While the Democrat-controlled Washington State House of Representatives was passing a Senate gun control bill to ban open carry at permitted rallies and on the west Capitol grounds in Olympia, a “planned right wing protest and Antifa counter-protesters clashed at the Oregon State Capitol in Salem, and Salem police were urging people to stay away.
The Washington measure, Senate Bill 5038, passed 57-40 Sunday following five hours of debate. The bill now goes back to the Senate for a final vote, according to KIRO News. Republican State Rep. Jim Walsh from Grays Harbor refused to vote, asserting the prohibition is unconstitutional.
Under the legislation, the open carry of firearms and “other weapons” is prohibited at the Capitol and surrounding grounds. There will be no open carry allowed at “permitted demonstrations” in public places or within 250 feet of such events. Grassroots run rights activists are furious.
Under the legislation, licensed concealed carry is still allowed at the Capitol. Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee is almost certain to sign the legislation when it hits his desk.
Breaking: after hours of debate the state House has passed a ban on open carry of guns and other weapons at protests/Capitol grounds on 57-40 vote with (R) Rep Jim Walsh refusing to vote citing unconstitutionality of the bill. @KIRORadio #waleg https://t.co/8bmwAoVd7p
— Hanna Scott (@HannaKIROFM) March 29, 2021
While there are no surprises about the outcome, not everyone is agreed that just Democrats are to blame. One gun owner commenting on Facebook, said he is “seriously repulsed by those who thought it was a good idea to make a long gun show out of petitioning the government through demonstrations. They thought they were exercising their rights. Instead, they inspired liberal legislators who run the place. Couldn’t be a dumber approach to affecting public policy and lawmaking…Anybody want to change those dynamics, quit thinking making yourself look like Rambo. Get involved with election campaigns in a serious way. Change the majority elected and you’ll change the real landscape for crap legislation like this.”
Meanwhile, south of the Columbia River, the mood in Salem remains tense in the wake of the weekend clashes.
According to the Portland Oregonian, so-called “right-wing demonstrators” showed up in Sandy for what they called a “Freedom Rally.” They reportedly planned to travel to the Capitol in Salem, where they “attracted more than 150 left-wing counter-protesters, who arrived at the Capitol earlier, some carrying banners with symbols tied to the Antifa movement. They billed their gathering as a “direct action in opposition to a fascist event,” the newspaper said.
Fox News said at least one vehicle had its windows smashed during the raucous event. One man was reportedly arrested for allegedly drawing a gun on one group.
Gun control has been at the top of the agenda for Democrats in the neighboring Northwest states this year. The party has been controlling politics in Oregon and Washington for several years, with far-left politicians from the Seattle and Portland areas controlling their respective caucus directions. However, in Washington anti-gunners have not been overly successful in their efforts to pass a sweeping gun control agenda.
With recent passage in Oregon of Senate Bill 554, a measure the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF) blasted in response as making it illegal for persons with concealed handgun licenses to be “near a public building with a licensed firearm.”
In the section dealing with exemptions, this language is found:
“(g) A person who is licensed under ORS 166.291 and 166.292 to carry a concealed handgun, unless the person possesses a firearm in a state building or in violation of an ordinance, rule or policy adopted pursuant to section 1 of this 2021 Act.”
In its response to the bill’s passage, OFF stated, “The Democrats gave no examples of CHL holders in Oregon shooting up libraries or bus shelters. This extreme attack on the rights, and even the freedom of Oregon’s most law abiding citizens, was motivated by nothing more than the ‘feelings’ of liberals whose mental stability is clearly in question.”
This description underscores an assertion Second Amendment advocates have been making for years, that the gun control campaign is based largely on emotion.