Findings and intent—1995 c 129: "(1) The people of the state of Washington find and declare that:
(a) Armed criminals pose an increasing and major threat to public safety and can turn any crime into serious injury or death.
(b) Criminals carry deadly weapons for several key reasons including: Forcing the victim to comply with their demands; injuring or killing anyone who tries to stop the criminal acts; and aiding the criminal in escaping.
(c) Current law does not sufficiently stigmatize the carrying and use of deadly weapons by criminals, and far too often there are no deadly weapon enhancements provided for many felonies, including murder, arson, manslaughter, and child molestation and many other sex offenses including child luring.
(d) Current law also fails to distinguish between gun-carrying criminals and criminals carrying knives or clubs.
(2) By increasing the penalties for carrying and using deadly weapons by criminals and closing loopholes involving armed criminals, the people intend to:
(a) Stigmatize the carrying and use of any deadly weapons for all felonies with proper deadly weapon enhancements.
(b) Reduce the number of armed offenders by making the carrying and use of the deadly weapon not worth the sentence received upon conviction.
(c) Distinguish between the gun predators and criminals carrying other deadly weapons and provide greatly increased penalties for gun predators and for those offenders committing crimes to acquire firearms.
(d) Bring accountability and certainty into the sentencing system by tracking individual judges and holding them accountable for their sentencing practices in relation to the state's sentencing guidelines for serious crimes." [1995 c 129 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 159).]
Severability—1995 c 129: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1995 c 129 § 22 (Initiative Measure No. 159).]