A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants in Washington state to complete a safety course. File photo

A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants in Washington state to complete a safety course. File photo

Democrats seek firearm training requirement for concealed carriers

Republican senator calls proposal ‘unconstitutional.’

By Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service

OLYMPIA — A proposal by Senate Democrats would require concealed pistol license applicants to complete a safety course.

Senate Bill 6294 would require conceal-carry permit holders to complete eight hours of training that would include safe handling and storage of firearms, state laws regarding the use of deadly force, conflict resolution, suicide prevention and live-fire shooting exercises.

Presently, conceal-carry permits are valid for five years, require only a criminal background check by local law enforcement, and require the applicant to be over age 21.

Under the proposed law, conceal-carry applicants would have to show proof of completed training within five years of their application, and the training course would need to be sponsored by law enforcement, a college or university, or a certified firearm training school. Law enforcement professionals and people who have already received the training and are seeking renewal would be exempt.

Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, said he believes that forcing this kind of training on conceal-carry permit holders could be unconstitutional. He proposed incentives to similar training instead. Conceal-carry permit holders across the U.S. “are among the most responsible and law-abiding citizens that you can find,” Wagoner said.

On Jan. 20, stakeholders and concerned residents like Lauren Owen of Moms Demand Action testified before the Senate Law and Justice Committee. Owen urged committee members to support the legislation, claiming that Washington is one of the few states that does not require training for concealed carriers.

“Research has shown that gun users with less training are more likely to unintentionally shoot innocent bystanders,” Owen said.

Sharyn Hinchcliffe, a representative of Pink Pistols, a LGBTQ gun rights advocacy group, urged the senators to reject the bill on the basis that it would impede individuals’ rights to self-defense.

“It would place undue burdens, financial and time, on individuals who do not possess the funds available to go search out training,” Hinchcliffe said.

She said parts of the state do not have adequate resources and programs available to fulfill the training requirements. Hinchcliffe said there are no firearm training schools within 25 miles of the Capitol Hill neighborhood in Seattle.

More in News

Jake Berg/staff photo 
                                The main trailhead for Smith Woods park.
Redmond neighborhood at risk of losing walkable access to Smith Woods

Residents are reaching out to the city of Redmond for other access options.

Aneelah Afzali, executive director of MAPS-AMEN and creator of Facts Over Fear campaign, hugs an event attendee before a recent presentation. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Kwong
National Facts Over Fear campiagn launches in Redmond

Facts Over Fear campaign is intended to dispute misconceptions spread by anti-Muslim hate groups.

The language of the original bill prohibited privately-owned detainment facilities from being contracted by local, state, or federal government entities, but a last-second amendment was adopted to substantially narrow the focus of the legislation. File photo
Lawmakers flinch on banning for-profit detention facilities

Last minute amendment exempted ICE detainment facility.

A proposal to make King County Metro fares free for low-income households could be approved in the coming months. File photo
King County considers free transit for low-income residents

The program would target those at or below 80 percent of the federal poverty level.

Federal Way resident Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, 17, died Jan. 27, 2017. Courtesy photo
Law enforcement challenges report on sting operation that killed Federal Way teen

King County Office of Law Enforcement Oversight’s findings rattle Sheriff’s Office, police union.

Unstable housing? Apply for Section 8

Applications open in February for housing vouchers

In 2018, the city of Seattle approved and then repealed a head tax within a month. It would have levied a $275 per employee tax on businesses grossing more than $20 million annually. Sound Publishing file photo
County head tax bill passes committee

Bill would let King County levy a tax on businesses to fund housing and address homelessness.

Gov. Jay Inslee signs the first bill of the 2020 legislative session into law. On the right stands the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, who is wearing a red tie. Photo by Cameron Sheppard, WNPA News Service
Gov. Inslee signs tax bill to help fund higher education

Law shifts a portion of the tax burden to large tech companies.

Most Read