Rights activists and gun prohibitionists will descend on the Washington State capitol in Olympia Thursday for hearings on a couple of bills that deal with licensing of “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines,” and so-called “safe storage” proposals that Seattle-based anti-gunners claim are “gun violence prevention” measures.
This will be particularly important to about 575,000 Washingtonians who are licensed to carry concealed handguns. The state Department of Licensing reported to Liberty Park Press that January ended with 574,446 people with concealed pistol licenses. That’s up 2,970 from the end of December, and more than 56,780 more CPLs than were reported at the end of January 2016 in the Evergreen State.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear House Bills 1122 and 1387, but it does not appear that anti-gun Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s proposal to ban so-called “assault weapons” – House Bill 1134 – is on the hearing agenda. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 1:30, but the Alliance for Gun Responsibility is telling its supporters to make a day of it, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
House Bill 1122 is the “safe storage” bill that seems aimed more at micro-managing gun owners by vaguely suggesting how they should store firearms and ammunition. The National Rifle Association says that if the measure becomes law, it could “potentially subject law-abiding gun owners to gross misdemeanor penalties, including huge fees and potential imprisonment, if they don’t lock their firearms up and render them useless for any self-defense scenario.”
The other bill, HB 1387, calls for licensing of so-called “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines.” If passed it would require annual licensing, with updates every time a firearm changes possession.
In addition, as the NRA explains, “The licensing requirement has a delay period (until 2020) before it applies to persons who currently possess such items, but these persons would be prohibited from selling or transferring the gun or LCM to anyone other than a licensed dealer, a gunsmith, or to law enforcement for permanent relinquishment. HB 1387 also mandates that relinquished guns and LCMs “must be destroyed.”
Critics say this is how gun bans begin, and they point to California and other states where semiautomatic modern sporting rifles were initially regulated and increasingly restricted.