Stopping gun violence in our communities

August 6, 2019

In eight months of 2019, mass shootings have killed over 60 women, men, and children. In the course of this past week, shootings in El Paso, Dayton, and Gilroy claimed 33 lives.

The motivations behind many of these mass shootings are rooted in racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. Data shows that for every 100 people in the United States, there are 120 guns. Most Americans have easy access to semi-automatic weapons, and many of our communities experience violence and terror all too regularly.

At YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish, we have a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. As an agency with this mission, we must take a stance to create safe living conditions free of racism and violence for the women, children, and men that we serve.

Currently, the state of Washington has the following new gun laws in effect: 

  • Initiative 1639 - Raises the legal purchase age for semiautomatic rifles to 21 years old, and requires enhanced background checks for buyers of semiautomatic rifles, as well as a safe gun storage provision.
  • Senate Bill 5205 - Changes the law effecting people found incompetent to stand trial, banning that person from having a gun until the courts allow it.
  • House Bill 1949 - Commissions a study to recommend how Washington can centralize background checks for gun purchases.
  • House Bill 1786 - Allows police to take possession of a person’s weapon when they are serving certain types of protection orders.
  • House Bill 1225 - Allows police who are responding to domestic violence calls to temporarily seize a person’s firearm if there is probable cause to believe a crime had been committed. 
  • House Bill 1465 - Changes state law so conceal-carry license holders cannot take home a gun on the day of purchase. 

It is essential that we at YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish use our strong racial equity lens to engage in political advocacy at the local, state, and national level as we strive for increased gun control measures. Please write your local and state elected officials in support of the above laws, as well as calling upon State Attorney General Bob Ferguson to hold any official who does not enforce these laws accountable.

In solidarity,

Maria Chavez Wilcox, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish Chief Executive Officer

YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish Public Policy Committee Members

About YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish:

YWCA is the region’s oldest and largest organization focused on the needs of women, and provides services and advocacy to support stable homes and economic advancement, reduce violence and improve health, and promote racial equity and social justice. With programs that serve more than 11,000 people each year, YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. To learn more, please visit our website:

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