Two years after predicting that language included in an extremist gun control initiative passed by voters in Washington State would eventually be followed by a bill to ban so-called “assault weapons” outright, Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich has been proven right, and the Seattle Times editorial board is predictably supporting the legislation.
Senate Bill 5217 was requested by anti-gun Democrat State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. It is sponsored by eight anti-gun Democrats whose names also appear on assorted other gun control measures.
In 2018, voters passed gun control Initiative 1639, which is now being challenged in federal court by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, two firearms retailers and some private citizens. It prohibits young adults from purchasing or owning so-called “semiautomatic assault rifles,” requires a 10-day waiting period, proof of having taken a safety course, an “enhanced background check” and buried on Page 27 of the initiative is the definition of a gun Sheriff Knezovich said doesn’t really exist.
As noted in an article appearing in the online edition of American Handgunner, “Knezovich said the real reason the initiative was written was that it contained a definition of a ‘semiautomatic assault weapon,’ a gun that he said otherwise does not exist.”
“Why is that important” the sheriff asked rhetorically in early 2019. “Because of Step 2. Step 2 will be to ban all assault weapons, and when they do that they will have effectively banned every semiautomatic rifle there is.”
In Washington State, a “semiautomatic assault rifle” refers to “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.” This language essentially covers every semiautomatic rifle, regardless of caliber, ever manufactured anywhere on Earth.
SB 5217 includes a list of firearms to be banned, plus this provision to include “A semiautomatic, centerfire, or rimfire rifle that has an overall length of less than 30 inches.”
The perennially anti-gun Seattle Times editorial board is calling for the legislature to “ban high-capacity magazines and assault weapons now.”
“Assault weapons are military-style guns that ought not be in public circulation,” the editorial insists. “No gun range afternoon or big-game hunt is worth the danger posed by making combat weapons widely available…”
The newspaper is wrong on some key points, according to gun rights activists who actually understand the difference between a modern sporting rifle and a military weapon it resembles. Semiautomatic rifles may look like military arms, say gun experts, but they’re not “combat weapons,” and claims to the contrary are at best ill informed.
Gun prohibitionists are pushing hard to place as many restrictions as possible on gun owners, according to groups such as the Washington 2021 Legislative Action Group and the Washington State-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. CCRKBA is a national organization headquartered in Bellevue, a city located just across Lake Washington from Seattle, where the anti-gun Alliance for Gun Responsibility is based.
Wednesday evening, the Alliance sent an email blast complaining, “Our opponents are more energized than they have been in years. They are putting everything they have into organizing against our agenda. And we won’t sugarcoat it, they have been able to turn out an extremely dedicated base online to voice opposition to these bills.”
Reaction from the Legislative Action Group was terse: “Anti-gun folks are very worried; your voices are being heard loudly!”