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Special legislative session on school safety proposed

A special legislative session to address school safety has been proposed. (KOMO file photo)

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The Texas school shooting has a key state lawmaker calling for a special session of the state Legislature to deal with school safety and gun violence.

At the same time a citizens group is stepping up its own effort to get a gun safety initiative passed.

In downtown Seattle the names of the people killed on Friday were read followed by a brief moment of silence at a gathering Monday of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility.

"I think it's really important for us to acknowledge that the time is not for prayer anymore," said state Sen. David Frockt, a Seattle Democrat, who was at the luncheon. "We pray for the families. But it's not thoughts and prayers, it's about action." Frockt tried and failed to get school and gun safety measures through the legislature last session.

"I think we ought to take action," said state Sen. John Braun, a Chehalis Republican. He is the one calling for that special session. "And I say that because there are a ton of things we already agree on, whether it's mental health that I have proposed for community mental health centers and has broad bipartisan support or anonymous call-in lines."

But one of the key sticking points this last session was raising the age to buy semiautomatic assault rifles from 18 to 21 years old.

"I'm always open to working together to advance public policy, but we have to have gun policy be part of the equation," Frockt said.

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Braun responded, "I'm not in favor of bans on semiautomatic weapons. I'm happy to talk about that."

Frockt said the Alliance for Gun Responsibility may take it out of the Legislature's hands with trying to get Initiative 1639 on the ballot.

It reads: "This measure would require enhanced background checks, training, and waiting periods for sales or delivery of semiautomatic assault rifles; criminalize certain storage and unauthorized use; impose age limitations; and enact other firearm-safety requirements." Organizers have until July 6 to get 260,000 valid signatures for you to vote on the November ballot.

As far as calling a special session the governor issued a statement saying, "The obstacle to reducing gun violence has not been too few days in legislative session. ... There's a legislative work group talking about this, and we look forward to reading their report."

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