Gun safety advocates urge lawmakers to consider new bills

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Hundreds of volunteers from Washington’s ‘Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense’ chapter gathered in Olympia to urge lawmakers to pass policies intended to prevent gun violence.

Multiple bills have been working their way through committees, and now the group is hopeful some might soon be on their way to a full vote.

The group spent Wednesday asking lawmakers to consider passing bills it believes could end gun violence.

One piece of legislation would require concealed carry license applicants to show proof they pass a required safety training course.

Another is Senate Bill 6288 that would establish a state-wide office that supports gun violence reduction initiatives and funds studies throughout the state.

“The solutions that we pursue are not about taking anything away from people, it’s about creating safer communities,” said volunteer Kate Stockert.

But, some opponents to the proposed legislation argue the bills target law-abiding citizens unfairly, curtails the second amendment and ignores laws already on the books that should keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

“That was and continues to be a complete nightmare for my family,” said Jay Ward, who is no stranger to gun violence. “He was our little brother but we all kind of looked up to him. He was our heartbeat.”

Ward says he and his family moved to Washington a number of years ago after his younger brother Adam, and Adam's coworker Alison Parker, were both gunned down on live television by a former co-worker in Virginia.

Ward was in Olympia speaking with lawmakers about reducing gun violence.

“Washington has been at the forefront of very important gun violence prevention measures,” he said, “But Washington has been lagging behind this training requirement.”

Now, Ward volunteers with ‘Mom’s Demand Action’ in Olympia, lobbying for new laws that he believes would prevent a similar shooting from happening here.

“I wanted to find a way to get involved, but it wasn’t until Adam was murdered that we felt this huge push to really get involved and prevent others from walking through this tragedy that we experienced,” he said.