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In the wake of Newtown, many hoped to see real gun control legislation come from Olympia this session.
Instead, the state Senate has given us nothing more than a recommendation for the NRA's Eddie Eagle.
Eddie Eagle, of course, is the NRA's gun-safety mascot, a character that helps teach kids about the dangers of guns and the responsible use of weaponry. Eddie's sage advice to youngsters who encounter a gun includes, "Stop. Don't touch. Leave the area. Tell an adult."
On Friday, by a vote on the Senate floor of 40-8, Senate Joint Memorial 8006 passed with flying colors - encouraging (but not requiring) the state's schools to teach the Eddie Eagle gun safety program. The eight votes against the measure - which was sponsored by Shoreline's uber-liberal Democrat Maralyn Chase - came from fellow Democrats who just couldn't stomach the idea of signing off on legislation like a symbolic endorsement of Eddie Eagle while nothing of substance was even being considered.
And although she championed the bill, Chase - who also sponsored a bill that would have required Eddie Eagle to enter the state's classrooms - wasn't wild about the lack of meaningful legislation either. According to a statement issued after the vote, Chase said she was "deeply disappointed" that committees controlled by the Republican Majority had not allowed truly meaningful gun violence prevention legislation to advance.
"If we are serious about stopping gun violence and tragic accidents involving kids and guns, then we must advance legislation that requires universal background checks and address the issues within our mental health system," says Chase. "I had hoped that we would take a sensible approach to gun violence. There's no good reason to not require universal background checks. There's no good reason to allow violent people access to assault weapons. ... If they now try to say they've done something about gun violence, don't you believe them. Our paramount duty is to protect the children and families in our state. At least so far we have failed them."
Seattle's Sen. Dave Frockt was one of the eight legislators who voted against the bill. Frockt told The News Tribune in Tacoma, "While I acknowledge the benefits of this program....in my view, I think that we are missing the ball here a little bit with the overall picture. ... I think we should be moving forward with other measures that are more important than this one. I think that we have an obligation to make a statement with our vote."
According to Senate Democrats Communications Specialist Aaron Wasser Chase has "no illusion that [the Eddie Eagle legislation] is some sort of cure-all," and she "understands why [the Democrats that voted against it] voted the way they did."
For those keeping score, the eight Democratic senators who voted no on the proclamation were Seattle's Dave Frockt, Adam Kline, Bob Hasegawa and Ed Murray, Andy Billig of Spokane, Christine Rolfes of Bainbridge Island, Kevin Ranker of Orcas Island and Jeannie Darneille of Tacoma.