Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, is sponsoring Senate Bill 6686, a companion bill to Rep. Tana Senn’s, D-Mercer Island, House Bill 2925, to ban openly-carried firearms from the statehouse and Washington State’s Capitol grounds in Olympia.
Under current law, Capitol visitors may openly carry guns anywhere on campus except for the House and Senate galleries and committee rooms.
“The state Capitol should be a safe and welcoming space to the public, and a place where the different school groups of young learners that visit every single day can come feel excited about civic engagement,” Das said in a Senate Democrats news release. “A young woman visiting with one of these groups shared with me that seeing guns on campus terrified her because she had experienced violence in the past. I don’t want that for her, or anyone.
“Allowing for open carry does not contribute to a safe, welcoming public atmosphere, and it does not contribute to a safe and welcoming workplace for people employed here.”
Senn also wants a change.
“A couple of weeks ago, about 200 people carrying long guns and tactical gear roamed the state Capitol, without a permit, blocking school groups and intimidating visitors and staff, alike,” Senn said. “This was the last straw for me.”
Both legislators submitted their respective bills last week shortly before the Feb. 7 policy cut-off, a deadline past which bills need to move out of their committee of origin if they’re going to continue to the floor. Though neither bill is going to advance this session, according to the release, both Das and Senn have expressed a commitment to continuing their work on this legislation next year.