Washington – -(Ammoland.com)- Evergreen State anti-gunners hit the ground running as the 2022 legislative session opened, scheduling three gun control bills for a hearing this past Wednesday morning Jan. 12, 2022. There is another measure held over from last year to repeal state preemption, thus returning to a system where local governments could establish their own, and often conflicting, gun laws.
There is also a pre-filed measure—Senate Bill 5721—that would place the Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)—now an independent agency—under control of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Washington hunters and anglers are fired up about this proposal, which they believe will politicize fish and game management, marginalizing their interests.
Immediate attention is focused on three House Bills, according to the Washington 2022 Legislative Action Committee, which offers details on its Facebook page.
- House Bill 1618 Would prohibit carrying weapons at election-related offices
- House Bill 1630 Creates restrictions on the possession of weapons in certain locations
- House Bill 1705 Is an act prohibiting so-called “ghost guns”
AmmoLand News spoke via telephone with Curtis Bingham, co-founder and vice president of the Washington Civil Rights Association, who is cautioning gun owners to “maintain their vigilance” on these gun control proposals and not become narrowly focused on proposed bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.” Those issues are certainly important, but he said the three bills being heard today constitute a continued incremental attack on carry rights. Last year, he recalled, legislation was passed prohibiting the open carrying of firearms on the Capitol campus and at rallies in other locations. Two of the three new measures expand areas were carrying firearms would be prohibited, and the third constitutes an outright ban.
Bingham noted the proposed ban on “ghost guns”—firearms built by home gunsmiths—is a direct attack on what is an American tradition: building one’s own personal gun.
The Legislative Action group has some 9,700 members statewide, he said. They stay informed with daily postings on the group’s Facebook page, where activist Jordan Anthony cautioned:
“Our analysis is that limiting open carry and acting to regulate ‘ghost guns’ are top priorities for the legislature. There is also added pressure from our Attorney General’s office to ban standard capacity magazines. Regardless, the legislature is moving swiftly on firearms bills this year.”
In Washington, as just about anywhere else, many gun owners don’t pay as much attention to legislation that does not directly impact them, said one activist. For example, the bill to dramatically change fish and wildlife management by putting the WDFW under DNR control may not get the attention it deserves from gun owners who don’t hunt, but it should because of one important factor. Every gun owner in the state contributes to the federal Pittman-Robertson program, which gets revenue from special excise taxes on firearms and ammunition. Revenues from this program, which dates back to the late 1930s, are annually apportioned to state wildlife agencies to support wildlife conservation and management programs.
Translation: Every Washington gun owner has a stake in how the agency is managed. As noted by Liberty Park Press, many Evergreen State hunters “are also strong Second Amendment activists who realize the same people who want to marginalize hunters are traditionally also supportive of all manner of gun control.”
What is worrisome is that the bill spans 98 pages, so there is plenty of room for political hijinks hidden in the fine print.
Washington is one of the original preemption states, with a statute dating back to 1983 and 1985. It became a model for similar laws in other states and has also been used to prevent the City of Seattle from adopting a ban on firearms at city park facilities. Both Seattle and the City of Edmonds are now being sued by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association for adopting so-called “safe storage” ordinances in direct violation of the state preemption law.
If House Bill 1313 is adopted, state gun law uniformity would vanish almost overnight, and the gun prohibition lobby knows it.
Historically, municipal governments despise preemption because it takes away their authority over gun owners and places management of firearms policy solely in the hands of the Legislature. Efforts to do away with preemption in Washington date back almost to the day the original legislation was signed into law.
Because the Legislature is holding something of a virtual session again this year, the hearings will be online to prevent citizens’ in-person participation.
About Dave Workman