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Inslee signs legislation expanding places where guns are banned

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a bill into law that prohibits having a weapon at various locations that include zoos, libraries and public transit facilities.

However, the prohibitions under Senate Bill 5444 do not apply to those who have a valid concealed carry permit.

At the bill’s Wednesday signing, Inslee said that the bill “provides common sense safeguards against gun violence” at public locations where children are often present.

Carrying weapons was already illegal at the following locations: restricted access areas of a jail or law enforcement facility, courtrooms, the restricted access areas of a public health facility, bars and restricted access areas of commercial service airports

Violating the law is classified as a gross misdemeanor.

The initial bill was much more expansive and would have extended the gun to “the premises of a city’s, town’s, county’s, or other municipality’s neighborhood, community, or regional park facilities at which children and youth are likely to be present” such as playgrounds, sports fields, swimming pools, community centers and skate parks. The original bill also did not include any exemptions.

SB 5444’s sponsor, Sen. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, wrote in a statement that “today marks a significant step forward in prioritizing the safety of Washingtonians. With these designated areas off-limits to weapons, we’re proactively reducing risks and fostering environments where families can enjoy their time without fear.”

Also exempt from the bill’s proscriptions are correctional personnel as well as color and honor guards.

SB 5444 passed in the Senate in a 29-20 vote and in the House in a 58-36 vote. The law takes effect on June 6.

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