Concealed carry proposals hitting the fan in both Washingtons

Concealed carry is making news in both Washingtons. (Dave Workman)

Proposals regarding concealed carry of sidearms by private citizens, either across state lines or into such facilities as Seattle’s Safeco Field and Century Link Field are creating a debate between those who contend that the right to bear arms should not be restricted, and those who dislike guns.

This all appears related to the Republican takeover of Congress and the White House, and a willingness by Evergreen State gun owners to push back at a time when the gun prohibition lobby wants to ban so-called “assault weapons” in the Pacific Northwest. Proposed bans will be introduced in both Oregon and Washington in January.

Republican Congressman Richard Hudson of North Carolina is reportedly poised to introduce the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act in the new Congress next year. Several people believe it has a chance of passing, and that incoming President Donald Trump will sign it if it hits his desk. During the campaign he said it made sense for states to recognize each other’s carry permits and licenses, same as they recognize driver’s licenses.

Under Hudson’s proposal, people would have to carry under the laws of the state in which they travel.

In Washington State, legislation will reportedly be introduced next month that will allow legally-armed private citizens to carry in the major league stadiums. Presently, guns are prohibited, and proponents of that ban contend that guns don’t mix with high-emotion sports and alcohol.

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat wrote about the proposal over the weekend, and it has garnered more than 500 reader responses.

House Bill 1015 was pre-filed in Olympia earlier this month. It would require that public facilities districts or the “public stadium authority” not prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license (CPL) from carrying in any facility or on any grounds operated by them or leased from them.

Buried in the background of such legislation is a new, or at least heightened awareness that police, regardless how dedicated they are, cannot prevent all crimes, or especially domestic terror attacks. That much was learned the hard way in San Bernardino and Orlando.

America is about to take a decidedly different course then it’s been on the past eight years. Anti-gun Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is unlikely to sign the stadium carry legislation in the even more unlikely chance it gets to his desk. But it puts the issue squarely in the public eye.

Anti-gunners dislike the idea of armed private citizens anywhere. They may be on the losing side of the argument, since the latest estimate on the number of people licensed to carry is above 15 million, according to John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center.

In Washington, where the issue could become acute, the Department of Licensing reported that more than 566,000 active CPLs are now in circulation. About 100,000 of those are held by King County residents, where Seattle is located with its two stadiums.


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