Washington State House and Senate officials have decided to prohibit the open carry of firearms in committee hearings, one more unintended consequence of an open carry demonstration in the House chamber gallery on Jan. 15.
It’s the latest chapter in what appears to be a stepped-up effort against Second Amendment activists and their rights.
The incident that ignited this controversy happened at the end of a gun rights rally on the Capitol steps. About 12-15 people carrying a variety of rifles paraded into the Capitol, and then into the gallery overlooking the House chambers. There, they posed for several photographs, some with rifles raised above their heads.
Almost immediately, Senate leaders announced a ban on open carry in the Senate chamber gallery, and three days later, the House concurred. Barring open carry during public hearings seems like overkill to many activists.
There is not a total prohibition on firearms. Those who carry concealed with a license are still allowed to carry their defensive sidearm, under something of an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario.
Some in the Second Amendment community had predicted sanctions in the aftermath of the House gallery demonstration. For years, open carry has been allowed inside the Capitol building and the House and Senate office buildings, but the demonstration brought that to a halt.