Federal Legislative Action: Tell Congress You Expect Real Gun Safety Reform

Support March for Our Lives and Fight For Sensible Gun Control

Background:

Last week, we were all moved by the eloquence and courage of the teenage leaders of the March for Our Lives movement, both here in Olympia and across the globe.   One of the Olympia speakers said: this is a movement, not a moment”. Let’s build on the momentum from the March 24 event and let these youth know that we support their efforts and aren’t going to let them be forgotten.

Several national corporations have revised their gun sales policies and dropped their support of the NRA in response to the public outcry.

What more can we do?  At the Congressional level, National Indivisible suggests:

DON’T LET CONGRESS MAKE CURRENT LAWS EVEN WORSE
Believe it or not, Congress is considering weakening the state of gun safety in America. The NRA’s top priority is the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and it already passed the House on a bipartisan basis (Representative Heck voted against it). This bill would require states to recognize the gun laws of other states, essentially forcing them to accept lower standards than their own—think of it as a race to the bottom for gun violence prevention. It still has to pass the Senate, and we can stop it.

STOP THE NRA’S FAVORITE LAWYER FROM BECOMING A LIFELONG FEDERAL JUDGE
The NRA spent an unprecedented amount of money to elect Donald Trump as president—and he has rewarded them by nominating their go-to attorney as a federal judge for life. If confirmed, Howard Nielson could decide issues that shape the law for a generation to come. That’s a huge problem, because he regularly defends the NRA in court and has a pro-torture, anti-LGBT record. The Senate can block him, but only if we pressure them.

TELL CONGRESS YOU EXPECT REAL GUN SAFETY REFORM FROM YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS

Background:

Federal House passed a very narrow school safety bill with no gun control measures included. The Senate has not acted on gun measures. Trump backed away from his earlier support for raising the age to buy guns.

Budget bill in process in Congress includes a tightening of the background check system, and long-standing language prohibiting federal firearms research has been removed from the bill so that research by the CDC will now be allowed.

Here are some great bills that your Federal Members of Congress should co-sponsor and support:

Legislation to strengthen background checks (S. 2009 in the Senate, and H.R. 4240 in the House).  Senator Murray is a cosponsor for 2009 and Representative Heck is a cosponsor of 4240.

Legislation to allow family members to request the issuance of a gun violence prevention warrant for those they fear may pose a danger to themselves or others (S. 1212 in the SenateH.R. 2598 in the House)

Bans on bump stocks (S. 1916 in the SenateH.R. 3947 in the House).  Both Murray and Cantwell are cosponsorsof 1916 and Heck is a cosponsor of 3947.

Raising minimum age to 21 to buy an assault rifle like the AR-15 (has not yet been introduced).

Suggested Federal legislation:

Waiting periods: Waiting period laws mandate that a period of time elapse between a gun purchase and the physical transfer of the gun to the owner.

Require gun owners to be licensed, registered, and complete safety training: We require licenses for all sorts of activities, like driving and fishing. Yet most states do not require a license before purchasing a weapon that can kill people.

Prohibit military-grade weaponry from being transferred to police: We cannot talk about gun violence without discussing the tragic killings of people of color at the hands of police in this country. In August 2017, as part of their ongoing efforts to push a white supremacist agenda, Trump and Jeff Sessions rolled back Obama’s executive order that had placed limits on the sale of surplus military equipment to state and local police departments, allowing police departments access to military-grade weaponry once again.

Action: Call your Members of Congress and urge them to continue to push for reasonable gun control legislation this year.

Look Up Contact Info for U.S. Federal Officials:

Federal Senators and Representatives for Washington State:

Senator Patty Murray (253) 572-3636
Senator Maria Cantwell (253) 572-2281
Representative Denny Heck (360) 459-8514

Federal Senate Member script:

Hello, my name is ___________, and I am a member of Olympia Indivisible. I am calling to ask {Senator Murray, Cantwell} to demand that Congress pass reasonable gun control legislation and oppose the confirmation of Howard Nielson, the NRA lawyer, as a Federal judge. Background checks must be strengthened (S. 2009) and family members must be able to protect themselves (S. 1212).  Thank you for cosponsoring the ban on bump stocks (S. 1916) and the Senator should introduce minimum age legislation for purchase of assault rifles.   The Senator must oppose passage of the “Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act”; which denies states the ability to protect their citizens by forcing them to recognize other state’s laws.

Federal House Member script:

Hello, my name is ___________, and I am a member of Olympia Indivisible. I am calling to ask that Representative Heck demand that Congress pass reasonable gun control legislation, and thank the Representative for voting against attempts to weaken current laws such as the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and for cosponsoring legislation that strengthens background checks (H.R. 4240) and bans bump stocks (H.R. 3947).   More must be done, family members must be able to protect themselves (H.R. 2598) and Representative Heck should introduce minimum age legislation for purchase of assault rifles.

Action: Call your State Legislators and urge them to ban assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines, and change the age required for gun purchases/

Under current federal law, an 18 year old can legally buy a semi-automatic rifle (compared to the requirement that they be 21 to purchase a handgun).

Background:

There have been some small victories already, we can capitalize on these and advocate for more.

Washington state Legislature was able to pass legislation to ban bump stocks, the state House was a few votes short of being able to pass legislation raising the age required to buy an assault weapon to 21.

Action: Urge your state legislators to push for reasonable gun control and school safety measures in next year’s legislative session.

Washington State Legislator Look-Up Tools:

District 22 Elected Officials:

Senator Sam Hunt (360) 786–764
Representative Beth Doglio (360) 786-7992
Representative Laurie Dolan (360) 786-7940

Washington State Legislators script:

Hello, my name is ___________, and I am a member of Olympia Indivisible. I am calling to ask that {Senator or Representative} work with other state legislators to craft gun control legislation for the 2019 session that licenses gun owners, establishes a minimum age of 21 for all gun purchases, requires a waiting period before sales are final, bans assault weapons  and prohibits transfer of military grade weapons to police.

This action is from Olympia Indivisible’s weekly Call to Action with formatting edits. Be sure to go to their website for more on the actions, upcoming events and for their latest Research Report.  Also find them on Facebook.