In Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties, violent crimes are rising dramatically. Washingtonians have purchased firearms and taken training classes to protect themselves, their property, and their families.
Unfortunately, Olympia lawmakers see this crime wave as another chance to attack the Second Amendment.
House Bill 1143 is the latest. It and Senate Bill 5211 would require Washingtonians to attend safety training to buy a gun and restrict dealers and buyers.
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As a state senator, my first test for legislation is whether it violates the right to own a handgun. I oppose HB 1143, which fails both tests. Instead, it endangers law-abiding persons, taxes poor Washington families, and does nothing to curb irresponsible and illegal gun use.
I support handgun instruction, especially for beginners, but the Legislature cannot require prerequisites for a fundamental right.
Most Washington gun owners are law-abiding and use guns for self-defense, hunting, or sport. Training and a permit for a constitutional right are unjust and unlikely to stand up in court.
Rep. Liz Berry, D-Seattle, sponsors HB 1143 with an old argument. Berry added, “We demand training and a license to drive a car or go fishing, it’s just basic sense to require a license for purchasing a firearm.
The First and Second Amendments are better comparisons. Lying and inciting others under the First Amendment can be hazardous.
Should publishers and speechmakers need government training and a permit to use their free speech rights? Never. We distinguish constitutional rights from state privileges like fishing or driving.
The bill’s advocates also don’t prove it will reduce gun violence. Criminals using illegal firearms commit most gun crimes.
Mandatory training and permits would not make our communities safer either. Such laws have increased crime in Illinois.
Why does Washington’s Democratic Majority want to limit rights? I know “common sense limitation” is another step towards banning lawfully held firearms when I hear it.
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HB 1143 is another political move to weaken constitutional freedom under the guise of fighting gun violence.
This might matter. Fire safety, CPR, and age-appropriate firearm safety should be taught in state schools. Schools are ideal for teaching handgun safety. My SB 5678 recommends such training.
A committee hearing? The Democrat Majority wants to restrict rights, not train. My legislation to encourage Concealed Pistol License (CPL) holders to obtain formal training by extending their CPL for free never made it to the Senate floor.
The majority leadership in Olympia views this argument as about curtailing your rights, not training.
As crucial, we should tighten Washington’s weapon regulations to target gun-related crimes, not law-abiding gun owners. Democrats have blocked Sen. Lynda Wilson’s R-Vancouver gun theft legislation.
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Let’s enforce weapons trafficking laws instead of passing unjust regulations that hurt law-abiding folks.
Unlike HB 1143, this targeted policy would make a difference.