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Washington Senate votes to ban open carry of firearms at state Capitol and sanctioned protests because 'these are not normal times'

 Washington state senators passed a bill to ban the open carry of firearms at the state's Capitol building in Olympia on Thursday amid fears of political violence.

The bill also bans the open carry of firearms within 250 feet of a permitted protest anywhere in the state.

'What you need when you come to the Capitol is your voice,' said Democratic state Sen. Patty Kuderer, who sponsored the bill. 'You don’t need a weapon.' 

Fellow Democrat Sam Hunt stated the bill was necessary because of the charged political atmosphere, saying 'these are not normal times.'

'Schools have gun-free zones and … we can do the same thing in very limited instances, which this bill does,' Hunt continued.  

But the bill, which passed along party lines, 28-20, was criticized by state Republicans.

Much of the debate in Washington centered around the right to free speech guaranteed in the First Amendment and the right to bear arms guaranteed in the Second Amendment.

'What this bill does is pit one right against another,' state Sen. Keith Wagoner said. 

Following armed protests at the state Capitol, the Washington senate voted to ban the open carry of firearms at the building, as well as at sanctioned demonstrations across the state

Following armed protests at the state Capitol, the Washington senate voted to ban the open carry of firearms at the building, as well as at sanctioned demonstrations across the state

In December, there were three shootings at demonstrations at the state Capitol, injuring one

In December, there were three shootings at demonstrations at the state Capitol, injuring one

The bill will next go to the Washington state House of Representatives for a vote.

It also covers carrying of firearms near a permitted protest anywhere in the state after a string of clashes.

In December, there were three separate shootings at demonstrations near the state Capitol, one which left a person injured according to the Seattle Times.


The bill was first introduced in the state Senate in the days following the riot at the US Capitol in Washington D.C., which shocked the nation and left five dead. 

Washington is not the first state to ban the open carry of firearms in the wake of the insurrection.

In the immediate days after the insurrection, the Michigan Capitol Commission unanimously banned open carry, allowing only law enforcement and those with concealed-weapon permits to carry a gun into the state capitol.

The debate in the state Senate focused on First Amendment and Second Amendment friction

The debate in the state Senate focused on First Amendment and Second Amendment friction

Ultimately, the bill passed along party lines in favor of the Democrats by a 28-20 tally

Ultimately, the bill passed along party lines in favor of the Democrats by a 28-20 tally

Washington D.C. has strict gun control laws that make carrying a concealed weapon illegal.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who ran a pro-gun campaign, was granted a concealed carry license at the beginning of the month, shortly after she attempted to evade metal detectors installed at the U.S. Capitol.

She previously promised to bring her handgun with her to work during her freshman term.

In February, the US House of Representatives voted to ban firearms from the floor altogether, with fines of $5,000 for first offenses and $10,000 for additional offenses.

Nevertheless, Boebert hinted to TMZ on Thursday that she still carries her firearm to work, responding 'Who says I don't' to a question about whether she continues to carry her concealed weapon.

These bans come as fears of political violence at the U.S. Capitol grow around the State of the Union, which has not been scheduled yet.

Lauren Boebert has drawn criticism for pledges to carry her firearm to the House of Rep. floor

Lauren Boebert has drawn criticism for pledges to carry her firearm to the House of Rep. floor

Lauren Boebert attends Zoom meeting with background gun display
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More and more states are examining gun control laws around their state legislative buildings as a result of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which left five dead

More and more states are examining gun control laws around their state legislative buildings as a result of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, which left five dead

'We know that members of the militia groups that were present on Jan. 6 have stated their desire that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible, with a direct nexus to the State of the Union,' Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman said on Thursday to a House Appropriations subcommittee.

'Based on that information [it's] prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced security posture until we address those issues going forward.'

1 comment:

  1. Ban guns at schools = begins the school mass shootings
    Ban guns at protests = convenient round-up = Nice shootin' Tex!
    It will get uglier.

    ReplyDelete