Friday, February 8, 2008

CCW Bills in WA State

I was unable to make it to Olympia yesterday due mostly to health reasons. I wish I could have been there though, last year was a blast!

The usual suspects were on hand to sponsor and support the anti-gun bill. Thankfully it seems that a large number of gun rights supporters were on hand to thwart their efforts.

Here is a news story about yesterday's events. Enjoy!

As was pointed out by Joe Waldron, someone really should enlighten Ms. Comer and KOMO what the difference between defending yourself and vigilantism is.


Two bills take opposite sides on issue of guns on campus

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - Two state lawmakers have offered dramatically different bills dealing with guns on college campuses and the measures touched off spirited debate Thursday at a Senate committee hearing.

The bill offered by Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, would ban weapons at colleges that host high school students. That would include community colleges that offer the Running Start program, and universities when high school students are touring.

In response to Murray's bill, Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, introduced her own measure that would prohibit universities from banning concealed weapons. Her argument is that people with permits to carry weapons would make campuses safer. Most universities now ban weapons on campus, but that is not a state law.

The debate before the Senate Committee on Higher Education touched on everything from the Second Amendment to last year's fatal mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

Neither measure is likely to go anywhere in this year's short legislative session, said Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, the committee chairman. He suggested the sponsors work out their differences and come back next year.

Murray said his bill is an extension of existing state law that prohibits weapons at elementary and secondary schools.

"When you talk about guns, people start to flip out," he said. "We have a tragic history in this country with guns in high schools. We're not infringing on the Second Amendment when we try to protect (students)."

But Roach declared, "Based on the policy of the last 30 years, it may be evident that this is a failed policy, there have been 38 college and school shootings since the prohibition of guns in schools was enacted. There were only two recorded during the 150 years preceding that prohibition."

Murray offered his bill after hearing from constituents of a case last October at Seattle Central Community College where a student was found carrying three weapons, including semiautomatic handguns.

At Virginia Tech last April, a student fatally shot 32 people before committing suicide.

At the University of Washington in Seattle, employee Rebecca Griego was fatally shot last April by an ex-boyfriend who then killed himself.

The hearing attracted a handful of college students, including some from the UW, who testified in favor of concealed weapons on campuses.

Trip Volpe, a UW student who has a concealed weapon permit, called the policy against weapons on campus ineffective and added "there's very little anyone can do to stop a person with a gun in hand and murder in their hearts."

During the current session, Gov. Chris Gregoire requested a bill aimed at improving campus safety, but it did not touch on the gun issue. Idaho's Legislature is also considering a bill similar to Roach's.

Pro-gun backers showed up in force, handing out buttons opposing the gun-banning bill. They argued that people who want to use guns to hurt people would not care about weapon bans.

"I want to make sure the record reflects that Virginia Tech was a gun free zone, and results (were) painfully predictable," said Brian Judy, testifying for the National Rifle Association. "Only the victims were gun free."

But gun foes said guns on campuses would create more trouble.

"Well-intentioned people who have firearms and want to save the day often end up adding to the violence of the situation or becoming victims themselves," said Kristen Comer, executive director of Washington Cease Fire. "Any time we start to get into the area of vigilante justice, it's a bit precarious."


The bill banning weapons on community college campuses is SB 6841. The bill prohibiting universities from banning concealed weapons is SB 6860.