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Washington Senate committee hears gun control proposals

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The dome of the Washington State Capital Building in Olympia.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state lawmakers began work on a series of gun control proposals Monday morning. The proposals cover everything from licenses for ownership of semi-automatic rifles to gun storage and gun sales.

“Today the Senate Law and Justice Committee is hearing gun responsibility bills that simply would not have been heard by the previous leadership of the  Senate,” said Jeff Potter, program policy director for the Alliance for Gun Responsibilities.

“Already this session we’ve seen a bill that was killed at the request of the gun lobby last year pass with this committee. So just the fact that we are having these hearings today is just a sea change from where we were just a few years ago.”

A bus full of volunteers and testifiers, including two families impacted by the Las Vegas shooting, arrived in Olympia for the Senate hearings.

Some bills being discussed are:

SB 5444 would require an assault weapon license in order to have an assault weapon or a large-capacity magazine. The proposal would also ban non-state residents from buying assault weapons or large-capacity magazines in Washington.

SB 6146 gives local governments in Washington state more leeway to write their own gun control regulations.

SB 5463 increases the punishment for anyone who doesn’t store a gun safely. The proposal would also require anyone selling a gun to offer a lockbox, as well.

SB 5992  relates to trigger modification devices.

SB 6049  relates to high capacity magazines.

Opponents to the measures told lawmakers on the Senate Law and Justice Committee that law-abiding gun owners will be punished by the bills.

Monday’s two-hour hearing drew nearly 1,000 people, leading security to set up additional overflow committee rooms for a mix of people wearing orange shirts or scarves and stickers “Gun Responsibility Now!” and others wearing shirts that read “NRA Stand and Fight.”