Bill Would Ban Open-Carry Weapons at Peaceful State Capitol Protests

Bill Would Ban Open-Carry Weapons at Peaceful State Capitol Protests

2018 FILE PHOTO — Gun-carrying friends, left to right, Jake Garza, from Graham, Ian Stobie, from Puyallup, and Ben Garrison, from Puyallup, stopped to pose outside the governor’s office in early January 2018 following the Gun Rights Coalition’s Rally 4 UR Rights at the state Capitol in Olympia. A proposed ban on open-carry weapons during public demonstrations sparked a heated debate on whether the bill unreasonably restricts the Second Amendment to secure the protections of the First. The Senate Law & Justice Committee voted Jan. 28 to send Senate Bill 5038 to the House in a 5-4 vote, with Democrat committee members voting together in the majority. Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, said she introduced SB 5038 to limit “intimidation” by counterprotesters during a peaceful demonstration. She cited incidents in Kenosha, Wisc., during which a 17-year-old drove to a protest with the intent to shoot at several protestors, as the driving factor behind keeping firearms away from demonstrations. The bill would make it illegal for a person to knowingly open-carry a firearm or any weapons within 250 feet of state capitol grounds or during participation in any demonstration. “It’s simply a reasonable restriction we’re putting on it just like we do with other amendments,” Kuderer said. The law would not apply to on-duty local or state law enforcement. People on both sides of the aisle criticized the bill. Many opponents said the bill unnecessarily limited the Second Amendment, and others said citizens should have the opportunity to protect themselves against […]

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