State Rep. Jim Walsh Refuses to Vote as House Approves Firearm Prohibition at Capitol Grounds

State Rep. Jim Walsh Refuses to Vote as House Approves Firearm Prohibition at Capitol Grounds

State Rep. Jim Walsh points to the Washington State Capitol during a rally in support of bringing back in-person schooling near Capitol Lake. After a heated and lengthy debate, the state House of Representatives passed a bill this weekend prohibiting open carry on Capitol grounds or at permitted demonstrations across the state. The 57-40 vote means the bill clears a major hurdle, and if the Senate concurs with adopted amendments, the bill heads to the governor’s desk to be signed into law. On the House floor this weekend, Democrats said the bill balances first and second amendment rights by preserving space for protesters to assemble without fear of intimidation. The Capitol grounds are traditionally where constituents have gathered to protest and show support for issues considered by lawmakers. Southwest Washington’s Republican lawmakers stood fast in their opposition. Ultimately, 19th District state Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, refused to cast a vote. “I refuse to vote on this bill, Madam Speaker. It’s unconstitutional,” he said. Walsh, who called debate on the bill “a profound matter,” suggested that it could “embolden sexual predators” and encourage bad actors to “terrorize citizens and attack law enforcement officers.” The staunch conservative also referenced the recent stabbing of a Thurston County Sheriff’s Deputy in Yelm — an incident unrelated to any demonstration — saying “we get there by trying to draw equivalence between feelings of intimidation and foundational rights to self protection.” 20th District State Rep. Ed Orcutt R-Kalama, added that many folks who open carry […]

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