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Washington: Swift Action Needed on Three Gun Bills

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Friday Deadline for Bills to Pass Out of Committee!

As reported last week, House Bill 1508, legislation relating to shooting ranges, and House Bill 2471, a background check reform bill, both passed in the state House, and Senate Bill 6123, an NRA special license plate bill, passed in the state Senate. 

All of the aforementioned bills have now been assigned to policy committees in their opposite chambers, but none have been scheduled for a hearing.  The deadline for the bills to be heard and action by their current committees is this Friday, February 24. 

Introduced by state Representatives Dean Takko (D-19), Tim Probst (D-17) and Kevin Van De Wege (D-24), House Bill 1508 would have originally ensured that existing shooting ranges were broadly protected against civil liability and criminal charges related to noise pollution.  However, this bill was amended and significantly weakened in the state House Judiciary Committee, leaving it as a measure that would no longer provide an adequate level of protection for shooting ranges.

HB 1508 was amended again and improved somewhat on the House floor, and while it is not yet where we want it to be, the current version is better than the one that passed in the House Judiciary Committee.  In order to strengthen this bill further and keep it moving, HB 1508 must get a public hearing and action taken by the state Senate Judiciary Committee by Friday.

House Bill 2471 passed in the state House of Representatives unamended and was also assigned to the state Senate Judiciary Committee.  Sponsored by seven state Representatives, HB 2471 would exempt CPL holders, whose licenses were issued on or after July 22, 2011, from having to undergo any sort of background check when purchasing a pistol.  Additionally, this bill would require only the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) check for CPL holders whose permits were issued prior to July 22, 2011.  HB 2471 must pass in the Senate Judiciary Committee by Friday. 

Please contact state Senator Adam Kline (D-37), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and respectfully urge him to schedule a hearing for HB 1508 and HB 2471.  Senator Kline can be contacted by phone at (360) 786-7688 and by e-mail at adam.kline@leg.wa.gov.

Also, Senate Bill 6123, sponsored by nineteen state Senators, would create a special NRA license plate, with revenue going to fund firearm safety and education as part of the hunter education training program.  SB 6123 is now pending in the state House Transportation Committee and must pass in committee by Friday.

Please contact state Representative Judy Clibborn (D-41), Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, and respectfully request that she schedule SB 6123 for a hearing.  Representative Clibborn can be contacted by phone at (360) 786-7926 and by e-mail at judy.clibborn@leg.wa.gov.

Thank you for your continued efforts on these important pieces of legislation!

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