Politics

Washington House approves bill banning guns at ballot counts, school boards

Recently, the Washington state House approved a measure prohibiting people from carrying guns or other weapons at ballot counting sites as well as school board meetings across the state.

Additionally, openly carried firearms would be banned from local government meetings and election-related facilities such as county election offices. 

The measure passed through the Democratic-led House chamber Monday on a party line vote of 57-41, and it also bans openly carried firearms at local government meetings as well as election-related facilities such as county election offices. Still, those who possess concealed pistol licenses would be permitted to carry their concealed weapon. The bill is now headed to the Senate for their consideration.

Supporters of the measure pointed to the heightened negativity shrouding election and COVID-19 mandates as two reasons why the restrictions are important.

“With all the conspiracy theories and tension that exist around our electoral process, our dedicated election workers do not need to conduct their jobs in fear,” said Rep. April Berg, a Democrat.

She added that firearms are already banned from several designated places statewide, like restricted areas of some jails, courtrooms, taverns, and commercial airports. “We should not allow guns in places where we are performing democracy, period,” she continued.

But Republican Rep. Kelly Chambers said that the measure targets those who have concealed carry licenses unfairly, and impairs “their ability to defend themselves.” She added, “It makes the rest of the community less safe when we continue to chip away at the areas in which these law-abiding citizens are able to carry their weapons in a concealed manner.”

The bill makes it illegal to knowingly bring any firearms, either openly or concealed, as well as other weapons, to both school board meetings and ballot counting centers.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: SEATTLEPI.COM

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