The clock is ticking for legislators to pass comprehensive gun control.
With less than 36 hours left in the legislative session, the State Senate still hasn’t taken a vote on a bill that would increase the minimum age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. The bill (SB 6620), sponsored by Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle), would also enhance background check requirements for people buying assault-style weapons, such as an AR-15.
The man accused of fatally shooting 17 people on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida used an AR-15-style gun. The man who killed three people in Mukilteo on July 30, 2016 used a similar, rapid-fire rifle. Both were 19 at the time of their shootings and purchased their own weapons.
Florida’s state senate just passed a bill similar to Washington’s, raising the minimum age for semiautomatic rifle purchases to 21. But in Washington, Democratic aides tell The Stranger they're waiting to get the votes before they put their bill to the floor. So, who's holding out?
Aaron Wasser, a spokesperson for state Democrats, said Sen. Frockt is trying to get Republicans on board. That suggests that at least one Democrat in the one-vote majority won’t sign on. Who is it? Or who are they? And which Republicans could flip?
Maybe the answer is in the money. The NRA, as the Seattle Times reported today, spends more on legislative races in Washington than any other state.
Here are all the Washington state senators who have taken money from the NRA in state elections, according to FollowTheMoney.org, a database run by the National Institute of Money in State Politics:
Democrats who have taken NRA money, plus their NRA lifetime score if we could find it:
Dean Takko (D-Longview), $4,350, A+
Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) $3,500
Kevin Van De Wege (D-Sequim) $1,100, A+
Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch), $4,100
Janice Angel (R-Port Orchard), $7,800,
Barbara Bailey (R-Oak Harbor), $7,725,
Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane), $1,900, A
Randi Becker (R-Enumclaw), $900, A
Sharon Brown (R-Kennewick), $900
Doug Ericksen (R-Whatcom County), $6,500, A
Joe Fain (R-Auburn), $800
Phil Fortunato (R-Auburn), $3,325
Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside), $1,400
Curtis King (R-Yakima), $500, A
Steve O’Ban (R-Pierce County), $5,650
Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), $1,950
Ann Rivers (R-La Center), $2,200
Mark Schoesler (R-Ritzville), $4,950, A+
Shelly Short (R-Addy), $950, A
Lynda Wilson (R-Vancouver), $3,850
Hans Zeiger (R-Pierce County), $4,750