House Bill 1612, to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, passed unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Law & Justice at 5 p.m. April 3. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Hope, passed just as time ran out for the final policy committee cutoff of 2013.
The bill would require felony gun violators to register in a statewide database twice per year with local law enforcement. It would also allow police to become more familiar with registered gun offenders.
“If this law passes, Washington will be the first state to implement a crackdown on gun offenders in this way,” said Hope, R-Lake Stevens. “We have seen positive results in large cities like Baltimore and New York that have instituted this program. If we the results we’ve seen previously can be applied statewide, the outcome would be amazing. A common factor in the majority of gun homicides is that perpetrators had a previous gun conviction. If we can stop criminals now, before they escalate their behavior, then we can save lives.”
The bill was referred to Senate Ways and Means Committee . It has until April 9 to pass the budget committee and continue to the Senate floor for a vote. Should the legislation be passed out of the Senate, it will go to the governor to be signed into law. The 105-day session is scheduled to adjourn April 28.