Gildon introduces legislation to reinstate 21-gun salute on Capitol Campus

Sen. Chris Gildon will be sponsoring a bill to restore the military tradition of the 21-gun salute during the 2022 legislative session.

Gildon, R-Puyallup, is sponsoring this bill after a 21-gun salute was not permitted during the 71st Korean War anniversary ceremony on the Washington state Capitol Campus earlier this year. He plans to introduce it in December when the filing period for new legislation begins.

The bill would amend RCW 9.41.305, which prohibits the open carry of a firearm or other weapon on the Capitol Campus grounds, to allow color guards to carry weapons for 21-gun salutes and memorials.

“I was very disappointed that we were not able to honor those who fought in the Korean War with a 21-gun salute this summer” said Gildon. “As Veterans Day approaches, let’s not forget how important this tradition is in honoring and remembering the individuals who died for our freedoms. This law is another example of bad policy that was rushed through during the last legislative session and must be fixed when the 2022 session convenes in January.”

“As a spouse of a Vietnam veteran, I experienced and witnessed the hardship and sacrifice made by veterans and their families,” said Lori Wada, former commissioner for the Washington state Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs. “Any war veterans representing America to protect democracy in foreign lands risking their lives deserve honor, dignity and respect.  Safety measures were put in place to recognize our Korean veterans, whose numbers are dwindling due to aging. Prohibiting a 21-gun salute and color guard at the veteran memorial service lessens our commemorative efforts and respect.”

“It was very embarrassing to hold the Korean War anniversary ceremony without a color guard and 21-gun salute to honor the veterans in attendance,” said James Yang, chairman of the Board of the Korean American Association of Tacoma. “I am stunned and saddened by a law that prohibits the possession of decorative rifles used by color guards in ceremonies honoring our military and veterans. I am very pleased to see that Senator Chris Gildon recognizes this issue and is quickly working to amend this law.”

Additionally, the Veterans Legislative Coalition voices its “most strong support” for this effort as the military rifle salute is among the highest of honors that may be rendered.