FROM: GOAL [firstname.lastname@example.org
SENT: Fri 2/1/2013 9:14 PM
SUBJECT: GOAL Post 2013-3
GOAL Post 2013-3
Legislative Update from Olympia, 1 February 2013
NUMEROUS NEW GUN BILLS FILED
STAND BY FOR GUN REGISTRATION
FOUR NEW PUBLIC HEARINGS SCHEDULED
ABOUT PUBLIC HEARINGS
LEGISLATOR CONTACT INFO
Seven new gun-related bills were filed in Olympia this week.
- HB 1561, by Rep. Brian Blake (D-19), would reauthorize possession of short barreled rifles, provided federal requirements were met. We lost this one in the 1994 rewrite of state firearms code.
- HB 1588, by Rep. Jaime Pedersen (D-43), nominally calls for background checks on ALL firearm transfers in Washington. More on this one a few paragraphs below. HB 1612, by Rep. Mike Hope (R-44), would create a "firearm offender" registry, similar to the current sex offender registry. Sounds nice, but sex offenses and firearms offenses are two entirely different kinds of violation.
- SB 5376, by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) is the Senate counterpart (duplicate) to HB 1096.
- SB 5452, by Sen. Steve Conway (D-29), is the Senate counterpart to HB 1383, adding firearm restrictions to those subject of a stalking protection order.
- SB 5479, by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33), a bizarre bill that creates a system whereby firearms may be "voluntarily" surrendered to law enforcement authorities for safekeeping for a 30-day period, subject to extensions. While the term "voluntarily" appears several times in the bill, it appears to allow family members and mental health professionals to "recommend" surrender. A firearm not properly returned to the legal owner may be "disposed of in accordance with agency procedures" (usually destruction).
- SB 5483, by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) is another firearms safe storage bill that -- technically at least -- does not "mandate" safe storage of a firearm, but imposes severe penalties, up to a Class "C" felony, if an unauthorized person access your firearm(s).
Several bills are being run this session in an attempt to identify and control the possession of firearms by prohibited persons, be they gang members or mentally incompetent or juveniles... and occasionally the otherwise innocent young person with a gun. The problem with bills written so tightly as to catch ALL offenders is that they also catch some people the law was never intended to catch, or where no criminal intent existed. I have listed the GOAL Position on these bills as "CONCERNS" in the hope that the bill sponsor will accept recommended amendments to ensure the bill stays focused on the bad guys."Concerns" is NOT an endorsement of the bill.
A long time ago (and it seems in a land far away), then-Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson made this observation about bills/proposed laws: "It is better to consider a bill in light of the HARM it will do if IMPROPERLY administered, rather than in light of the GOOD it will do if PROPERLY administered." Far be it from me to accuse legislators of intentionally passing misleading bills. But consider the 1970s RICO (racketeering) statute, supposedly targeting organized crime, and how it has been misapplied over the decades. It's called the law of unintended consequences, and the wrong people can be -- and have been -- harmed by it.
I expect several more extreme gun control bills to be offered during the session, but at this point HB 1588 is the most dangerous bill under consideration. Using classic bait & switch tactics (just as at the federal level), HB 1588 nominally requires background checks -- only -- of any firearm transferred in Washington state. It also allows up to a $20 "fee" (tax?) for such background check. What this really is is a firearm registration bill in disguise. Two methods of background check are offered: processing by a federally-licensed firearms dealer (FFL) or visit your local police or sheriff's station and have them run a background check. For an FFL to conduct a NICS background check on a transfer, he or she must first log the firearm into the business's "bound book." Then the buyer must fill out a Form 4473 before the call. Between the bound book and the 4473, a permanent record of the firearm and the buyer is created, subject to ATF inspection upon demand.(If the buyer fails the background check, the FFL CANNOT return your firearm to you until after another NICS check is conducted -- on you, with suitable fee.)
The second method is to ask your local police to do the check for you. The bill mandates a form similar to the current state "white" form used on all handgun transfers, complete with description of the buyer and the firearm. Two problems here: the big one is that there is no prohibition on law enforcement, or the Department of Licensing, from keeping the records, either the form itself or transferred to a computer data base. We call that "registration," as in the State Pistol Registry. The second problem here is that under federal law, local agencies do not have legal access to NICS for simple transfers.
Let there be no doubt in your mind, HB 1588, and similar bills to be offered at the federal level, are after one thing only: gun registration. If they want to debate registration, by all means do so. But call it what it is. Don't try to sell it under a false flag, and one that is likely to gain widespread support even among gun owners. There ARE ways to conduct background checks WITHOUT the record-keeping. We showed them that in Olympia twice in the past decade. They rejected it, and admitted that what they wanted was the "audit trail" -- the paperwork.
Four public hearings are scheduled next week on bills of gun owner interest. The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on HB 1383 (Stalking) at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, 7 February in House Hearing Room "A."
The Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee will hear THREE bills next week: SBs 5282 (DSHS/WSP data exchange) and 5452 (Stalking) at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 5 February in Senate Hearing Room 1.SB 5376 (Juvi firearms) will be heard at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 7 February, also in Senate Hearing Room "1."
Public hearings 101.A public hearing is exactly that -- an opportunity for the public to provide input on bills under consideration. Each bill starts with an explanation of the bill's effect by committee staff, then a statement by the bill's prime sponsor. It is then opened to public input, controlled by the committee chair. If you want to speak on a bill, you must sign up prior to the hearing. Tables just outside or inside the hearing room have sign-up sheets available. You can also sign on and state your position on a bill ("pro" = support, "con" = oppose) without giving public testimony. Public testimony is usually limited to a maximum of three minutes, to allow as many as possible to speak, so keep your testimony to one or two points. Start with your name, any organization you might represent (you must be a designated representative, NOT just a member), and your home town. In short, simple terms explain why you support or oppose the bill. Do not repeat earlier testimony if another person has made that point and do NOT attack or criticize people on the other side of the issue. You may also leave a written copy of your testimony with staff.
The Legislature has published new telephone and office directories for the 2013 session. The following links can be used to identify direct contact information:http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Senators/http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Representatives/
House Bill numbering begins with 1000; Senate Bills with 5000. The following bills have been filed so far in the 2013-14 biennium:
|HB 1096||Juvi illegal firearm possession||Hurst (D-31)||H. Jud|
|HB 1147||1st degree juvi unlawful possess||Goodman (D-45)||H. Jud|
|HB 1184||Range protection||Takko (D-19)||H. Jud|
|HB 1318||CPL renewal notice||Taylor (R-15)||H. Jud|
|HB 1371||WA Firearms Freedom Act||Taylor (R-15)||H. Jud|
|HB 1383||Stalking protection orders||Goodman (D-45)||H. Jud|
|HB 1561||Short barreled rifles||Blake (D-19)||H. Jud|
|HB 1588||Background checks||Pedersen (D-43)||H. Jud|
|HB 1612||Firearm offender registry||Hope (R-44)||H. Jud|
|SB 5282||DSHS/WSP info exchange||Carrell (R-28)||S. HS&C|
|SB 5282||DSHS/WSP info exchange||Carrell (R-28)||S. HS&C|
|SB 5376||Juvi illegal firearm possession||Kline (D-37)||S. HS&C|
|SB 5452||Stalking protection orders||Conway (D-29)||S. HS&C|
|SB 5479||Safekeeping of firearms||Keiser (D-33)||S. L&J|
|SB 5485||Mandatory safe storage||Kline (D-37)||S. L&J|
Key to abbreviations: SB = Senate Bill, HB = House Bill, Jud = Judiciary, L&J = Law & Justice, HS&C = Human Services & Corrections
GOAL POSITION ON BILLS
HB 1096 CONCERNS
HB 1147 CONCERNS
HB 1184 SUPPORT
HB 1318 SUPPORT
HB 1371 SUPPORT
HB 1383 UNDER REVIEW
HB 1561 SUPPORT
HB 1588 OPPOSE
HB 1612 OPPOSE
SB 5282 SUPPORT
SB 5376 CONCERNS
SB 5452 CONCERNS
SB 5479 OPPOSE
SB 5485 OPPOSE
- 5 Feb SBs 5282 & 5452Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee, 10:00 a.m. Senate Hearing Room "1"John A. Cherberg Senate Office Building
- 7 Feb SB 5376Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee, 10:00 a.m. Senate Hearing Room "1"John A. Cherberg Senate Office Building
- 7 Feb HB 1383 House Judiciary Committee, 1:30 p.m. House Hearing Room "A" John L. O'Brien House Office Building
LEGISLATIVE HOT LINE: You may reach your Representatives and Senator by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000.Toll free!!!The hearing impaired may obtain TDD access at 1-800-635-9993.Also toll free!!!
OTHER DATA: Copies of pending legislation (bills), legislative schedules and other information are available on the legislature's web site at "www.leg.wa.gov
". Bills are available in Acrobat (.pdf) format. You may download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe's web site (http://www.adobe.com
).You may also obtain hard copy bills, initiatives, etc, in the mail from the Legislative Bill Room FREE OF CHARGE by calling 1-360-786-7573.Copies of bills may also be ordered toll free by calling the Legislative Hotline at (800) 562-6000.You may also hear floor and committee hearing action live at http://www.tvw.org/
(you need "RealAudio" to do this, available free at the TVW web site).
By reading the House and Senate "bill reports" (hbr, sbr) for each bill, you can see how individual committee members voted. By reading the "roll call" for each bill, you can see how the entire House or Senate voted on any bill. The beauty of the web site is that ALL this information is available, on line, to any citizen.
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"The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."
Article 1, Section 24
Constitution of the State of Washington
Copyright 2013 Gun Owners Action League of WA