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Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bills Moving In Olympia

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Action Needed: Anti-Gun Bills Moving In Olympia

The Senate Law & Justice Committee voted several anti-gun bills out of committee this week, including Substitute SB 5444 to create a back-door registry and 10 day waiting period on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms.  In addition, the House Judiciary committee is scheduled to hear Senate Bill 5992 on February 9th at 8:00AM to ban bump-fire stock attachments.  Please contact your state Senator and committee members and urge them to oppose these bills!  Click the “Take Action” button below.

Substitute Senate Bill 5444, sponsored by Senator David Frockt (D-46), is a stepping stone to a larger prohibition.  As drafted, anyone under the age of 21 would be virtually unable to possess commonly owned semi-automatic rifles.  This legislation attempts to brand these firearms as “assault weapons” to drum up unfounded fear of their ownership.  The proposed substitute would treat these so-called "assault weapons" like handguns under state law, which require a waiting period of either 10 days or until all federal and state background checks have been completed.  Individuals would be required to complete the same purchase application as for handguns.  The Washington Department of Licensing would be granted permission to store this information under SB 5444, creating a back-door registry. This bill will now head to the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Substitute Senate Bill 5441, sponsored by Senator Patty Kuderer (D-48), would impose a 6-month firearm prohibition for any person who has been released from a 72-hour mental health evaluation.  Current law allows a person to be held for a limited time in order for a mental health professional to determine if the individual, based on allegations of a mental health or substance abuse disorder, is in need of treatment or further commitment.  At the end of the evaluation, individuals that are not in need of treatment are released.  SB 5441 would nonetheless apply a blanket prohibition of firearm possession to all released individuals, and requires the immediate surrender of all firearms and any concealed pistol license to law enforcement.  This legislation removes a constitutional right without any mental health adjudication or judicial determination, and without any due process of law. 

Senate Bill 6298, sponsored by Senator Manka Dhingra (D-45), would expand the list of domestic violence offenses that prohibit firearm possession to also include “Harrassment.”  Domestic violence is a serious issue and those convicted of violent offenses should be addressed accordingly.  However, the definition of harassment under Washington state law is so broadly defined that it includes 37 other crimes, many of which involve no form of actual contact or threat of harm to a person.  Under this legislation, even the offenses of graffiti and trespass fall within this umbrella category that could result in a firearm prohibition.  Imposing an automatic, blanket ban on constitutional rights for these wildly varying offenses is excessive and unwarranted.  

Senate Bill 5992, sponsored by Senator Kevin Van de Wege (D-24), was originally introduced as a trigger modification device ban with broad, overreaching language that would have criminalized modifications commonly made to firearms by law-abiding citizens.  Instead, the legislation was amended on the Senate floor to narrow down the definition of the ban to apply only to bump-fire stock attachments.  This bill has been scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on February 9th at 8:00AM.

Again, please click the “Take Action” button above to contact your Senator as well as the committee members to oppose these bills.

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