OLYMPIA, Wash. - Nine months after her daughter was killed in a drive-by shooting in Kent, Lisa Lynch took the issue of preventing gun violence to lawmakers in Olympia.
"I’m here because I need to see changes in our community,” Lynch told KIRO 7 on Tuesday.
Lynch and nearly two dozen others from Seattle Stands4Safety NOW gathered at the state Capitol to lobby lawmakers to make it tougher for guns to get into the wrong hands.
Seattle Stands4Safety NOW was created by Melinda Barnes, who remembers hiding in her Garfield High School classroom when two fellow students were shot, but not killed, in the mid-1990s. Barnes said that memory and the more recent Roseburg, Oregon, shootings inspired her to create Safety NOW. According to Barnes, lawmakers who don’t do something about gun violence “have blood on their hands.”
Renee Hopkins, executive director of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, joined Safety NOW in Olympia.
“Our organization very much believes in the Second Amendment, and we’re in no way trying to encroach on anyone’s constitutional rights,” Hopkins said, but “we believe there are sensible things” the state Legislature can do to lessen gun fatalities in Washington state.
She, Barnes and Lynch all believe lawmakers should support Washington’s existing gun laws, but also increase suicide prevention funding and enact Extreme Risk Protection Orders, which would allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court to temporarily suspend someone’s access to firearms if there’s evidence that person poses a threat to themselves or others.
“We hold our lawmakers accountable,” Barnes said. “They need to do something now.”
Before heading back to her home in South King County, Lynch talked about how her world has been torn apart since her daughter's murder.
“Every day is a struggle,” she said.
Last month, Marty Kime was charged in connection with the baby’s murder , a shooting police say was gang-related.
“Whether the case is gang violence or suicide or whatever,” Lynch told KIRO 7, “it’s too easy to get a gun in Washington.
Safety NOW is focusing its efforts on lawmakers, but Barnes said her organization will be prepared to pursue the issue through the state’s initiative process, if necessary.