Washington voters approved sweeping gun-safety legislation in November, passing Initiative 1639 by a wide margin.
But many state lawmakers still want to do more. With that in mind, the Senate Law & Justice Committee held public hearings on several pieces of firearms-related legislation last week.
The one that inspired some of the most impassioned testimony was Senate Bill 5062, which would ban the sale and ownership of large-capacity magazines, defined as magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.
Exceptions would be made for law enforcement, as well as people who already own large-capacity magazines (as long as they follow the state’s new safe-storage rules). Use of high-capacity magazines would still be allowed at licensed firearms ranges or as part of a sporting event.
Here’s what some of those testifying on the proposal had to say.
“My son missed out on drivers ed. He missed out on homecoming. I never got to see him with his braces off … High-capacity magazines make it easier to shoot more people faster.”
— Ami Strahan, whose son was killed in 2017 at Freeman High School near Spokane
“High-capacity magazines have one purpose: to increase destruction. It is time for the Legislature to take action on this issue.”
— Dr. Mike Van Dyke, a pediatric critical care physician in Spokane
“It’s a woman’s right to own firearms for personal protection. It levels the fight between her and her attackers.”
— Jane Milhans of University Place, who said stopping an attacker may take more than 10 rounds
“If these magazine sizes are standard, if indeed that is true, it’s time that we change our standards to protect Washingtonians.”
— Adam Cornell, Snohomish County prosecuting attorney
“It’s impossible to legislate away evil intent.”
— Daniel Mitchell, owner of a gun store in Vancouver, Washington