The school shooting in Connecticut has re-ignited the debate over gun laws in the state of Washington. Friday, Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn called on the legislature to make changes to existing laws.
McGinn said the legislature's unwillingness to act on this issue is putting children at risk. “The question on everyone’s mind is: what can we do about this?” McGinn said at a news conference.
McGinn said the solution is in the hands of lawmakers. “Our state legislature has the authority to take much more meaningful actions on gun control, including closing the gun show loophole,” he explained.
McGinn says that loophole allows people to buy guns at a show without facing the same background checks they would in a retail store. It's something that California and Oregon have outlawed.
McGinn was not the only one calling for action, gun control advocates are hoping the tragedy will bring change. “We have to make sure that these 20 children didn't die in vain,” Ralph Frascitelli said.
Frascitelli is on the board of Washington Cease Fire and said they’re lobbying lawmakers to toughen laws for underage possession. The group says it’s just the beginning of reforms to gun laws they would like to see on the state and federal level.
“This is domestic terrorism,” Frascitelli explained. Frascitelli says they’re looking for solutions that involve compromise.
“Middle ground between the right to own a gun and a public health issue” he said. “We're not arguing the second amendment but we don't need assault weapons.”
After the attack in Connecticut, Seattle police tightened security around local campuses. Chief John Diaz says fully securing a campus is difficult and problematic.
“We may get to the point where one of things we have to do is everyone going in and out of a metal detector” he said. “You hate a world like that, but it may occur.”
Everyone agrees there are no easy answers or solutions, but McGinn says inaction is not a solution. “Those that oppose those changes will try to ride it out and it's the duty of the people and it's the duty of elected officials to keep the pressure on,” he said.