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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

In Sign Of The Times, Washington Now Has Mass Shooter Work Group


In the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and staff dead, the state of Washington established a “work group” on mass shootings. It will hold its third meeting on Tuesday.

Work group members include police and prosecutors, educators, the ACLU as well as family members of victims. Their assignment is to make recommendations on how to intervene and prevent mass shootings. The group is supposed to report back to the Legislature by the end of the year.

Steve Strachan is with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. He says there are no easy answers, but the goal is to get people with divergent views together to look for common ground.

“I think that if we have a thoughtful conversation about mental health, about red flags, about privacy, I think we can make real progress so I’m optimistic that we can do something substantive and I think our Legislature is interested in that,” Strachan said.

The work group was created at the request of Republican state Sen. Steve O’Ban. On the agenda for the upcoming meeting: lessons learned from the 2014 shooting at Seattle Pacific University. 

Strachan spoke with Austin Jenkins on TVW’s “Inside Olympia” program.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."