On February 24th, the Senate Law & Justice Committee will be hearing a number of anti-gun bills that crossed over from the House. Please contact committee members and ask them to OPPOSE House Bills 2622, 2623, and 2305.
The Substitute for House Bill 2622 modifies Washington’s existing firearm surrender provisions for individuals subject to a court order. This bill compels a respondent to appear and provide proof on how and to what extent they complied with the surrender order. This is a serious encroachment on the right against compelled self-incrimination in any criminal, civil, or other government proceedings. Failure to appear results in the individual being in contempt of court, thereby putting the individual in a no-win situation.
Engrossed House Bill 2623 prohibits an individual from possessing firearms if they are convicted of the misdemeanor crimes of unlawful aiming or discharge of a firearm. This poorly conceived legislation even applies to airguns and slingshots, and has no exceptions for an individual aiming or discharging a firearm for self-defense purposes in a location that is otherwise not authorized.
House Bill 2305 imposes a mandatory firearm prohibition for respondents of a Vulnerable Adult Protective Order. This order, which removes someone’s Second Amendment rights for up to 5 years, requires no criminal convictions or even charges. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms should not be treated as a second-class right and should only be restricted when sufficient protections are in place.
Again, please contact committee members and ask them to OPPOSE House Bills 2622, 2623, and 2305.
In addition, the committee will also hear the Engrossed Second Substitute for House Bill 2467. It directs Washington State Patrol to create a centralized state system for all firearm transfers to allow firearm dealers to submit information electronically and receive feedback instantaneously. This bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators who have recognized that background checks in Washington have imposed excessive delays on gun owners. Background checks for handgun transfers are done in an archaic manner by mail to local law enforcement, who are tasked with manually checking databases. CPL holders previously were able to avoid the archaic check for handguns and instead were allowed to go through the federal NICS as a courtesy, which provided instant feedback. That exemption ceased in July, 2019. The enactment of I-1639 also added transfers of semi-automatic rifles to this system, with the addition of an $18 fee. Though this archaic background check has a ten-day waiting period to allow for completion, these factors, along with I-594 requiring background checks on all transfers, has resulted in ever increasing strain on this system, creating delays that drag out up to 30 days. Unfortunately, there will be a fee attached to the background check, which has been capped at $18 per transaction. While the exact fee has not been set, your NRA remains committed to reducing or eliminating fees to exercise Second Amendment rights and is working with legislators to allocate funds to ultimately reduce costs and delays for everyone involved.