CENTRALIA… Senate Republican Leader John Braun says Washington residents shocked by the continued wave of murders, shootings, car thefts and other lawless behavior should direct their anger and frustration toward Democrat legislators and their abject failure to reestablish public safety by supporting anti-crime legislation.

“The majority Democrats did almost nothing this year to fix the anti-police laws they passed in 2021. Those laws are making life easier for criminals in our state – and the criminals know it. They aren’t worried about the three firearms bills signed yesterday. Those will do nothing about the record rates of homicide and other violent crimes in our largest counties. The car thieves are having a big year and are probably grateful that the majority blocked our efforts to allow more police pursuits. Criminals can read how the Clark County sheriff has cut back on calls because of short staffing. Republicans proposed a solution to help communities hire more officers, but Democrats refused to help. And why stop robbing pot shops when the majority blocks a Republican bill to increase the penalty?

“The members of our caucus were outraged this year when the majority nearly passed legislation to reduce penalties for crimes involving a firearm, and allow the most violent felons in custody to seek early release. I understand why people get livid when they see video of people being assaulted on our streets, and perceive the courts have become a revolving door for criminals. Still, it’s completely wrong to spout things like ‘get a rope’ or call for any form of violent response. That’s completely unacceptable, especially from people who are or aspire to be lawmakers.

“You don’t fight crime with inflammatory comments. You fight crime by making the right laws, and providing the resources to enforce those laws. Our Democratic colleagues have shown they can’t be trusted on either count. People who think the pendulum has swung too far in the criminals’ favor have an opportunity to hold the majority accountable for how its policies make them feel less safe. They can do that by making sure the members of the next Legislature put more priority on reestablishing public safety.”