The Washington state legislature operates on a biennium, and this coming January begins its second year. Many bills that didn’t necessarily receive hearings, or have any movement last year, could still be picked back up in the new session – thought this is often a very difficult feat.
The state has a few tremendous legislators that are responsible for introducing many great liberty related bills. They are doing their part, and it’s up to us to do ours. By spreading the word about bills that work to protect our freedoms, we can increase our voice from last year and make a real difference in January.
Last year, the grassroots kept HB 1588 (universal background checks) from passing, despite hardcore opposition. It’s important to remember our victories and use that momentum to be an even more powerful force in the next session.
This brings us to HB 1371; The Firearms Freedom Act. Sponsored by Representative David Taylor, it was originally introduced on January 24th of this year, and was sent to the House Judiciary Committee, which is where it currently resides.
HB 1371 states the following; ” Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington state Constitution clearly secures to Washington citizens, and prohibits government interference with, the right of individual Washington citizens to keep and bear arms.” Noting the oft misused commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution it goes on to say that ” a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Washington and that remains within the borders of Washington is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.”
This is especially important in light of the initiative push on 591, which disallows background checks (and therefore registry) unless there is a uniform national standard. One wonders how far away from that we are. And, this is just the bill that pretends to be on the side of gun owners. In addition to that there is gun control proponent’s I-594, which is really HB 1588 wrapped up in shiny new initiative packaging and which stands a pretty good chance of going to the legislature in January.
Also as we’ve seen so far this year, gun companies have begun pulling out of non gun friendly states, which would mean a loss of revenue as well as a loss of freedom. As Representative Taylor says, “the FFA is an opportunity to promote economic development in Washington state. Removing federal oversight from the production and sales of firearms, firearm components, and ammunition produced in Washington state, is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and would certainly increase production throughout Washington state.”
The maintenance of individual gun rights, as we all know, is going to be an ongoing battle, and we need to not only remain diligent, but step up our game from last year. With that in mind, here are some things you can do…
- Start reaching out to your legislators. Leave messages at their offices. Send them mail. Drop an email once a week. Make sure this topic and this legislation is not far from their minds – before the session ever gets going.
- Share with friends, family, acquaintances. Make sure they know the fine print details of these universal background check bills and how they are dangerous. Make sure they have the bill number for the FFA and information on how to reach out to their own legislators – Some people need a boost! Be informative, be helpful.
- Prepare to inundate the Judiciary Committee in January. Here is their page. Make sure and check the members roster at the beginning of the session so that you know who to call everyday. Firmly, but politely ask them to give this bill a hearing.
The Washington Legislature reconvenes on January 13th. Mark your calendars, folks!