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After the recent mass shooting in Florida, Washington state lawmakers faced immense pressure to enact gun control legislation. But a bill to address school shootings made little progress, despite Democratic control of the House and Senate.

Art in the halls at Marysville-Pilchuck High School following the mass shooting in October 2014.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Last month a teen stormed into his former high school in Florida and killed 17 people. Teenagers from the school are demanding that the federal government ban assault-style guns like the one used there. 

The incident prompted a question to KUOW about counseling for school-age children. So we talked to David Bilides. He's the head counselor at Jane Addams Middle School in Seattle.

Bilides is worried about how students there are handling this latest news.

After Parkland, there have been many calls to make schools a "harder target" — for example, by arming teachers. But there's a decent amount of research out there on what actually makes schools safer, and most of it doesn't point to more guns.

More than 100 Washington high school students rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday demanding restrictions on purchases of military-style weapons and tougher background checks.

A new Washington state law designed to crack down on felons, domestic abusers and others who lie and try to buy a gun is already resulting in prosecutions.

An increasing number of Americans, both Republicans and Democrats, want more gun regulation, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll that surveyed people in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting.

File: Dec. 27, 2012, Cori Sorensen, a fourth grade teacher in Highland, Utah, receives firearms training from personal defense instructor Jim McCarthy during concealed weapons training for 200 Utah teachers.
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File

Following a mass shooting at a Florida high school two weeks ago, lawmakers and President Donald Trump have reintroduced the idea of arming teachers. In Washington, there are a few school districts that already have armed staff.

Toppenish School District near Yakima was the first to have guns on campus in 2014. Nineteen armed administrators are on school grounds including Superintendent John Cerna.


Gov. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., right, speaks about school safety during an event with President Donald Trump and members of the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Feb. 26, 2018, in Washington.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

This week in a meeting with President Trump, Washington Governor Jay Inslee recommended our state’s “extreme risk protection orders” as a way to keep guns away from people in crisis. Inslee said the orders have been “supremely effective” at allowing families to get firearms away from people at risk of harming themselves or others.


Washington Republicans Propose Voluntary Firearm Training For Teachers

Feb 28, 2018

Lawmakers in Washington state continue to look for ways to prevent mass shootings in schools. On Wednesday, Republicans in the state Senate proposed creating a voluntary training program for school staff on how to respond to an active shooter.

In this Dec. 9, 2015, photo, a sales associate walks past semiautomatic rifles at Bullseye Sport gun shop in Riverside, Calif.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Kim Malcolm talks with state Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island) about why he's co-sponsoring a bill that would raise the age requirements to purchase military-style weapons from 18 to 21. Malcolm also talks with state Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) about why he's opposed to the bill.

Updated at 7:40 p.m. ET

Walmart and Dick's Sporting Goods say they won't sell guns to customers under 21, and both are putting new restrictions on ammunition sales.

Dick's Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports retailers in the U.S., has announced it is immediately ending its sales of military-style semi-automatic rifles and is requiring all customers to be older than 21 to buy a firearm at its stores. Additionally, the company no longer will sell high-capacity magazines.

The Washington Legislature has sent a ban on bump stocks to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature. A bump stock is a trigger modification device that make a semi-automatic rifle function more like an automatic weapon.

Lawmakers in Washington and Tallahassee have discussed a lot of ideas to reduce school shootings, but on the hardest questions — like what to do about guns — there is just no clear consensus.

There are few signs of clarity from President Trump, who has taken a leading role in the debate without providing strong direction to solve the problem.

Garfield High School in Seattle.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY ND 2.0)/http://bit.ly/1GgN2Xe

Seattle's Garfield High School plans to discuss how to handle threats of violence with students and staff when they return from break Monday. Seattle Police arrested a Garfield student before the break for threatening a mass shooting, a threat that his teacher had ignored weeks earlier, according to police reports.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is reiterating his call for state lawmakers to pass a series of what he calls “common sense” gun control measures. The Democrat made his comments Wednesday in response to the Florida school shooting.

