Ending gun violence in our communities

Dear friends and neighbors,

Over the last few years, we’ve seen rates of gun violence reach record highs here in Washington. This growing public health crisis is now the leading cause of death for children and teens in our state. As both a mom and someone who lost my dear friend Gabe to gun violence, this is deeply personal for me.

Gun violence is preventable, and I won’t stop fighting to keep our communities safe. I’m proud of the historic steps we took this year to end gun violence.

Eliminating Untraceable “Ghost Guns”

“Ghost guns” are untraceable, unserialized firearms that are often sold as kits online and assembled at home. In recent years, they’ve become the weapon of choice for many criminals because they can be obtained through loopholes that exempt weapon ‘components’ from required background checks and they cannot be traced back to an owner when used in a crime. This session we passed my bill HB 1705 to close these loopholes and strengthen our state’s ban on these deadly weapons.

Banning High-Capacity Magazines

Run. Hide. Fight. That’s what we’re all told to do when facing an active shooter. But in most cases, your only chance to make it out alive is by taking advantage of the few precious seconds it takes to reload.

That’s what happened 11 years ago on a sunny morning in Tucson, Arizona when a gunman took the lives of six people, including my friend and colleague Gabe Zimmerman, and seriously wounded 12 others including my former boss and mentor Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. But countless others were saved that day when four brave bystanders were able to tackle the shooter when he stopped to reload. It was those moments that meant the difference between life and death.

This session, we passed SB 5078 to prohibit the manufacture and sale of high-capacity gun magazines. The simple truth is this: the more time it takes to reload, the more lives we will save.

Prohibiting Armed Intimidation in the Democratic Process

In the last few years, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in armed threats of violence at school board meetings, city council hearings, and ballot counting facilities. These places represent the very foundations of civic engagement. This year, we passed HB 1630 to prohibit open carrying firearms in these locations, because everyone should have the opportunity to fully participate in the democratic process free from armed intimidation.

Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention

I successfully advocated for over $8M in funding for gun violence prevention programs at community-based organizations through the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention.

It is an honor to represent you in Olympia. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me anytime if I can be of assistance at liz.berry@leg.wa.gov.

Best wishes,

Liz Berry