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Tue., Jan. 5, 2016, 3:46 p.m.

Washington lawmakers weigh in on Obama gun actions

President Barack Obama's announced executive actions designed to curtail gun violence drew a measured response from Spokane's congresswoman and applause from Washington's two U.S. senators.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the fourth-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, issued a statement after Obama's tearful address from the White House in which he formally announced plans to increase background checks for gun buyers. McMorris Rodgers, who has tackled the Obama administration on topics from health care to its support of a nuclear deal with Iran, said she wanted time to review the extent of Obama's actions and how they might conflict with Constitutional rights.

"We will closely review the details of the President’s executive ‘guidance’ and continue to move forward commonsense reforms that reaffirm our commitment to the safety and the constitutional rights of every American,” McMorris Rodgers' prepared statement read in part.

Sen. Maria Cantwell also alluded to the difficulty of enacting reforms that don't tread on the rights of citizens to bear arms. But, she said, the president's actions are needed.

"While many of these actions are already law in Washington state, I am pleased the president is trying to expand these provisions nationally to protect our communities while also protecting the legitimate rights of law-abiding American gun owners," Cantwell said in a statement.

From her Twitter account, Sen. Patty Murray said the reforms laid out by Obama were overdue.

"It's a complex issue, but that doesn't mean we do nothing," Murray's tweet read in part.

Obama's actions on guns comes almost a week after a Washington State Supreme Court ruling involving the Second Amendment. In that decision, a majority of justices ruled that the federal constitutional protection of the right to "bear arms" did not extend to a kitchen knife possessed by a Seattle man during a traffic stop in 2010.

The full statements of Spokane-area lawmakers follow:

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane:

“Americans ought to feel safe in their homes and communities, and our hearts break with each senseless act of violence. As a parent, these tragedies always hit close to home.

“I believe the security and constitutional rights of the American people are not mutually exclusive. Actions that target law-abiding citizens jeopardize our constitutional foundation and threaten to distract from the roots of the problem: terrorists, criminals, and a broken mental health system. We will closely review the details of the President’s executive ‘guidance’ and continue to move forward commonsense reforms that reaffirm our commitment to the safety and the constitutional rights of every American.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Seattle:

"Today, President Obama took action to help end senseless gun violence in our communities. While many of these actions are already law in Washington state, I am pleased the president is trying to expand these provisions nationally to protect our communities while also protecting the legitimate rights of law-abiding American gun owners."

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Bothell:




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Kip Hill
Kip Hill joined The Spokesman-Review in 2013. He currently is a reporter for the City Desk covering City Hall and the marijuana industry, and he hosts the newspaper's podcast.

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