A photo posted on the Facebook page  of Bellevue's Low Price Guns store.
Facebook Photo/Low Price Guns

Kim Malcolm talks with Jason Cazes, owner of Low Price Guns in Bellevue, about why he's decided to not sell long guns, which include military-style assault weapons, to people under the age of 21. 

KUOW/Amy Radil

Marilyn Balcerak said she can predict that the birthdays of her son and stepdaughter will be hard. What’s harder to predict are the random events that will take her back to the day when her son James — who had autism and struggled with depression — killed his stepsister Brianna and then himself in 2015. One of those events was the shooting at the high school in Florida last week.

"Why did he even have a gun?" — it's a common refrain in America, often after mass shootings by people who legally aren't supposed to have firearms.

One of the worst recent examples was the massacre in a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church last November, in which 26 people were killed by a man whose domestic violence conviction should have barred him from buying guns.

The Washington state Senate has passed a ban on trigger modification devices known as bump stocks that allow semi-automatic firearms to operate more like automatic weapons.

The vote Thursday evening came in response to last October’s mass shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and left hundreds more injured.

Tommy Le's family and attorneys announce their decision to file a $20 million wrongful death and civil rights violation lawsuit against King County, the King County Sheriff's Office and (former) Sheriff John Urquhart in 2017.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld

A new federal lawsuit says a King County sheriff’s deputy violated the civil rights of a man he shot to death last June.

Victims Of Las Vegas Shooting Testify On Gun Legislation In Olympia

Jan 15, 2018

Hundreds of people crowded hearing rooms in the Washington state Capitol Monday to testify on proposed gun control legislation. Among other things, lawmakers are looking to ban so-called bump stocks which allow firearms to fire faster.

Gun rights activists from across Washington state rallied in Olympia Friday. They came to protest proposed gun control legislation that supporters say will reduce mass gun violence.

Early numbers on a new Washington state law designed to crack down on felons, domestic abusers and others who try to buy a gun show that since July, more than 1,200 would-be gun buyers have failed background checks.

Co-director of HYPE, Charissa Eggleston, poses for a portrait on Saturday, August 5, 2017, at the Federal Way Boys & Girls Club in Federal Way. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Earlier this year we told you about Kelli Lauritzen and Charissa Eggleston, two moms in Federal Way.

Alarmed at an outbreak of gun violence, they decided to act.


A photo of Charleena Lyles stands in memorial.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

An attorney for the family of Charleena Lyles says a police review board’s finding that Seattle officers acted within department policy when they shot her last June is inadequate.

The board’s decision was revealed last month, but a newly released report lays out the thinking behind it.

The House approved a bill on Wednesday that would ease legal restrictions for carrying concealed firearms across state lines – a move pushed by the National Rifle Association that comes just weeks after mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas.

On a mostly party-line vote, the measure easily passed, 231-198, although 14 Republicans voted no. Six Democrats voted for the so-called reciprocity measure, which would allow a gun owner with the proper permit in any state to carry a concealed firearm to another state where it is also legal.

This story has been updated

All firearms will be banned from the Washington state Senate public viewing galleries when the 2018 legislative session begins on January 8.

Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, a Democrat who serves as the president of the Senate, issued that order Monday, extending a previous order banning openly-carried guns in the Senate galleries.

When U.S. officials feared an outbreak of the Zika virus last year, the Department of Health and Human Services and state officials kicked into high gear.

They tested mosquitoes neighborhood by neighborhood in Miami and other hot Gulf Coast communities where the virus was likely to flourish. They launched outreach campaigns to encourage people to use bug spray. And they pushed the development of a vaccine.

Devin Kelley, the man we now know killed more than two dozen people at a Texas church on Sunday, escaped a mental health facility before the Air Force could try him on charges that he beat his wife and baby stepson back in 2012.

And President Trump, like many people before him, is pointing to mental health — not guns — as the cause of the church massacre.

In the wake of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, most Americans — regardless of party — favor tightening restrictions on firearms, according to a new NPR/Ipsos poll.

But significant partisan divides remain — and perhaps relatedly, they exist alongside divides in knowledge about guns in America.

Eight-in-10 Americans told the pollsters they favor bans on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and "bump stocks," an accessory used by the Las Vegas shooter that allows a semi-automatic rifle to fire like an automatic weapon.

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