Washington State gun rights activists are heading to Olympia Friday for a rally on the Capitol steps that they hope will bring out a much larger crowd than last year’s event, weather permitting. (Dave Workman)
Washington State grassroots gun rights activists, enjoying a timely break in winter storm weather, will travel to their state capitol in Olympia Friday, and again on Monday, first to hold a rally and lobby day and then to oppose some gun control measures being heard by a state Senate committee.
The Friday rally is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. on the Capitol steps. A hearing before the House Civil Rights and Judiciary committee begins at 10 a.m. during which testimony about House Bill 2467, which will establish a centralized single point of contact for firearm background checks will be held. That session is scheduled in House Hearing Room “A” in the John L. O’Brien building.
The Friday rally should see gun owners from across the state declaring their opposition to several proposed gun control measures, and their continuing anger about Initiative 1639, which instituted several restrictive gun control regulations in 2019. It was passed in November 2018 and an initiative effort to repeal it fell short, while a federal lawsuit challenging provisions in the measure is still active in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.
On Monday, the gun prohibition lobby is busing in Seattle-area anti-gunners to support restrictive new measures ranging from a proposed ban on so-called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazines” to requiring proof of training prior to qualifying for a concealed pistol license. More than 646,000 active CPLs are now in circulation in the state.
According to the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, their followers will gather for a 10 a.m. hearing before the Senate Law & Justice Committee. That panel will hear public testimony about five bills, SB 6044 (high capacity magazines), SB 6294 (CPL training requirements), SB 6347 (Extending the expiration date for a CPL to seven years with a proof-of-training provision), SB 6406 (concerning firearms theft) and SB 6402 (concerning use of a stolen firearm).
According to an article in Crosscut, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D-Spokane) is not certain the ban on high-capacity magazines will pass, despite support from Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson, both Democrats.
Grassroots gun rights activists are being encouraged to attend both the Friday rally and Monday’s hearing because the crowd of anti-gunners is almost certain to be big. According to the Alliance, they get a free breakfast and lunch to “support commonsense gun laws.”
That contention may be up for debate, because rights activists do not consider these gun control measures to make any sense at all. They point to the state and federal constitutions, the fact that gun-related homicides have actually gone up in the state since passage of the first gun control initiative in 2014, and FBI data that says rifles—including so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles” as defined in I-1639, are used in a fraction of all murders, both in Washington state and nationally.