The King County, WA Board of Health is holding two sessions to discuss its proposed “Gun Safety Action Plan.” (Dave Workman)
King County is the bluest county in Washington State, and for the next two evenings, the county Board of Health is holding meetings on its “Gun Safety Action Plan Summit” with proposals that, according to rights activists, read like a gun control agenda.
The meetings begin at 6 p.m. at the YWCA Greenbridge Learning Center in White Center, 9720 – 8th Ave. SW, just south of Seattle.
According to a notice on the Health Board’s website, “In the absence of federal and state action on common sense gun safety laws, King County must take action to protect our residents from gun violence. Much of this work must include shedding light on the impact firearms have on the health and safety of King County residents, while taking steps to limit their impact.”
What the notice didn’t reveal is that just under 20 percent of all the active concealed pistol licenses in Washington State—slightly more than 100,000 of them—are held by King County residents. The state Department of Licensing reported that, as of July 1, there were more than 622,000 active CPLs statewide.
The proposed “gun safety” action plan would:
- Require gun owners to securely store firearms and ammunition at all times, on all premises.
- Require disclosure of information on health risks related to firearms. At retail locations, signs will be posted at entrances and where firearms are sold. At ranges, they will be posted at the entrance and where used. Signs will be available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, Somali, Chinese, Korean, Ukrainian, Amharic and Punjabi on the Public Health – Seattle & King County website.
- Work with youth and young adults to assess and provide recommendations for reducing gun violence that they experience.
- Require that the King County Sheriff’s Office destroy working forfeited weapons, including those that have been turned in by owners.
- Establish a work group tasked with developing gun safety and gun violence prevention strategies based on proven public health models.
There’s a note at the bottom of this wish list: “These proposals are just the beginning.”
The website acknowledges “Washington state law specifically prevents local jurisdictions from limiting the sale or possession of firearms in our state.” That would be the state’s model preemption law, dating back to 1983 and 1985, which reads:
“The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components. Cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities may enact only those laws and ordinances relating to firearms that are specifically authorized by state law, as in RCW 9.41.300, and are consistent with this chapter. Such local ordinances shall have the same penalty as provided for by state law. Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.”
What does the Action Plan say about state preemption?
“We expect and demand they use their power to save lives, or at the very least, get out of the way and give us the local control to do it ourselves. If and when the state preemption law is repealed by the Washington State Legislature, the King County Gun Safety Action Plan will immediately move to:
- Ban the sale and possession of semi-automatic, high velocity weapons
- Ban the sale and possession of high capacity ammunition magazines
- Raise the age to 21 for all firearm purchases and possession
- Establish a waiting period before taking possession of a firearm after purchase
- Require firearm safety training before taking possession of a firearm after purchase
Gun rights activists take one look at this and conclude that the authors of this proposal slept through high school classes on American government where constitutional rights were explained separately from government-regulated privileges. This agenda could be seen as an effort to destroy the state’s hunting opportunities for teens.
Rights delayed are rights denied, and required training in order to exercise a right is tantamount to literacy testing, which has been ruled unconstitutional, at least when it comes to voting. But rights are rights, and Evergreen State Second Amendment activists have been alerted to these “Gun Safety Action Plan Summit” sessions via social media.