WA State Gun Control Bills Win Committee Approval
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

On party line votes, Washington State lawmakers in a key committee approved two gun control measures on Thursday, including a ban on magazines that can hold more than ten rounds.

Anti-gun legislators in Olympia repeatedly brought up the shooting in Seattle on Wednesday that left two people dead and more than a dozen wounded, though none of them explained how their gun bills would have stopped the attack, which was allegedly committed by two young men with lengthy criminal histories.

Marquise Tolbert has 21 arrests, and some of his most recent convictions are felonies…

The second suspect, William Tolliver has 44 arrests some of his most recent cases involve domestic cases.

On May 2019, a woman who has a child with Tolliver filed for a protective order saying Tolliver threatened her with a gun. She says he also threatening to kill her, their child and others.

Tolliver has been charged for other domestic violence cases involving other women not to mention theft and unlawful firearm charges.

The pair have 35 convictions between the two of them, yet they were both able to illegally obtain a firearm even though Washington State has a universal background check law on the books. Do any of the lawmakers backing the magazine ban honestly think that Tolbert and Tolliver would have been impacted in the slightest had this ban been in effect this week?

“This is nothing more than window dressing,” Sen. Jeff Holy, R-Spokane, said. If the state lowers the capacity from 15 rounds to 10, it’s just “biting around the edges” and could mean that 10 people are killed instead of 15, he said.

“We’re not addressing the mental health issues at all,” Holy said, adding that when he was in high school, it was common for students to bring their guns to school if they were going hunting later in the afternoon.

Sen. Patty Kuderer, the bill’s sponsor, said she went to high school in the same era, but times have changed and now students have active shooter drills. Other countries have the same mental health problems, but not the same problems with gun violence, she said.

“We’ve tried it the NRA’s way for a decade. I think we need to try it a different way,” said Kuderer, D-Bellevue. If the law passes but doesn’t produce results “then we can re-evaluate.”

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, asked if Kuderer would be willing to amend the bill to require re-evaluation after a certain period. The bill’s language had been worked out with the state attorney general and was “good to go,” Kuderer replied, but the Legislature regularly re-evaluates laws when it believes they aren’t working.

Have lawmakers re-evaluated the state’s universal background check law? After all, there’ve been studies showing the law isn’t working, but I haven’t seen any news about Sen. Kuderer calling for the law’s repeal.

Colorado instituted its universal background check law and its magazine ban at the same time back in 2013, and in the ensuing years crime has steadily increased by more than 25%. Lawmakers there haven’t “re-evaluated” the law either, and there’s no reason to think that any anti-gun legislator is ever going to vote to remove a gun control law from the state statutes, no matter how big a failure it might be.

The Washington bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration, along with another measure that requires 8 hours of training for anyone applying for a concealed carry license in the state.