OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington lawmakers in the House will consider banning the sale of high capacity firearm magazines this week.
It’s a bill (SB 5078) that passed the Senate last week.
Shooting survivors and people impacted chose to meet in the Central Neighborhood on Monday, an area hit hard by gun violence.
“We should be saying Happy Valentine’s Day today. Instead, we mourn,” said Emily Cantrell, a survivor of the Las Vegas concert mass shooting. Cantrell is now a board member of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.
Feb. 14, 2022 is the four-year anniversary of the Parkland, Fla. shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
“Only one of my two sisters made it back home that day,” said Robert Schentrup, a Seattle resident. His sister, 16-year-old Carmen Schentrup, was among the 17 people killed.
“These were caused by the actions of a gunman armed with an assault-style rifle outfitted with high capacity magazines,” Schentrup said.
A week after her death, her family found out she was accepted by the University of Washington, one of her top choices for college.
“It really speaks to the bright future she had ahead of her,” Schentrup said.
Now for the first time, a bill has passed the Washington State Senate to restrict high capacity magazines.
SB 5078 prohibits the manufacture, distribution, possession, buying and selling of “large capacity magazines” - or anything that holds more than 10 rounds.
The bill would still need to clear the House.
“We do not have time to wait,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “We are closer than we ‘ve ever been and we expect to cross the finish line this year,” Hopkins said.
People who oppose the bill argue the change would limit how people can protect themselves. Tiffany Teasdale owns Lynnwood Gun and Ammunition.
“If the person, who is the victim, has to change magazines to protect themselves and their family, it’s going to be easier ability to disarm that person which is very dangerous,” Teasdale said.
But people who’ve lost loved ones say the danger is inaction, and believe the bill will save lives.
“When I was in the Las Vegas shooting, the only reason I was able to escape was because the shooter had to stop and reload,” Cantrell said.
Advocates for the bill are sending 123 Valentines to lawmakers – each with a name and a story on it. They are all people killed by gun violence, each with a connection to Washington. 123 is the average number people killed shot and killed in the U.S. daily.
“It’s for this reason that I stand before you today, for years after Parkland, with a glimmer of hope,” Schentrup said.
The House Civil Rights and Judiciary committee will have a public hearing on the Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.
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