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Sen. Phil Fortunato: Senate gun ban is unconstitutional

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
LISTEN: Sen. Phil Fortunato believes firearm ban in state capitol gallery is unconstitutional

A state senator believes a ban on firearms in the observation gallery overlooking lawmakers in Olympia is part of a larger Democratic agenda.

RELATED: Ban on firearms in Washington Senate gallery

“It’s no coincidence this ruling came right after the certification of the election giving the Democrats a majority in the Senate,” said State Senator Phil Fortunato. “This is just the first salvo of what I believe will be many anti-Second Amendment policies. The lieutenant governor’s actions merited an immediate response that challenges this ideologically-driven, unnecessary and unconstitutional rule.”

That response was a letter Fortunato — a Republican from Auburn — personally delivered to Washington state’s Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib, from whom the new gun ban originated. No guns will be allowed in the observation gallery above the state Senate beginning in January. It’s an expansion of a previously-approved rule that banned openly-carried guns in public areas around the legislative building.

“The question is: Is a person intent on doing something bad going to be stopped by a sign on the gallery saying ‘no guns’?” Fortunato told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson.

Fortunato argues that Democrats are just beginning to implement anti-gun policies now that the party has a majority in the Senate. He says that profiling visitors — like Israelis do to fight terrorism — would be a better security measure.

Fortunato also argues that the gun ban is unconstitutional.

“It would be constitutional if you consider the legislative building an insane asylum or a jail,” he said. “Which some people do consider it that … however, that’s not the case. The Constitution, and state law, states ‘mental institutions, jail and the courts.’ Anything else is not included (for a gun ban).”

Fortunato says that he won’t wait after such anti-gun moves are incrementally taken. He will respond immediately each time.

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