A Seattle-based gun prohibition lobbying group has scrambled to exploit a tragic fatal shooting in south-central Washington’s Richland, a community in Benton County about 250 miles away in an effort to push a bill now before the state legislature to limit firearm magazine capacity to 10 rounds.
Senate Bill 5078 needs to be vote on by the Senate to meet a cutoff date. The billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility is asserting in an email, “We know that a majority of Washingtonians want to see this bill become law.” The group also alleges, “But right now, a small and vocal minority is flooding legislators’ inboxes with the opposite message. Our opposition is pushing gun lobby talking points arguing for a guns-everywhere agenda that will make our communities less safe.”
Washington’s Legislature is now in session and citizens can voice their opinions about bills via the toll-free “Legislative Hotline” at 800-562-6000.
But is the Alliance message accurate? Here’s what the National Rifle Association is telling its Evergreen State members:
“Senate Bill 5078, bans the manufacture, possession, sale, transfer, etc., of magazines that “are capable of holding,” or hold more than, 10 rounds of ammunition. This includes conversion kits or parts from which any such magazine may be assembled. These so-called “high capacity” magazines are, in fact, standard equipment for commonly-owned firearms that many Americans legally and effectively use for an entire range of legitimate purposes, such as self-defense or competition. For example, the Glock 19 was the most commonly purchased firearm of 2021 and has a standard-issue magazine that holds 15 rounds of ammunition. Those who own non-compliant magazines prior to the ban are only allowed to possess them on their own property and in other limited instances, such as at licensed shooting ranges or while hunting. Prohibited magazines have to be transported unloaded and locked separately from firearms, and must be stored locked at home, making them unavailable for self-defense. Any violation of this measure is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.”
There is nothing in there about “guns everywhere.” And the NRA has tens of thousands of members in Washington State, which has hosted two NRA conventions—in 1985 and 1997, both in Seattle—which were well-attended events.
At last count, the Department of Licensing said there were more than 638,000 active concealed pistol licenses in the state, so gun owners have more than a “minority” voice.
The crime now being exploited by the Alliance was a murder committed last week at a Fred Meyer in Richland, not far from the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. A suspect, identified as Aaron Christopher Kelly, 39, is now in custody and faces a first-degree murder charge in the slaying of Justin Krumbah, 38. He faces an additional charge in the shooting of Fred Meyer employee Mark A. Hill.
“We don’t have many details about that shooting yet,” the Alliance acknowledged in its email blast. “But it served as a painful reminder that without action to prevent gun violence, it is only a matter of time before the next mass shooting happens close to home.”
In recent years, none of the actions pushed by the Alliance—including two multi-million-dollar initiatives—have prevented a single violent crime. Indeed, according to annual FBI Uniform Crime Reports, the number of homicides in Washington have actually increased.
The suspect was apprehended about 11 hours after the shooting, and some 200 miles away along Interstate 90 between Sprague and Spokane.