Washington State House Democrats


“We don’t want WA state to be an arms dealer:” Senn’s HB 2021 Heard in Committee

OLYMPIA—In a bold move to curb the flow of firearms into the wrong hands, Representative Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) presented House Bill 2021 to the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary on January 16th. The bill, which allows the Washington State Patrol to destroy weapons and requires law enforcement agencies to dispose of firearms obtained from gun buyback programs, aims to put an end to Washington State’s role as a “gun dealer.” 

The origins of House Bill 2021 come from a compelling investigation, revealing alarming instances where firearms, initially seized by Washington State Patrol, were subsequently sold by the state, and ended up being used in new crimes and suicides. The report underscores the profound and imminent risk associated with the state’s sale of guns, prompting Senn to take decisive action. 

The proposed legislation allows WSP to destroy guns, a right all other law enforcement agencies in Washington State already have, and that WSP would like. It also requires the destruction of firearms collected in a buyback program, unless the gun is stolen and returned to its rightful owner, needed for a criminal investigation, or an antique or relic. 

Senn’s message is clear: “We don’t want Washington state to be an arms dealer.” 

Past President of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs and Mercer Island Police Chief Ed Holmes supports the bill with a resounding statement: “Police Departments should not take guns in the front door and sell them out the back door. We should not be in the business of selling guns.”  

The battle over whether seized firearms should be sold or destroyed has been ongoing, with some law enforcement agencies defending the practice as a means to fund crime-fighting equipment. However, critics, including Senn, argue that the proven risks far outweigh the financial gains.  

“I would ask them: Did someone choose to turn in their gun just for it to be resold and circulated back into the community? And, what if that gun you sold is used in a crime against one of your officers or constituents? Was that sale worth it given the costs to investigate the case, support the widowed spouse, and pay for medical bills, the 911 call, the legal fees, and the jail costs?” 

Ultimately, Representative Tana Senn’s House Bill 2021 strives to safeguard communities from the unintended consequences of reselling weapons once in the hands of law enforcement.