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Washington: Senate Committee Passes Substitutes for Vague Carry Ban and Mag Ban

Friday, February 5, 2021

Washington: Senate Committee Passes Substitutes for Vague Carry Ban and Mag Ban

As previously reported, Senate Bill 5078 and Senate Bill 5038 were heard in the Senate Law and Public Justice Committee in January.  During that hearing, these anti-gun measures were substituted, passed, and have been sent to the Senate Rules Committee.

Senate Bill 5078, bans the manufacture, possession, sale, transfer, etc., of magazines that “are capable of holding” or hold more than 17 rounds of ammunition.  (The substituted bill increased the restricted count from 10 to 17). This includes conversion kits or parts from which any such magazine may be assembled.  These so called “high capacity” magazines are in fact standard equipment for commonly-owned firearms that many Americans legally and effectively use for an entire range of legitimate purposes, such as self-defense or competition.  Those who own non-compliant magazines prior to the ban are only allowed to possess them on their own property and in other limited instances such as at licensed shooting ranges or while hunting.  Prohibited magazines have to be transported unloaded and locked separately from firearms and stored at home locked, making them unavailable for self-defense.  Any violation of this measure is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000.

Senate Bill 5038 makes it a crime to openly carry, on the person or in a vehicle, a firearm or other “weapon” if the person is participating in or attending a “permitted demonstration” in a public place. “Permitted demonstration” is defined to mean any behavior by at least one person expressing views or airing grievances, which is intended to, or attracts, an unspecified number of onlookers (a “crowd”).  The bill also prohibits openly carrying a firearm or other weapon within 250 feet of a demonstration in a public place after a law enforcement officer advises the person to leave.  The intent of the bill is called into question because under SB 5038's vague language, a single person openly expressing their views could be considered a “permitted demonstration” if it “intends” to draw a crowd.  Senate Bill 5038 potentially causes those who are engaging in otherwise lawful activities to become criminals because of the actions of others.

At this time, no current action is scheduled for Senate Bills 5078 or 5038.  Please stay-tuned to NRA-ILA Alerts for more information and updates on these measures when they become available.

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NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.