Expect legislators to discuss mass shootings next session
In the aftermath high-profile shootings at the Clackamas mall and at an elementary school in Connecticut, several legislators from Clark County say they expect to have difficult discussions in the upcoming legislative session about preventing those acts of violence.
State Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, already got people talking about the subject when she said she was considering a controversial bill that would allow teachers to carry guns in school. Pike was quick to point out that the idea was her own, and it wasn’t necessarily supported by other Republicans in the House.
State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, didn’t say whether she could support arming school teachers, but she did commend Pike for starting an important conversation.
“I’m a supporter of bringing people to the table,” Rivers said. “Look at how many years we’ve avoided having this discussion — What are our options? What can we do? If you don’t like (Pike’s idea), what else can we do?”
Meanwhile, state Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, and state Sen.-elect Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, both said recently that legislators should be talking about improving the state’s mental health care system as another way to prevent random shootings.
The 105-day legislative session begins Jan. 14.
For more about what to expect in the 2013 Washington Legislature, check out my story running on Jan. 13.