State lawmakers pick up guns for Legislative Shootout

By Steve Kiggins

Q13 FOX News

LITTLEROCK, Wash. -- State lawmakers are used to verbal slings and arrows from their opponents. But on Thursday, some legislators turned to guns to see who would finish on top.

State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, hosted the Washington Sportsman’s Caucus Legislative Shootout in in southern Thurston County to celebrate shooting sports.

Roach squeezed off a few rounds on an AR-15 during the event, where lawmakers and their family members competed for the title of ‘Best Shot.’

Among those attending was Lt. Gov. Brad Owen – a Democrat who also serves as president of the Senate.

“See, I’m used to throwing arrows,” Owen, who is a hunter, joked after firing off a round. “I’m not used to throwing bullets. Oh, you don’t throw bullets, do you?”

The states of Maryland and Connecticut have adopted some of the country's toughest gun control laws. The Washington Legislature does not appear ready to do the same.

“The rationale is that individuals who own firearms do so in a safe way,” Roach said. “We put our weapons in a safe. We make sure we have trigger-lock devices, we make sure they're unloaded. And the things that we do are seen to be not noticed when a tragedy occurs.”

While strict gun control measures might not be approved in Washington state this year, Owen said he believes change is coming.

"I don't know if we'll see anything here, but nationally we might see things that do with more, you know, maybe security checks, or maybe mental health issues or something like that,” Owen said. “But I believe that the fear of losing your gun is overstated.”

This tournament has been going on since 1988, but Thursday’s competition was the first in nearly 10 years. Roach said she hopes to continue the event next year.