An explosive proposal
Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson want the legislature to consider two new gun control measures in the next legislative session, one that would ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and another that would cause gun manufacturers and dealers to face legal liability if they fail to establish and enforce “reasonable controls” around gun production and sales.
The first would represent the second time the executive branch has called on the legislature to ban the sale — but not possession — of assault weapons. The second piece of legislation would allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers and gun dealers that were prohibited, in some cases, at the federal level by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. However, Congress made room in that law to allow states to pass legislation allowing for such lawsuits.
In a statement, Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) called the proposals “a waste of taxpayers’ time and money” and said that, if passed, courts would overturn them. He reasoned that the laws couldn’t stand in the face of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen, which required a license to carry a concealed weapon in public places.
Washington state has successfully passed gun control legislation in recent years. Voters approved Initiative 1639 in November 2018, which banned people under the age of 21 from buying a semi-automatic assault rifle and made it illegal for anyone to sell such a weapon to a person under that age.
Legislators also banned the sale or creation of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The Attorney General’s Office recently ordered a Lakewood gun dealer to pay $15,000 in fines after selling a too-large magazine to investigators from the Attorney General’s Office.
Temperatures in Seattle dropped to deep lows on the evening of Dec. 21, with a wind chill factor of 5 degrees measured at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Forecasters at the National Weather Service Seattle also identified a likelihood of freezing rain on Dec. 23 and 24.
In response, the King County Regional Homelessness Authority (KCRHA) opened a shelter in Seattle City Hall from 6 p.m. to 7 a.m., at least through Dec. 24. The shelter provided another 70 beds in the overall Severe Weather Response initiated by KCRHA. The severe weather protocols have been engaged four times so far in 2022.
Severe weather has become more common in the area due to climate change, KCRHA wrote in an email, and while extra shelter space is necessary, it doesn’t solve the underlying problem that puts so many people in danger of extreme temperatures.
“We hope this can be a reminder to all our neighbors that housing is a basic human need, and every human deserves a safe place to live,” the announcement reads.
Read more of the Dec. 28, 2022-Jan. 3, 2023 issue.