Monday, February 26, 2024

Washington Representative Commits to Advancing Permit-to-Purchase Gun Law in 2025 Despite Legislative Challenges


(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Several gun control initiatives in the Washington Legislature have recently stalled, but Representative Liz Berry, a Seattle Democrat and prominent advocate for gun control, has announced her determination to introduce a permit-to-purchase requirement in 2025.

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“This is the next significant step we aim to take, and I am committed to making it happen next year,” Berry expressed to the Seattle Times.

This announcement serves as a caution to gun rights supporters in Washington who have successfully opposed various proposals, such as SB 5963 concerning gun insurance, HB 1902 on purchase permits, SB 2054 limiting gun purchases to one per month, and HB 1178 aiming to repeal state preemption — a measure highly sought after by Seattle’s political leaders and Mayor Bruce Harrell.

Despite the setback of these measures, a few restrictive gun control bills are still under consideration, including:

House Bill 2118, which mandates enhanced security measures and liability insurance for firearms dealers, potentially threatening the viability of small businesses.
Senate Bill 5444, seeking to ban firearms in specific public spaces like libraries and transit facilities, with an exception for concealed pistol license holders.
House Bill 1903, requiring the reporting of lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours.

Berry’s advocacy for these measures reflects a Democratic push for more stringent gun laws, a stance she believes is supported by the public, though opinions vary significantly across the state.

Representative Jim Walsh, a key figure on the House Judiciary Committee, noted that while the aforementioned bills appear stalled, nothing is definitive until the legislative session concludes.

Recent legislative actions, such as implementing a 10-day waiting period for all gun purchases, have been criticized by gun rights groups as overly restrictive. Public testimony against the permit-to-purchase bill highlighted a similar Oregon measure deemed unconstitutional, underscoring the legal and constitutional challenges facing such initiatives.

The push for these gun control measures follows a series of restrictions enacted in response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, including enhanced background checks, red flag laws, and bans on certain firearms and magazines.

Despite these efforts, Washington has seen a notable increase in homicides, suggesting that these laws have not effectively addressed violence. Gun rights advocates argue that the focus should be on enforcing current laws and imposing stricter penalties for criminal activities, citing historical opposition from liberals to initiatives aimed at increasing penalties for armed crimes.


As the legislative session approaches its March 7 conclusion, Representative Berry’s pledge to reintroduce gun control proposals in 2025 signals an ongoing debate over gun rights and public safety in Washington.

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