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Gun safety advocates, Mayor Durkan push Olympia on high capacity magazines

A high-capacity gun. (Photo by Thomas Cooper/Getty Images)

Marking the second anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, gun safety advocates were in Olympia Friday lobbying lawmakers to pass several gun bills.

2020 gun control agenda targets limits on high-capacity magazines

There are a handful of bills addressing guns still alive in the Legislature, but a pair of measures restricting so-called high capacity magazines are garnering much of the attention.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility points out that magazines holding more than 10 rounds have been used in all five of the deadliest U.S. mass shootings over the past decade, including Las Vegas, Orlando, Newtown, Sutherland Springs, and the Parkland shooting that killed 17 students and staff two years ago.

They are urging lawmakers to pass legislation restriction magazines to no more than 10 rounds.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan also urged the state to act in the wake of last month’s mass shooting in downtown Seattle.

“We know that gun violence is preventable and in the city of Seattle we are taking urgent action to stop the cycle of violence,” Durkan said after the downtown shooting that left one woman dead and seven others injured.

But Durkan says Seattle can’t do it alone, and is also urging the Legislature to support limits on high capacity magazines in SB 6077  and HB 2240, which limit magazines to no more than 10 and 15 rounds, respectively.

“We need other cities, the state, and the federal government to step up and pass common sense gun violence prevention laws, and we need it now. People’s lives are truly at stake,” Durkan wrote in a letter to the sponsor’s of those bills Thursday.

The mayor pointed to the downtown Seattle shooting to back up the sense of urgency to limit the magazines.

Gun rights advocates: New gun safety agenda proof of slippery slope

“Detectives discovered that just hours before the shooting, one of the suspects purchased a high capacity magazine from a licensed gun store in South King County,” she detailed. “The number and caliber of the shell casings recovered from the scene downtown make it obvious that the suspect turned around and immediately used that high capacity magazine on our City streets.”

“The tragedy that occurred in downtown Seattle illustrates a deadly loophole that currently exists in our state’s laws. Felons are prohibited from purchasing firearms, yet they can still legally purchase large capacity magazines. That is exactly what one of the Seattle shooters did on January 22, and all evidence indicates that he used that magazine 4.5 hours later to fire significantly more bullets than he otherwise would have in our downtown,” she continued.

You can read Durkan’s full letter here.

Gun rights advocates argue many of the most popular handguns are sold with a standard magazine that holds more than 10 rounds. They also contend limiting large capacity magazines will do nothing to save lives.

The deadline for both bills to get a floor vote and continue moving through the Legislature is Wednesday at 5 p.m.

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