Washington State Democrats see a window of opportunity that may vanish with the 2018 elections next fall, so they appear to be moving fast to enact as many restrictions on gun owners as possible during the upcoming legislative session.
As if to confirm predictions, Democrats announced their legislative agenda that should serve as a signal to gun rights activists in other states about what could happen if liberals take charge of state legislatures. The election of Democrat Manka Dhingra to the Washington State Senate in a special election has given Democrats a slim majority.
Topping their wish list is dismantling of state preemption. Washington has one of the oldest preemption statutes – which place sole authority for gun regulation in the hands of the Legislature – in the country. It has served as a model for similar laws in other states since enactment in 1983.
Allowing local anti-gun liberal municipal governments would send the state back more than 30 years to time when there was a patchwork of often conflicting laws from one jurisdiction to the next. It was a nightmare for legally-armed citizens with concealed pistol licenses who might cross through two or more jurisdictions in a day. Preemption brought border-to-border uniformity, but liberals in Seattle and other municipalities want their own laws because it would discourage law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to bear arms under the state and federal constitutions.
Preemption prevents local governments from adopting laws that are stricter than uniform state standards. The law is the same in Seattle as it is in Spokane.
There is also a proposal to require a minimum age of 21 years to purchase a so-called “assault rifle.” Actually, these semi-autos are modern sporting rifles, and they happen to be the most popular long gun in America today.
Senate Bill 5444 would require an annually-renewed permit to own ammunition magazines that hold more than ten cartridges.
Amid this anti-gun hysteria, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a billionaire-supported gun prohibition lobbying group, sent an email blast Monday complaining about the proposed Hearing Protection Act, backed by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights organizations. It would remove certain paperwork requirements for people who want to legally own suppressors (“silencers”) for firearms.
Their message declares, “For the first time in decades, convicted felons and domestic abusers could be allowed to purchase gun silencers without a background check.” Since felons and domestic abusers can’t legally own firearms, it’s a rather shallow, alarmist message that is misleading at best.
This sort of thing is hardly isolated to the Evergreen State. The National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Lawrence Keane, vice president and general counsel, took anti-gunners to task over the recently-passed concealed carry reciprocity legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Anti-gunners have claimed that the reciprocity bill will “remove local governments’ ability to maintain sensible gun standards, and keep a proper vetting process in place …” According to Keane, that argument is “just plain wrong.”
There’s more, Keane wrote in a blog post. Noting that anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety has claimed that the reciprocity act would “make our communities less safe,” Keane fired back. He called this rhetoric “chicken-little sky-is-falling hyperbole.”
More than 16.3 million Americans are licensed to carry. That includes more than 591,000 Washington citizens who may not react well to being compared to criminals.