Washington, Oregon Gun Prohibitionists Busy as 2022 Looms

The Capitol in Olympia, Washington could be a busy place for gun control legislation in January. IMG NRA-ILA

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Gun prohibitionists in Seattle and Portland are busy this month, but it’s not about spreading holiday cheer.

The billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility has released its 2022 legislative agenda for the Washington Legislature, and it amounts to a lump of coal in the Christmas stockings of Evergreen State gun owners. Their “Wish List” spelled out in an email blast includes:

  • Prohibiting high-capacity magazines: The recent mass shooting at Oxford High School, along with Sandy Hook and all the deadliest mass shootings in the last decade have involved these excessive-capacity magazines. For the fourth year in a row, we will be demanding that lawmakers keep these deadly devices out of our communities.
  • Expanding protections against armed intimidation: Building on protections passed last year to prohibit open carry at the state capitol and demonstrations, this bill will extend those protections to public meetings, special polling places, and ballot counting locations.
  • Prohibiting untraceable ghost guns: Current Washington law prohibits the manufacture, sale, or possession of undetectable firearms but doesn’t address untraceable homemade guns—those without serial numbers. We must update existing law to close this deadly loophole.
  • Expanding funding for the Office of Firearm Safety and Violence Prevention: Among other things, the newly-formed Office is tasked with public education and allocating funding to community-led violence prevention programs. We must ensure these programs have substantial funding in order to be successful.

Their 2022 policy agenda also includes this: “Establish Real Accountability: For years, federal law has shielded the gun industry—dealers and manufacturers—from nearly all accountability for the danger and damages their products cause. This means that the costs of gun violence are borne almost exclusively by victims and taxpayers. Creating real accountability for the gun industry by requiring microstamping and smart-gun technology and enabling accountability through Washington’s Consumer Protection Act creates a path to hold the industry and gun owners to higher standards.”

The Seattle Times is reporting that some lawmakers are already at work on at least some tenets of the wish list.

State Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue) is reportedly sponsoring a proposed ban on “so-called assault rifles,” and will likely sponsor a magazine ban bill.

Therein will be a major problem because in an initiative three years ago, there is a definition of a “semiautomatic assault rifle” that literally applies to every semi-auto rifle ever manufactured, regardless of caliber. It applies to popular rimfire rifles such as the Ruger 10/22 and Remington Nylon 66. Here is the language:

“Semiautomatic assault rifle” means any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”

The Alliance has been unable to push its agenda even through a Democrat-controlled legislature, a fact not lost on the Seattle Times, which noted, “Democratic state lawmakers are proposing a fresh round of firearms restrictions as the Washington Legislature prepares to gather in January for its regularly scheduled session.”

Democrats invariably are at the roots of any recent gun control legislation. This year they may be tempered by the November 2022 elections, since any wrong moves could bring a shift in power as swing districts could change hands.

Interestingly, the Alliance has a fact sheet that includes this statement:

“TRENDS: In Washington, the rate of gun suicide increased 19 percent and gun homicide increased 34 percent from 2010 to 2019. Beginning in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic increased the risks of all types of gun violence. Washington, like the country as a whole, saw a record number of murders in 2020. Fortunately, the suicide rate declined in Washington and nationally, defying most predictions. While it is not possible to identify one reason, it’s clear that the presence of suicide prevention policies like Extreme Risk Protection Orders, voluntary waivers, and safe storage incentives, work to reduce gun suicide.”

The same fact sheet declares, “Washington has the 40th highest rate of gun violence in the United States,” which must mean it is near the bottom.

The Alliance bankrolled two extremist gun control initiatives—I-594 in 2014 and I-1639 in 2018—that were sold to Washington voters as measures to reduce “gun violence.” Billionaires including Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, the late Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer provided millions of dollars of support for both campaigns, which overwhelmed gun owners. However, since passage of both initiatives, the number of murders in Washington has actually climbed. In 2020, according to data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, Washington saw 279 homicides, not all of which involved firearms.

The Alliance’s “Fact Sheet” appears to play a bit loose with the facts. It says “Every year 781 Washingtonians are killed by guns,” as if that is a hard number.

The lobbying group says, “More people are killed by guns than die in car accidents in Washington State.” Last year, according to data from the state Department of Transportation, Washington logged 523 traffic fatalities. The gun-related deaths include suicides, accidents and murders, and the Alliance acknowledges, “More than 75 percent of gun deaths in Washington are suicides.” According to the FBI data, gun-related homicides in the state numbered less than 200 last year.

The FBI has not responded to requests for clarification of its homicide data in the 2020 crime report, which is not user-friendly.

South of the Columbia River, Portland-based anti-gunners calling themselves “Lift Every Voice Oregon (LEVO) are collecting signatures on Initiative Petitions 17 and 18, calling them “common sense” measures.

According to KATU News, IP 17 would require training and permits to purchase firearms, ban magazines over 10 rounds, and would not allow a firearm purchase to be completed until a background check is completed. It could result in an endless delay in a firearms transaction.

IP 18 would ban the future manufacture, import, transfer, sale or possession and use of so-called “semiautomatic assault firearms.” It would require registration of all existing “assault firearms” in the state within 180 days of the law taking effect.

Backers of both measures have until July 8, 2022 to gather 112,020 signatures in order to place the measures on the November 2022 ballot.

Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen survey reveals that 89 percent of likely voters are “concerned about the problem of violent crime in America, including 64 percent who say they’re very concerned.” Sixty-eight percent of voters say the problem of violent crime is getting worse.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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