Washington Legislature approves ban of open carry of guns at demonstrations, state Capitol

Washington Legislature approves ban of open carry of guns at demonstrations, state Capitol

OLYMPIA — Gun-rights demonstrations and other protests at the Capitol have long drawn large crowds of individuals, many of whom sport handguns on their hips or semiautomatic rifles slung over their shoulders. But the open carry of firearms, long a symbolic form of expression in Washington, will be banned at permitted protests and at the state Capitol under a bill passed by the Legislature. Senate lawmakers Tuesday gave final approval to Senate Bill 5038, which comes after last year’s heated political clashes that culminated in shootings on two different days near the Capitol campus in December . The bill, which heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature, passed the Democratic-controlled Senate on Tuesday on a party-line vote, 28-21. “My hope is that it will make demonstrations safer for everyone to participate in,” said Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue and the bill’s sponsor. Emails seeking comment to the National Rifle Association and the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation on Tuesday afternoon were not returned. Advertising Skip Ad Skip Ad Skip Ad Both groups have challenged other new Washington gun laws in the courts. Kuderer said she expects a legal challenge against SB 5038. If signed by Inslee, the bill will ban the open carry of firearms or other weapons at or around public demonstrations, according to a legislative analysis . It also prohibits open carry on the west grounds of the Capitol campus, at buildings on the campus and at other legislative locations. The bill also prohibits open carry at public […]

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