This week, several anti-gun bills received floor votes and passed out of their respective chambers. Additionally, two bills have now been pulled from the House Rules Committee and are eligible for a vote at any time. Please contact your Representative and ask them to oppose House Bills 2240 and 2623!
The following two bills have been pulled from Rules Committee and are awaiting a floor vote:
House Bill 2240 bans the manufacture, possession, sale, transfer, etc. of magazines that hold more than fifteen rounds of ammunition. This bill is strongly supported by the Governor and the Attorney General. 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. Restricted magazines have to be transported unloaded and locked separately from firearms and stored at home locked, making them unavailable for self-defense. Anti-gun legislators are attempting to bring HB 2240 up for a floor vote on Sunday.
House Bill 2623 prohibits an individual from possessing firearms if they are convicted of the misdemeanor crime of unlawful aiming or discharge of a firearm. This poorly conceived legislation even applies to airguns and slingshots and has no exception for an individual aiming or discharging a firearm for self-defense purposes in a location that would have otherwise not been authorized.
The following bills received a floor vote and passed out of their respective chambers:
Senate Bill 5434 passed by a 27-20 vote. It increases prohibited areas where law-abiding citizens cannot possess firearms, including CPL holders carrying for self-defense. The bill extended “gun-free zones” to public parks, libraries, and child care centers before being amended to only apply to child care centers. In addition to leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless against criminals who ignore arbitrary boundaries, the bill requires child care centers to publicly indicate they are “gun-free zones” by posting signs outside the facilities.
House Bill 2622 passed by a 56-42 vote. It 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.
House Bill 2305 passed by a 55-42 vote. It 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. Due process limits restrictions on constitutional rights to only serious convictions and adjudications that provide procedural protections to the accused, which results in more reliable proceedings. 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.
Additionally, the House voted to pass House Bill 2467 by a vote of 66-32. HB 2467 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.