Washington’s Demorat Gov. Jay Inslee signed seven bills into law Tuesday (May 7) that will add yet more draconian restrictions to civilian gun ownership. The new laws are a litany of re-hashed left wing feel good anti-gun pablum, which will have virtually no effect on reducing crime or improving safety. But they will serve to further the left’s desire to disarm, and thus control the populace.
Inslee, who has entered the race for president, apparently is a true believer in trying to destroy the 2nd Amendment. He has a long history of voting for anti-gun legislation. In 1994, he voted in favor of federal legislation that would have banned the manufacture, sale and possession of “combat-style assault weapons,” a stance that probably cost him his House seat in 1995. Had the bill passed, it would have effectively sent most firearms manufacturers into bankruptcy.
The new laws restrict access in a number of ways, including bans on “ghost guns” and red flag confiscations for juveniles and domestic violence suspects.
One bill that Inslee has yet to sign would require police to confiscate any weapons found on the property of a domestic violence call and put them on a five-day hold, regardless if they were used in a crime or not.
“Our state is a leader on #gunsafety but more work is needed to protect our students & the people of WA. That’s why today I am so happy to sign bills that ban untraceable ghost guns, keep guns away from our most vulnerable Washingtonians & improve gun safety overall,” Gov. Inslee tweeted.
Renee Hopkins, head of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, an advocacy group that supports the governor, said the new laws will make Washington “one of the states with the strongest laws in regard to preventing gun violence.”
Hopkins ignores the fact, backed up by FBI statistics, that gun control has absolutely no effect on reducing crime.
Gun policy watchers have said the bills fit into a broader pattern of legislation around the U.S. Instead of adding new restrictions for all gun owners, the measures generally focus on specific risk groups such as domestic abusers, violent felons or people experiencing a psychiatric crisis.
“It’s taking a risk-based approach to it, and really looking at the situations that we know are highest risk,” said Hopkins, referring to Tuesday’s bills as well as previous legislation involving suicide prevention and secure storage requirements.
Anti-gun advocates in at least 13 states have also successfully pushed extreme risk protection orders, which allow courts or police to summarily confiscate guns without a hearing simply based on perceived risk.
Washington already allows such orders, and one of Tuesday’s bills allows them to be entered against minors, which advocates called an effort to combat school shootings.
By comparison, broader gun control legislation has often struggled to find support in recent years, including in Washington state, where an assault weapons ban and a ban on high capacity magazines failed even though Democrats control both chambers of the state Legislature.
Critics of the new restrictions say even the narrower Washington state bills weaken gun rights, and chip away at the basic God given right of self defense.
Joe Waldron, a spokesman for the Gun Owners Action League of Washington, a group that lobbies against gun control, said he was concerned that some of the bills lacked due process protections and collectively amount to a growing set of restrictions that will affect all gun owners.
“They’re just as happy expanding the list of people that can’t have guns,” Waldron said. “Piece by piece, they’re chopping away.”
Extreme risk protection orders gained traction nationwide after a 2018 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed. It was later revealed that the gunman had been able to access weapons despite early warnings to police.
Waldron believes such orders could be misused.
The bill focused on people on psychiatric holds broadens who can be temporarily barred from possessing a gun after being held under the state’s Involuntary Treatment Act.
State law previously allowed such blocks for people who were ordered to be committed by a judge. Tuesday’s bill makes the blocks automatic even for people held only for 72 hours — a decision made by a medical expert without a judge’s approval.
State law currently bars guns for people found incompetent in criminal trials and then involuntarily committed by a judge, but that block is now set to expand to include people found incompetent but released instead of being committed.
People under restraining orders and domestic violence offenders have also been a focus for incrementally tighter rules from legislators.
Gun surrender was already required for some people subject to restraining and protective orders, but one of the measures signed Tuesday requires the police to serve the orders.
The new rules also update existing gun-surrender requirements for people under restraining orders, adding a requirement for law enforcement to serve the orders.
The so-called “ghost gun” measure involves two types of weapons: Plastic weapons printed on 3D printers, and guns without serial numbers, including ones that can be made from do-it yourself kits available online without a background check. It effectively requires a background check for purchasing such a gun-making kit.
The seven bills Inslee signed Tuesday are:
HB 1465 requires an additional background check for gun buyers who currently possess a concealed carry license.
HB 1739 prohibits possession of untraceable “ghost guns” which include plastic guns printed on 3D printers and guns that do not have a serial number, which are usually acquired through a DIY kit. It also bans the transfer of files for 3-D printable guns.
HB 1786 authorizes police to confiscate guns from those served with restraining and protective orders.
SB 5027 which expands “red flag” confiscation to juveniles under age 18, permitting an extreme risk protection order to be filed against them and barring their firearms possession for up to one year, renewable on an annual basis.
SB 5181 which implemented a six-month gun rights suspension from anyone under 72-hour psychiatric detainment permitted by Washington’s Involuntary Treatment Act, which is not decided by a judge but by a medical expert. In the past, those laws pertained only to people who had been committed by a judge.
SB 5205 which bans gun ownership to those with a history of violence and found incompetent to stand trial but not committed, where the current law has only banned guns from those declared incompetent and involuntarily committed by a judge.
SB 5508 which further adds concealed carry license requirements, requiring applicants to undergo a fingerprint-based background check through the FBI in addition to checks through the state databases.
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