NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, April 14th, 2023

VICTORY! Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act heads to Governor Inslee’s desk

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.

NPI’s research shows that near­ly three-fifths of like­ly 2024 Wash­ing­ton vot­ers sup­port the leg­is­la­tion, with near­ly half of the total strong­ly sup­port­ive.

Visualization of NPI's poll finding for the Firearm Industry Responsibility & Gun Violence Victims’ Access to Justice Act

Visu­al­iza­tion of NPI’s poll find­ing for the Firearm Indus­try Respon­si­bil­i­ty & Gun Vio­lence Vic­tims’ Access to Jus­tice Act (NPI graphic)

“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:

Roll Call
SB 5078
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.

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