brought nothing but violence and fear,” said Suzanne Romain, a volunteer with the Washington chapter of Moms Demand Action. “These bills are a critical step to protecting the sanctity of Washington’s democratic process – and we’re thankful the legislature sees the urgency of this legislation. With two weeks left of session, we’re eager to see these bills continue to advance to Governor Inslee’s desk.”
HB 1630 will help prohibit firearms in sensitive places like voting centers. Over the past year, the country has seen armed extremists, such as the Proud Boys, show up to local school board meetings and intimidate local community members. In 2021, Everytown Support Fund, in partnership with the Armed Conflict and Event Data Project (ACLED), released a report showing that between January 2020 and November 2021, armed demonstrations are more than six times as likely to turn violent or destructive compared to unarmed demonstrations. In that time period, there were at least 610 armed demonstrations across 44 states, with nearly 97% of all armed demonstrations taking place in public spaces, and over 100 armed demonstrations reported at capitol buildings and vote counting facilities.
Ghost guns are one of the fastest-growing gun safety problems facing our country. Ghost guns are impossible to trace, and across the country, law enforcement officers are recovering increasing numbers of homemade, unserialized guns from people who are legally prohibited from having guns. Nearly 2,500 ghost guns were connected to criminal activity in 102 federal cases over the past decade. ATF officials recently estimated that approximately 10,000 ghost guns were recovered across the U.S. in 2019.
Statistics about gun violence in Washington are available here, and Everytown’s interactive gun law platform — which shows the direct correlation between the strength of a state’s gun laws and its rate of gun deaths — is available here. If you have questions, or to request an interview with a volunteer from Washington Moms Demand Action please don’t hesitate to reach out.