Assault Weapons Ban resolution fails Lynnwood City Council vote

LYNNWOOD, Wash., April 12, 2023—Passions flare at Monday’s city council meeting surrounding a resolution proposed to support SHB-1240, a bill prohibiting the statewide manufacture, sale, and import of firearms classified by the Washington Legislature as “assault weapons.”

“I move Lynnwood City Council Resolution 2023-02, a Resolution in support of SHB-1240 an act relating to establishing firearms related safety measures to increase public safety by prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution, selling and offering for sale of assault weapons,” Councilman George Hurst, the resolution’s primary sponsor, motioned.

He continued, “Whereas the Washington State legislature is deliberating on SHB-1240; whereas the Lynnwood City Council has a priority to increase public safety; whereas there have been 131, as of today, mass shootings so far during 2023 in the United States; whereas some of the deadliest mass shootings in America all have one thing in common, the shooter used an assault weapon, a lethal weapon designed for war, to kill as many people as possible; and whereas in the United States, guns are now leading cause of death for children and teens. 

“Now, therefore, it be resolved that the Lynnwood City Council urges the Washington State Legislature to pass SHB 1240 as a measure of public safety and as a measure to stop the availability of assault weapons.”

The motion was seconded by Councilman Josh Binda.

Hurst presented his case of “stop dithering” based on a Dave Ross commentary he heard on Seattle’s Morning News that inspired him to bring the resolution forward.

“As a Lynnwood City Councilmember, my response to Dave Ross’ admonition against dithering was to write a resolution in support of that bill [SHB-1240], and tonight I ask the City Council to approve that resolution,” Hurst said.

Fellow council members critical of the intention of the resolution ranged from accusing the councilman of “violating his oath of office” to using a tragedy for political gain as Hurst is up for reelection this year. Council members were also concerned that passing a resolution may expose Lynnwood to costly legal expenses when the SHB-1240 is challenged in the courts upon being signed into law by Governor Jay Inslee.

“I really don’t understand why it is when tragedy occurs that politicians immediately run to try and take the rights away from law-abiding citizens,” Councilman Patrick Decker said. “The gun deaths that occur around the country, particularly with children, are tragic. They don’t occur only in our country, they occur in other places as well, and if not by handguns and by other means.

“There is evil in the world. It exists. It exists in people. We cannot drive evil out of the world by passing laws. We cannot get criminals to stop behaving in an illegal way by passing laws. Making it illegal for criminals to use a weapon to do something illegal makes no sense at all. The law already exists, making it illegal.”

Councilman Decker then presented statistics on gun violence, the impact of crime on marginalized groups, and argued how SHB-1240 is “urban-centric” and not inclusive of rural and suburban communities.

Council President Shannon Sessions raised the concern of setting precedence of the council inserting itself into state-level legislation; whereas Council Vice President Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby shared her concern for the need of such a non-binding resolution since the bill has already passed both chambers and is now heading back to the House for a concurrence vote on three Senate amendments.

“Are we giving them [Lynnwood residents] false hope,” Vice President Altamirano-Crosby said. She later continued, “This isn’t going to do anything in our city of Lynnwood, it is only a piece of paper.”

The Lynnwood City Attorney Lisa Marshall confirmed with the council that the resolution is only a consideration for the Washington Legislature for which the city has no control over the authority of the state.

Councilman Jim Smith accused Councilman Hurst of “promoting” his resolution to the Human Services Commission for which commissioners, during public comments, urged the council to approve. Pam Hurst, the wife of Councilman George Hurst, serves on the commission and was joined by fellow commissioner, Caroline Judd-Herzfeldt who spoke on the resolution.

“What we are seeing in our community is that we are being “Seattlized,” Councilman Smith said. We are seeing more and more crime coming to Lynnwood and what this resolution is doing is saying that the young [and] marginalized community is not going to be able to protect themselves.”

The motion for the resolution failed 4-3 with Sessions, Altamirano-Crosby, Smith, and Decker voting against; and Hurst, Sutton and Binda voting to approve.

If SHB-1240 receives final passage on a second House vote, Washington state will join nine other states—California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York—and Washington, D.C., in banning “assault weapons” since federal restrictions expired in 2004.

Currently, two cases are making their way through the federal court system: Bianchi v Frosh, which challenges Maryland’s ban, and Miller v Bonta, which targets California’s. Both are expected to eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court which recently ruled last summer in its Bruen decision that lower courts can no longer consider whether gun laws serve the public interests but rather if the law is consistent with the country’s “historical tradition of firearm regulation.”

