Gun control advocates say they finally have momentum to pass sweeping firearms laws

OLYMPIA, Wash. — It was a big day when it comes to gun issues in the Legislature.

It was standing room only on Monday as people packed a hearing in Olympia arguing for or against more gun control measures.

Some of the bills talked about are nothing new but what is new is that several of them got heard by a Senate committee for the first time in years now that the Legislature is controlled by the Democrats.

The side that wants more gun control came armed with a busload of people.

“We are not anti-gun, we are anti-gun violence,” said Shawn Terjeson, a volunteer with the Washington chapter of "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America."

People flooded the legislative halls, from parents pushing for gun storage boxes so kids don’t have access ... to lobbyists who want to start an effort to rewrite the Second Amendment.

“So that local jurisdictions and cities can pass the firearms that works for them,” said Geoff Potter, with the Alliance For Gun Responsibility.

Other bills are aiming to ban high-capacity magazines and bump stocks, a device used in the Las Vegas shooting to speed the firing of a rifle.

“My sister was shot in Las Vegas,” said Zach Elmore.

Elmore’s sister luckily survived after being shot during the country music concert.

But Carrie Parsons did not.

Parsons, just 31 years old, was newly engaged.

“We used the bridal bouquet she picked on Pinterest for her burial flowers,” Carrie’s sister, Lindsey Maiolino, said.

Family members are sharing their pain, hoping to help get the votes for gun control measures this legislative session.

“The things that are under consideration are so commonsense, frankly, we should not be having much argument about it in the Legislature,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

Some Republicans are on board but many are not, including Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn.

“Does anybody here seriously think a bad guy is going to abide by a firearms magazine ban?" Fortunato asked.

Fortunato is also opposed to banning bump stocks.

“I spent $200 to send my gun out to have what’s called a trigger job to be able to shoot faster in competition shooting so this, in effect, in another section of the bill bans that,” Fortunato said.

On Fortunato’s side were dozens of citizens who showed up to speak to lawmakers.

“I think a lot of these legislation is based on emotions, it’s not actually looking at the applications,” Kylee Wible said.

Wible, a Seattle resident, came to Olympia to tell lawmakers that requiring a safety lockbox for guns will not help her feel safer living alone.

“If you are going to protect yourself, you only have a few moments to act -- it’s not realistic,” Wible said.

As the debate rages on,  gun control advocates say the momentum is finally on their side.

“To do it on a scale that was thought impossible a few years ago,” Alliance for Gun Responsibility CEO Renee Hopkins said.