Bill Text

In a followup to yesterday's posting, we have text!

SB 5342, “AN ACT Relating to safe storage of firearms; amending RCW 9A.36.050; adding a new section to chapter 9.41 RCW; and prescribing penalties.”

This one specifically states that a person is guilty of reckless endangerment if they leave a loaded firearm where a child (defined as anyone under sixteen years of age) is likely to get ahold of it. Defenses include locking the gun up in some way, providing adult supervision, or if the child obtained it through unlawful entry. What I don't like, however, is that there may be some pretty responsible teenagers out there (sure, we hear about the irresponsible ones) that could need to defend themselves with the family firearm.

This bill has a lot of compromise wording in it, including

Nothing in this section shall mandate how or where a firearm must be stored.

However, it does mandate that stores selling guns conspicuously display a sign with the following far less friendly language:

…the following warning sign, to be provided by the department of licensing, in block letters at least one inch in height: “IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE OR LEAVE AN UNSECURED, LOADED FIREARM WHERE A CHILD CAN AND DOES OBTAIN POSSESSION.”

The typical person reading that does not get the comforting glow one might get from reading the bill itself. Notice the sign does not actually call out RCW 9A.36.050 or 1997 c338 s45 where they could look up the actual rules.

No news on whether the signs will cost $500 apiece and take fourteen months to ship. The Department of Licensing is pretty much on top of things. They run the DMV, for example.

SB 5343, “AN ACT Relating to the sale of firearms at gun shows and events; amending RCW 9.41.010; adding a new section to chapter 9.41 RCW; and prescribing penalties.”

Apparently there's been some trouble at gun shows and the legislature is here to save us. I have difficulty remembering the incidents they are responding to, other than the fear, uncertainty and doubt promulgated by the hoplophobes.

The basic idea of this bill is that all sales of firearms at gun shows must be conducted through a dealer, and a dealer may assist with transfers between private citizens for a reasonable fee. (Dealers are folks with a FFL, obtained under 18 USC 923(a).)

We have three basic definitions of “gun show” from this bill:

“Gun show or event” means a place or event, a gun trade show, gun collectors' show, flea market, or auction, other than a permanent retail store, at which three or more individuals assemble to display, sell, lease, or transfer new or used firearms or firearm components to the public and that is not exempt from collecting sales tax under RCW 82.08.0251.

This seems like a reasonably good definition of a gun show.

“Gun show or event” includes a place or event where ten or more firearms are offered for transfer or transferred.

Ah, so if I were to sell off my collection (more then ten firearms) and people came over to my house to look it over, it would now become a gun show. This is a gotcha. I can imagine putting an ad in the paper having people come over and getting stung by the WSP.

“Gun show or event” includes, but is not limited to, an area near the gun show or event that the sponsor knows or should reasonably know will be used for parking for the gun show or event.

Duh, it's a bad idea to circumvent the law by going out in the parking lot to conduct the transaction. However, notice the chilling effect here. They specifically call out the sponsor! The sponsor can hardly regulate the activities of every attendee at the show. In fact, imagine two people driving up to the gun show and advertising and selling in the parking lot. Sponsors will now have to hire security to wander through the parking lot breaking up possible sales.

The other change comes to this line (changes highlighted):

“Dealer” means a person engaged in the business of selling firearms at wholesale or retail who has, or is required to have, a federal firearms license under 18 USC 923(a). A person who does not have, and is not required to have, a federal firearms license under 18 USC 923(a), is not a dealer if that person makes only occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby, or sells all or part of his or her personal collection of firearms, in a private transaction not through a gun show or event.

They are, at least, clarifying that people who make personal sales in private transactions are not dealers… for now.

SB 5344, “AN ACT Relating to possession of firearms on the state capitol campus; reenacting and amending RCW 9.41.300; and prescribing penalties.”

