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Grandmothers Call for Gun-Violence Prevention in Olympia

The group Grandmothers Against Gun Violence is in Olympia a week after three shootings in Seattle. (Grandmothers Against Gun Violence)
The group Grandmothers Against Gun Violence is in Olympia a week after three shootings in Seattle. (Grandmothers Against Gun Violence)
January 28, 2020

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Grandmothers are in Olympia today urging lawmakers to consider a spate of measures to reduce gun violence.

The group Grandmothers Against Gun Violence, formed after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting, is calling for the passage of bills that would ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines and assault-style weapons, centralize background checks and more. Co-chair of the group Margaret Heldring said she respects the tradition of gun ownership in families, such as for hunting, noting Grandmothers Against Gun Violence is not opposed to safe gun ownership.

"The whole aim of our work and the work of the gun-violence prevention movement is to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, and the incidents in Seattle really highlight that," Heldring said.

Last week, three shootings happened in Seattle within a couple-block radius. In a shooting on Wednesday where one person was killed, Seattle police say one of the suspects has been arrested more than 50 times.

Grandmothers Against Gun Violence also is supporting bills that would help keep people who cannot own guns from acquiring ammunition and would allow the Washington state patrol to dispose of crime guns. The latter measure passed out of the House last week.

Jennifer Dolan-Waldman co-chairs the group's legislative committee and said broad support for three 2018 gun measures passed by voters shows public opinion on reducing gun violence is steps ahead of the Legislature.

"When people go to vote and they have a choice as to what kinds of regulation they want to allow in, they're pretty clearly saying that they want to have things tightened up because there are just too many incidents like this for people to feel secure no matter where they are," Dolan-Waldman said.

Heldring said the grandmothers involved with the group have learned they have some moral authority to speak about this issue - and people listen.

"There's this sense of wisdom, life experience," Heldring said. "None of us is building a resume at this point in life. We're not interested in personal gain. We are truly blessed to be at a point in life where we can think about what's good for everybody."

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA