By Rep. Maureen Walsh
Like you, I am shocked and saddened by the murders that have occurred in our country. The slaughter of innocent children in Newtown, Conn. still continues to haunt me as my heart aches for the families of the victims. People suffering with mental illness are responsible for these horrific deaths, and no legislation will ever be able to prevent all of these atrocities.
The state Legislature is carefully considering several approaches to addressing gaps in our current laws that could help prevent some of these mass shootings. School and public safety is the goal, and there are many facets to the cause of these horrific events. Mental health is certainly a component, as well as a lack of enforcing our current laws.
As many of you know, I did sign on to House Bill 1588 with the belief that it simply
addressed an inequity (loophole) in the law concerning background checks at some gun shows.
I received a great deal of phone calls and e-mails by folks with valid concerns about their Second Amendment rights and that the bill would only harm law-abiding citizens. Some made compelling arguments why the legislation would be difficult to implement. I also learned that most gun buyers at gun shows must be members of the association, requiring a background check, before they can purchase any guns.
Although the bill has been amended to address some of the concerns of gun owners across the state, I have really come to realize that no legislation will ever address the criminal element as far as guns are concerned. Thus the bill only targets (no pun intended) lawful gun owners and the application of the law would not be logical.
I will not be supporting the bill.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to write or call me with their concerns. Your comments were very helpful to me in understanding this issue. It’s an honor to serve as your state representative.
Maureen Walsh represents the 16th Legislative District, which includes parts of Benton and Franklin counties, and all of Walla Walla and Columbia counties. She has three grown children with her late husband. Maureen lives in College Place and owns and operates a small business in downtown Walla Walla.