Not a big change, just adding the legislative building at the state capitol to the list of restricted areas in Washington:

It is unlawful for any person to enter the state legislative building on the state capitol campus when he or she knowingly possesses or knowingly has under his or her control a firearm…

Doesn't matter if you have your state-issued CCW, of course. They don't like us. Of course, this only tells us that our state legislators are weenies, since this will not prevent criminals and cronies from bringing their guns onto the capitol. They don't like licensed private citizens from having guns near them.

Last, but certainly not least. SB 5475, “AN ACT Relating to the assault weapons ban of 2005; amending RCW 9.41.010 and 9.94A.515; reenacting and amending RCW 9.94A.515; adding a new section to chapter 9.41 RCW; prescribing penalties; providing an effective date; providing an expiration date; and declaring an emergency.”

Sounds ominous. So, what do they think an assault weapon is?

"Assault weapon" means: (a) Any semiautomatic pistol or semiautomatic or pump-action rifle or shotgun that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine, with a capacity to accept more then ten rounds of ammunition and that also possesses any of the following: If the firearm is a rifle or shotgun, a pistol grip located rear of the trigger; If the firearm is a rifle or shotgun, a stock in any configuration, including but not limited to a thumbhole stock, a folding stock or a telescoping stock, that allows the bearer of the firearm to grasp the firearm with the trigger hand such that the web of the trigger hand, between the thumb and forefinger, can be placed below the top of the external portion of the trigger during firing; If the firearm is a pistol, a shoulder stock of any type or configuration, including but not limited to a folding stock or a telescoping stock; A barrel shroud; A muzzle brake or muzzle compensator; Any feature capable of functioning as a protruding grip that can be held by the hand that is not the trigger hand;
(b) Any pistol that is capable of accepting a detachable magazine at any location outside of the pistol grip;
(c) Any semiautomatic pistol, any semiautomatic, center-fire rifle, or any shotgun with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition;
(d) Any shotgun capable of accepting a detachable magazine;
(e) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder;
(f) Any conversion kit or other combination of parts from which an assault weapon can be assembled if the parts are in the possession or under the control of any person.

Quite a laundry list of cosmetic or convenient features. For some reason cylinders on shotguns are scary, even though there are many ways to have a large amount of ammunition in shotgun magazines.

It's crap of course. However, this is a grandfather clause:

Subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to any of the following:… The possession of an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, but only if the person legally possessing the assault weapon has complied with all of the requirements of subsection (5) of this section;

Now that's especially ominous. What does section five say?

In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing the assault weapon shall do all of the following:(a) Within ninety days following the effective date of this section, submit to a background check identical to the background check conducted in connection with the purchase of a firearm from a licensed gun dealer; (b) Unless the person is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm, immediately register the assault weapon with the sheriff of the county in which the weapon is usually stored; (c) Safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection; (d) Annually renew both the registration and the background check; (e) Possess the assault weapon only on property owned or immediately controlled by the person, or while engaged in the legal use of the assault weapon at a duly licensed firing range, or while traveling to or from either of these locations for the purpose of engaging in the legal use of the assault weapon, provided that the assault weapon is stored unloaded and in a separate locked container during transport.

I can pass a background check. I've done it a hundred times. However, I'm not really happy about giving the sheriff a free fishing expedition on my property every year. I'm not happy about registering my firearms.

As I mentioned before. This lame duck governor may do whatever possible to make this pass. We shall have to be vigilant.

Update: Some have asked about the “State of Emergency” for the Assault Weapons bill. The main piece of information from the bill is this:

This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately, except for section 4 of this act which takes effect July 1, 2005.

Seems mild, but I believe the Democrats want this bill on the books before the possibility of a different governor.

Josh Poulson

Posted Saturday, Jan 29 2005 10:25 AM

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Declaring the Washington Assault Weapons Ban an Emergency

I talked about SB 5475 before in this posting but I did not delve deeply into the emergency clause: This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and... [Read more]

Josh's Weblog

Linked Friday, Feb 4 2005 04:48 PM

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