One of the most important gun safety bills of the 2023 Washington State legislative session is headed to Governor Jay Inslee’s desk.
SB 5078, the Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act, received a concurrence vote today in the Senate. That means the Senate agreed with the changes that the House made to the bill, completing its journey through the bicameral legislative process.
The bill will soon be presented to Governor Jay Inslee, who requested it along with Attorney General Bob Ferguson and plans to sign it into law.
Prime sponsored by Senator Jamie Pedersen (D‑43rd District: Seattle), the bill:
- Prohibit firearm industry members from knowingly creating, maintaining, or contributing to a public nuisance; and from designing, selling, and marketing firearm industry products that promote conversion of legal products into illegal products, or which target minors or individuals prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
- Require firearm industry members to establish, implement, and enforce reasonable controls to prevent sale and distribution to certain individuals, prevent loss and theft of firearm industry products, and ensure compliance with state and federal law; and to take reasonable precautions to prevent sale or distribution of firearm industry products to distributors and retailers that have failed to establish and implement reasonable controls.
- Establish that violations constitute a public nuisance and are per se actionable under the Consumer Protection Act.
- Authorize the Attorney General to investigate suspected violations and bring enforcement actions against firearm industry members.
“In 2005, Congress took unprecedented action to give gun manufacturers blanket immunity for gun violence perpetrated as a direct result of their marketing and distribution of firearms,” Ferguson said.
“Today the Legislature took an important step to right that wrong and protect Washingtonians from gun violence by ensuring that the gun industry faces real accountability when its irresponsible conduct harms our communities.”
“I’m proud that this year we’ve increased accountability among manufacturers and dealers,” Inslee said. “These business entities play a crucial role in keeping our communities safe from gun violence. Thank you to AG Ferguson, the legislators and community organizations who helped pass this bill.”
“Businesses that produce and sell dangerous products have a duty to keep communities safe,” Pedersen said.
“SB 5078 will require the firearms industry to do its part to reduce and prevent gun violence by tightening up their compliance with our state laws.”
The roll call to concur in the Senate was as follows:
Firearm industry duties
Final Passage as Amended by the House
Yeas: 26; Nays: 20; Excused: 3
Voting Yea: Senators Billig, Cleveland, Dhingra, Frame, Hasegawa, Hunt, Kauffman, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Nguyen, Nobles, Pedersen, Randall, Robinson, Rolfes, Saldaña, Salomon, Shewmake, Stanford, Trudeau, Valdez, Wellman, Wilson (Claire)
Voting Nay: Senators Boehnke, Braun, Dozier, Fortunato, Gildon, Hawkins, Holy, King, MacEwen, McCune, Mullet, Padden, Rivers, Schoesler, Short, Torres, Van De Wege, Wagoner, Warnick, Wilson (Lynda)
Excused: Senators Conway, Muzzall, Wilson (Jeff)
Two Democratic senators voted no: Mark Mullet and Kevin Van De Wege.
Another Democratic senator, Steve Conway, was excused.
The rest of the Democratic caucus voted yea. All Republican senators voted no except for Ron Muzzall and Jeff Wilson, who were excused.
NPI congratulates and thanks the Legislature for getting this bill passed. It’s another important step forward for gun safety that will benefit our state.