Washington state poised to ban guns at protests, Capitol grounds

Washington state poised to ban guns at protests, Capitol grounds

The legislation is expected to go to Gov. Jay Inslee in the days ahead. For Lyn Idahosa-Berry, that’s none too soon. InvestigateWest is a Seattle-based nonprofit newsroom producing journalism for the common good. Learn more and sign up to receive alerts about future stories at bit.ly/invw-newsletter A co-founder of the Federal Way Black Collective, Idahosa-Berry worked with police last summer to organize a teachers march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. On the day of the march, Idahosa-Berry was walking the route to make sure it was in order when she said she spotted an armed group on top of a gun shop. Idahosa-Berry said she spoke with a police lieutenant, who contacted the armed group but told her there was nothing he could do. Although armed with assault rifles and perched atop a building that dozens of marchers would soon pass, they weren’t breaking any law. “We’re talking about weapons that are traditionally seen as weapons of war,” Idahosa-Berry told a legislative committee hearing on March 16. “We were put in danger for the purpose of ‘protecting property.’ ” Incidents like the one Idahosa-Berry described had pressured lawmakers to address the proliferation of counterprotesters toting assault rifles well before a mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That deadly invasion and an intrusion onto the grounds surrounding the Governor’s Mansion in Olympia around that time propelled the Legislature to act, said Sen. Patty Kuderer, the ban’s prime sponsor. “There has been acknowledgment … that our […]

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