Rifle ban scapegoats firearms, fails to address fundamental causes of violence

Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, offered the following statement Saturday after passage in the Washington Senate of a bill banning rifles with magazines of ten rounds or more. House Bill 1240 passed the Senate 27-21, all Republicans voting no. The bill now returns to the House for concurrence on amendments.

HB 1240 is one of three major pieces of gun control legislation advancing in the 2023 legislative session. Awaiting action in the Senate is House Bill 1143, requiring gun purchasers to complete state-approved gun-safety courses. Awaiting action in the House is Senate Bill 5078, allowing the attorney general to sue gun manufacturers when firearms are used in crimes. Wilson said:

“Today the Washington Legislature passed the 38th bill since 2018 to restrict gun rights in the state of Washington, and it got no further toward ending violence in the than it did with the last 37.

“By now, you would think we could face the truth. Passing more laws to restrict gun ownership won’t solve a thing. And next year I’m sure we’ll be back in Olympia, debating yet another proposal to restrict our Second Amendment rights, then another and another.

“The problem is that it is easier to scapegoat firearms than it is to look into our own hearts, take responsibility and address root causes.

“Over the last several years, we have seen a growing breakdown in our social order. The Washington Legislature has contributed to it. Under current leadership, the Legislature has failed to respond effectively to homelessness, it has deliberately weakened the ability of our law enforcement agencies to protect public safety, and it has virtually erased our drug laws from the books. We are taking a hands-off approach to these problems out of some misguided notion that this is compassionate, politically correct and the right thing to do.

“When we fail to recognize there are boundaries, we don’t get people into drug treatment or programs for mental and behavioral health. We don’t intervene in cases where people clearly need help. We allow our crime rate to skyrocket.

“When I was young, the incidents of violence we hear about on a regular basis today were so unusual we considered them shocking. We’d ask our mothers and fathers, how could this happen?

“The nature of humanity is no different. In this country, guns have always been available. What’s changed is our new reluctance to address our real problems. This is where our focus needs to be, not on passing empty laws that will have no effect except to further erode our Second Amendment rights.”