Hurst told the Lynnwood Times after the meeting that what is most needed is mental health services to mitigate gun violence for residents. He will be resurrecting an ARPA request to fund community outreach and mental health services in schools.

Lynnwood Sewer Comprehensive Plan

The City Council unanimously (7-0) to approve the 2023 Lynnwood Sewer Comprehensive Plan that will address an aging infrastructure, increase capacity and major upgrades for the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

National League of Cities

Council Vice President Dr. Julieta Altamirano-Crosby shared the accomplishments of her attendance officially representing the City of Lynnwood at the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. She attended the “Celebrate Diversity Breakfast” focused on honoring excellence in Municipal Multicultural Initiatives and the ARPA Implementation in your Communities meetings.

In addition to attending several speaking engagements and panel discussions, Dr. Altamirano-Crosby met with the City of Lynnwood’s lobbyist who submitted requests to Representative Rick Larsen, Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for $5 million for the Scriber Lake Phase 3 project and $2 million for the Maple Stormwater Demonstration Park.

The Lynnwood Times will be providing more information on the Council Vice President’s trip in a separate article.

Councilman Josh Binda, requested the council reimburse him for up to $1,000—an amount he told the Lynnwood Times after the meeting—in travel expenses to the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, D.C.

There was some tension amongst councilmembers whether Councilman Binda was authorized to attend the trip. His name was not on a list of 100 delegates from Washington state who officially represented their municipalities.

Binda claims he was “intimidated” and “bullied” by Council President Shannon Sessions to not go on the trip. According to Binda, prior to going on the trip he asked to seek legal advice on the rules for approved travel to the NLC conference for which President Sessions informed him he may contact the City’s attorney for clarification.

“It is not required for the council to approve anybody to go, its required for the permission from financial in our council rules to get that approve,” Council President Sessions said.

After City Attorney Lisa Marshall shared with the council that Councilman Binda never contacted her regarding any travel to Washington D.C. for the NLC conference, the councilman said that he “attended on his own merit” because, as the conference was a week away, he felt there wasn’t enough time for the attorney to respond to his questions.

“The reason I did not have a conversation with the attorney, because I decided it was a week out from the conference and by the time I would have a conversation with Lisa [the City’s attorney], I would already miss the deadline to make it,” Councilman Binda said. “So, that is why I decided to attend on my own merit and now I am requesting reimbursement of that funding.”

Councilman Smith asked for the official financial statements to be presented to the council for review in a later meeting.

Proclamations and Appointments

The Council unanimously (7-0) appointed Anthony Angel to the Tourism Advisory Committee, Position 6.

Lynnwood assault weapons
Front Row: Ryan Bush, Tourism Project Manager (left) with newly appointed Tourism Commissioner Anthony Angel. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Councilman Decker presented the National Volunteer of the Week proclamation to Mary-Anne Grafton, Lynnwood Senior Center Supervisor, Christina Chung, Terry Strausser, and Sydney Hoard.

Lynnwood assault weapons
Front Row: Councilman Patrick Decker (left) with (L-R) Mary-Anne Grafton, Lynnwood Senior Center Supervisor, Christina Chung, Sydney Hoard, and Terry Strausser. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Councilman Hurst presented the Arbor Day proclamation to Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Lynn Sordel, Nick Coelho, and Hasti Askham.

Lynnwood assault weapons
Front Row: Councilman George Hurst (left) with (L-R) Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Director Lynn Sordel, Hasti Askham, and Nick Coelho. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Mario Lotmore

Mario Lotmore is originally from The Bahamas and for the last seven years has called Mukilteo, WA his home. Having lived in every region of the United States has exposed him to various cultures, people, and approaches to life. Lotmore created the Lynnwood Times to represent the character of a diverse and growing Lynnwood. The launching of the city’s community newspaper will only help bring neighborhoods together. Lotmore was an industrial engineer by trade and proven success implementing and managing lean accountable processes and policies within his eighteen years of operations excellence, strategic development, and project management in the aerospace, manufacturing, and banking industries. Over his career he has saved and created hundreds of union and non-union jobs. Lotmore is the President of a Homeowner Association, an active Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics volunteer in his community, and former Boeing 747 Diversity Council leader. Mario’s talent is finding “that recipe” of shared destiny to effectively improve the quality of life for others.

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