Washington State House Democrats


Bills to prevent gun violence, protect access to democracy signed into law

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Today, Gov. Jay Inslee signed into law a pair of bills to ban untraceable, homemade “ghost guns” and restrict guns at city and county council meetings, school board meetings and ballot counting centers. The two bills, HB 1705 and HB 1630, were introduced by state Reps. Liz Berry, D-Seattle, and Tana Senn, D-Mercer Island.

“Gun violence now is the leading cause of death for children and teens in Washington state. As a mother, this is devastating. And as someone who lost my dear friend Gabe to gun violence, this is heartbreaking,” said Berry. “Gun violence is preventable. I believe we have the responsibility to do everything we can to save lives.”

Ghost guns are unregistered guns people can buy online and assemble at home to evade background checks. In addition to banning ghost guns, HB 1705 requires that unfinished frames and receivers, which can easily be converted into working guns, be registered and serialized.

“Everyone deserves to participate in our democracy without fear of armed intimidation,” said Senn. “Guns don’t belong at school board meetings, local council meetings or election-related facilities. This bill helps ensure all Washingtonians have access to democracy, whether as an elected official, a volunteer or a member of the public. Words and debate, not intimidation and violence, is what makes a democracy successful.”

More than 80% of local elected officials have experienced harassment, threats and violence, with incidents getting worse since the pandemic, according to a national survey.

HB 1630 bans the open carry of guns at off-campus school board meetings, local government meetings and election-related sites. It also bans all guns at on-campus school board meetings and ballot counting locations. Rep. April Berg, D-Mill Creek, collaborated with Senn on the legislation.

Inslee also signed SB 5078 from Sen. Marko Liias into law, which bans the sale, manufacture and distribution of magazines with more than 10 rounds.