Photo by Leona Vaughn / WNPA News Service
                                Washington residents at a Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing on a proposed ban on high capacity gun magazines this week. Many wore orange in support of gun safety.

Photo by Leona Vaughn / WNPA News Service Washington residents at a Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing on a proposed ban on high capacity gun magazines this week. Many wore orange in support of gun safety.

Lawmakers move to ban high-capacity magazines

Supporters say fewer bullets would increase safety. Opponents say it would infringe on their rights.

  • Wednesday, February 5, 2020 1:30am
  • News

By Leona Vaughn

WNPA News Service

Gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition would be outlawed under a proposed law moving through the state Senate.

Supporters cite safety concerns, while opponents argue the measure, which cleared the Senate Committee on Law and Justice on Thursday, Jan. 23, would place new restrictions on Washington residents’ right to bear arms.

SB 6077, sponsored by 14 Democratic senators, would make it illegal to possess what the bill would define as a high-capacity magazine in most instances. Under the proposal, exemptions apply to people who already own the magazines, though use is restricted. There would also be exemptions for law enforcement, the military, licensed gun dealers, and other firearm professionals.

“Today, our children are forced to prepare with active shooter drills for the very real possibility of gun violence occurring in their classrooms and, sadly, students are attending their classmates’ funerals,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, the bill’s primary sponsor.

High-capacity magazines automatically feed ammunition and allow a shooter to fire numerous bullets without stopping to reload.

The bill defines “high-capacity magazine” as any ammunition-feeding device with the ability to hold more than 10 rounds, while acknowledging that some states with similar bans allow magazines that hold 15 bullets.

Ami Strahan, whose son died in a school shooting, testified in support of the bill at the Law and Justice Committee hearing on Monday, Jan. 20. Her son, Sam Strahan, was killed by a school mate in 2017 at Freeman High School in Rockford near Spokane.

“While I find myself saying thank goodness he was the only one, I also can’t fathom that that sentence has become acceptable in 2020,” Strahan said. “When did it become okay that one kid died at school?”

A pediatrician also weighed in.

“High-capacity magazines are exceptionally lethal,” said Dr. Fred Rivara, a pediatrician and professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Washington. “They increase the fatality of any firearm to which they are attached.”

Rivara says that people with multiple gunshot wounds rarely survive.

Opponents to the bill say a ban on high-capacity magazines would put their ability to defend themselves at risk.

“It’s a woman’s right to own firearms for personal protection because it levels the fight,” said Jane Milhans, a certified firearms instructor and who said she was a survivor of a home invasion. “In a personal defense situation, it may take more than 10 rounds to stop a threat. Should it take more, this bill puts women at a dangerous risk of being defenseless.”

In the committee’s hearing on Thursday, Jan. 23, Republican lawmakers expressed their concern for the direction Washington state would be taking in the event that this bill is passed.

“It is not up to us to tell a gun owner how many bullets it could take to stop a threat,” said Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, during the hearing. “It is not up to us to put them, especially women and their children, in a position where they cannot defend themselves.”

Some argued that the true problem, which lawmakers fail to address and prioritize with this bill, is mental health.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Gov. Jay Inslee during a press conference April 2, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Inslee’s Facebook page)
Gov. Inslee extends stay-home order to May 4

As in other states, demand for intensive health care due to COVID-19 is expected to peak later in April.

Unemployment claims continue to climb

For the week of March 22-28, claims have reached more than 181,000.

Inslee to state businesses: Pivot to make medical equipment

The governor said Wednesday that the state must become self-reliant in the fight against COVID-19.

Eastsiders utilize technology to keep things running during COVID-19 outbreak

Technology and online habits have allowed businesses, city governments, nonprofits and residents to keep going while maintaining social distancing.

Amazon.com still has listings for medical equipment, but the website includes a caveat and other protections to ensure equipment is supplied to those who need it. Screenshot
Five businesses warned for price gouging

Ferguson sent cease and desist letters to five businesses, including one in Issaquah.

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital mitigating pandemic at home

Hospital exec explains how the hospital is dealing with COVID-19.

State legislators discussed COVID-19 impacts during a East King Chambers Coalition webinar on March 31 moderated by Kate Riley of The Seattle Times. Screenshot
State lawmakers discuss COVID-19 impacts with chambers

Four state lawmakers gathered for a webinar with the East King Chambers Coalition.

Most Read