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Sam Strahan's mother supports bill limiting 'high-capacity' magazines

Ami Strahan spoke with the state's Law and Justice Committee about high-capacity magazines, which may be banned in Washington this legislative session.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Ami Strahan, whose son Sam died in the Freeman High School shooting in 2017, spoke with state lawmakers Monday during a meeting about gun safety.

At the Senate Law and Justice Committee hearing, Strahan spoke in favor of Senate Bill 5062, which bans magazines with more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Supporters say the bill prevents mass shooters from reloading quickly, therefore saving lives.

“Had [the shooter’s] high-capacity magazine rifle not jammed, just imagine the carnage that would have happened at the school that day,” Strahan said.

The shooting also left three teenage girls injured.

The proposed law would limit magazines sold in Washington state to just 10 rounds of ammunition. Six states, including California, currently ban the sale of so-called high-capacity magazines.

Opponents argue that most high-capacity magazines are owned by law abiding citizens, and the measure wouldn’t have an impact on crime; rather it would prevent people from defending themselves.

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A spokesman for the NRA at the meeting said a ban on these magazines is unneeded.

“[High-capacity magazines] make up over half the magazines owned in the United States,” he said. “They’re not ‘high-capacity,’ they’re not uncommon.”

There were also multiple people in attendance wearing stickers reading “NRA stand and fight.”

Strahan said she felt the need to speak out due to the pain of losing her son.

“I know how terrible this has been for me for my family and for all the other families,” she said.

She also said she wants to continue to work to increase gun safety in memory of her late son.

“I can’t bring Sam back, but if I can make it better for other people so that people don’t have to experience this, then I’ll do it, every day,” Strahan said.

Caleb Sharpe, the alleged shooter at Freeman High School, faces many charges for the shooting, including a count of first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and 51 counts of second-degree assault. The trial has not begun as it has not been determined if Sharpe will be tried as a minor or an adult.

The Law and Justice Committee heard testimony Monday on a series of other gun-related bills aimed at banning untraceable firearms and allowing police to seize weapons during domestic violence calls.

Senate Bill 5143 requires officers to confiscate firearms and ammunition while they’re making a domestic violence call and they believe the weapon was used or threatened to be used. Law enforcement also must send the report to a prosecutor.

Senate Bill 5061 would ban “ghost guns” or undetectable and untraceable firearms.

That bill comes after Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued in July when the Trump administration allowed a Texas company to release blueprints for a 3D printed gun online, which opponents say can be made without a background check.

A fourth gun-related bill, Senate Bill 5174, moves to require issuing authorities to approve or deny concealed pistol licenses within 30 days or 60 days if the applicant doesn’t have a state ID. Applicants must also fulfill handgun proficiency requirements for approval.

All four bills will be reviewed January 24 in the committee's executive session.

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KREM's Seattle sister station KING 5 contributed to this report

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