Republicans Against Bill Prohibiting Firearms near Permitted Events

A bill that would prohibit the open carry of firearms and other weapons within 250 feet of permitted events, including the state Capitol campus, passed the House on Sunday evening with Republicans voting no. Washington House Republicans’ John Sattgast reports.

SATTGAST: During the five-hour debate, Republicans argued Senate Bill 5038 is unconstitutional, violating not only second amendment rights, but other amendments, including the right to free expression. Representative Jim Walsh is the ranking Republican on the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.

WALSH: (:17) “This badly written bill mucks up not only the constitutional and foundational right to protect yourself with a firearm or a weapon, but with your foundational right to express what you believe in.”

SATTGAST: Republicans also said the 250-foot prohibition is not clearly defined, meaning that anyone walking peacefully near a permitted event with a holstered gun, knife or other weapon could be charged with a gross misdemeanor crime. Representative Ed Orcutt. . .

ORCUTT: “That’s what I hear from my constituents. Why are you needlessly turning me into a criminal when I have no criminal intent? I’m just exercising my Second Amendment right.”

SATTGAST: Representative Gina Mosbrucker, the ranking Republican on the House Public Safety Committee, says the bill would create soft targets and make Washington less safe.

MOSBRUCKER: “These don’t prevent gun violence. Criminals do not follow the law. It’s very simple. That’s what makes them a criminal.”

SATTGAST: Republicans offered 16 amendment to uphold constitutional rights and reduce the impact of the bill. Majority Democrats rejected all but three. The measure now returns to the Senate for further consideration.

John Sattgast, the state Capitol.

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