Washington: 2013 Session Begins and Gun Control is on the Agenda

Posted on January 25, 2013

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The NRA-ILA lobbyist in the Capitol has heard rumors and speculation that a myriad of gun control legislation is on the verge of being introduced. Even worse, our friendly legislators have indicated that they believe these measures could pass with bi-partisan support.  At the top of this list are misguided bills that would limit magazine capacity and impose a universal background check system.  There is also talk of a so-called “assault weapons” ban which would ban many commonly owned semi-automatic firearms.

Gun control measures have proven time and time again to be useless at curbing crime - criminals, by definition, have zero regard for the law. Anti-gun measures are successful at one thing only - encroaching on law-abiding citizens’ Second Amendment rights! 

It is imperative that you contact your state Senator and Representative TODAY and respectfully express your opposition to the above-mentioned onerous proposals.  To determine who your elected officials are and for their contact information, please click here.  You may also contact your state Senator and Representative by calling the toll-free legislative hotline at 1-800-562-6000.

On a positive note, state Representative Dean Takko (D-19) and twelve other state Representatives have introduced a much-needed shooting range protection bill.  House Bill 1184 would protect existing shooting ranges from nuisance actions due to noise.

Shooting ranges are critical to competitive and recreational shooters, hunters, law enforcement and individuals who just want to practice for self-defense.  Shooting ranges should be both accessible and affordable for everyone.  However, expanding populations and development are encroaching on shooting ranges and threatening their existence.

Forty-eight states have recognized the importance of protecting shooting ranges and have passed similar legislation.  Hawaii and Washington are the only two states without a range protection law.  Furthermore, there are currently several shooting ranges in Washington that are facing legal battles and burdensome regulations, which if not addressed, could result in their closure.

House Bill 1184 is narrowly focused on noise issues and would do the following:

-      ensure that existing ranges are protected against civil liability and criminal charges  related to noise pollution (but would not tie the hands of local government to regulate future ranges, or unsafe ranges); and

-      benefit the public by providing gun owners with a safe place to shoot.

However, it is important to note that the future of this bill is also uncertain.  Similar legislation was introduced last session and was significantly weakened through the legislative process, and the bill was ultimately killed in the Senate.  Additionally, Washington has passed range protection legislation twice in years past and both times the bills were vetoed by Democratic governors.  Washington’s new Governor is F-rated by the NRA-PVF and has a worse record on firearms issues than his predecessor.

It is more important now than ever that you remain vigilant and active in the legislative process. As more firearms legislation is introduced and as bills progress, your NRA-ILA will continue to keep you up-to-date.

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