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Monday, 15 January 2018 06:43

Senate Bills that affect WA residents who own firearms Washington State Judiciary Committee Hearing, January 15 in Olympia, Washington

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Senate Bill 5444, sponsored by Senator David Frockt (D-46) would impose a registration-licensing system on commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard-capacity ammunition magazines that bill proponents label as “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines” (LCM).  Every person who possesses, transports, manufactures, purchases or sells a so-called “assault weapon” or LCM must have an annual state-issued license, with an updated license required every time there is a change in possession of the gun or magazine.  The licensing requirement has a delay period (until 2020) before it applies to persons who currently possess such items, but these persons would be prohibited from selling or transferring any gun or magazine designated by this bill to anyone other than a licensed dealer, a gunsmith, or to law enforcement for permanent relinquishment.  SB 5444 also mandates that relinquished guns and magazines “must be destroyed.”

Senate Bill 5463, sponsored by Senator Guy Palumbo (D-1), is vaguely written legislation that would require individuals to lock up firearms or potentially face Class C Felony charges.  This intrusive government legislation invades people’s homes and forces them to render their firearms useless in a self-defense situation by locking them up.

Senate Bill 5992, sponsored by Senator Kevin Van De Wege (D-24) mirrors federal legislation proposed by anti-gun California U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).  This bill would make it a crime to knowingly possess a firearm accessory or any other device, part or combination of parts that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semi-automatic firearm.  The broad and overreaching provisions in SB 5992 could potentially criminalize firearm modifications such as competition triggers, muzzle brakes, and ergonomic changes that are commonly done by law-abiding gun owners to make their firearms more suitable for self-defense, competition, hunting, or even overcoming disability.

Senate Bill 6049, sponsored by  Senator David Frockt , is yet another bill targeting so-called “Large Capacity Magazines” and would prohibit the possession of ammunition magazines holding ten or more rounds, with limited exceptions.  Those allowed to continue possession of “Large Capacity Magazines” within the limited exceptions would be required to lock up their ammunition magazine or face criminal charges.

Senate Bill 6146, sponsored by Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-37), would abolish Washington’s decades old state firearm preemption statute.  The state preemption statute, which passed in 1983, helps keep firearm and ammunition laws consistent throughout Washington by establishing that the State Legislature has full authority to regulate and create laws pertaining to firearms and ammunition.  These statutes help prevent a confusing patchwork of gun control laws which make it difficult for gun owners to ensure that they are following the law.  Further, Second Amendment rights are guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of where they reside.  State preemption statutes help protect against the infringement of rights of citizens who live in localities controlled by anti-gun elected officials.

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