By Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer
Published: February 25, 2016, 7:50 PM
A measure carving out $1.2 million to provide security guards at military recruiting centers in Washington passed the House on Thursday.
Southwest Washington lawmaker and gun-rights advocate Rep. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, spearheaded the effort.
Wilson was initially inspired to act after a gunman killed four U.S. Marines and a Navy sailor at a military recruiting station in Tennessee. Her earlier effort called on the governor to allow members of the Washington National Guard to routinely carry firearms.
Wilson said although the bill wasn’t exactly what she hoped for, it still provides “good and needed protections.”
The measure, which was introduced as an amendment to the broader House budget on Thursday afternoon, would increase the general fund for 2016 by more than $1.2 million to provide security guards, soft body armor and portable ballistic panels at military recruiting centers throughout the state.
The Washington National Guard has recruiters in 34 facilities in the state, nine of which are storefront locations, such as in shopping centers. In Vancouver, armed citizens have voluntarily sat outside the recruiting offices at the Vancouver Village shopping center.
Vancouver Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, voted against the measure, saying, “more guns (are) not the answer. More mental health counseling is.”