Anti-Gun Lawmaker Revives WA Magazine Ban

Days after a ban on so-called high capacity magazines failed to meet a legislative deadline, a Washington State lawmaker is trying to revive the measure by attaching the ban language to another piece of legislation.

Rep. Javier Valdez’s HB2947 repeals a couple of tax breaks in the state, and also establishes a compensated confiscation plan for magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. A public hearing on the measure has already been scheduled for Tuesday morning in Olympia, but in an interesting twist, the original sponsor of the magazine ban says he won’t support the effort to enact the gun control plan through the substitute bill.

“I can’t support this process,” [Rep. Mike] Chapman said Saturday. “It didn’t pass” by the policy bill deadline “and now to tie it to tax policy doesn’t feel right. … The public should know. This is not right.”

“If we open the door and say policy bills can live on then in essence our deadlines mean nothing.”

Chapman said that the controversial measure drew more than 2,000 emailed comments, both pro and con, to his office.

“This is patently unfair,” he said. “How are they going to have time to plan to come to Olympia?”

Chapman said he and his staff had answered a couple hundred of the emails, saying that he planned to work on it again next legislative session.

“Now I’m a liar,” Chapman said, adding that he had not known the new bill would be introduced.

“I apologize to those who got the email.”

Give Chapman a little bit of credit for rejecting the underhanded move to try to pass the magazine ban, even if the legislator thinks the ban itself is a good idea. The Peninsula Daily News reports that another co-sponsor of the original ban, Rep. Steve Tharinger, also says he can’t support Valdez’s end-run around the legislative deadline, though he is still in favor of “doing something” regarding ammunition magazines in the next legislative session.

Though it is short notice, I expect a full house in the House Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday morning. Gun owners in Washington State have done a great job of getting and staying engaged this legislative session, and have already managed to ensure that a ban on so-called assault weapons that was supported by Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson failed in its first committee vote.

Valdez’s attempt to revive the magazine ban seems like a long shot, especially since he’s already lost the support of at least two of the House Democrats who supported the ban in its original form. Still, we can’t take anything for granted. If you’re a gun owner in Washington State and you can’t make it to the state capitol on such short notice to publicly oppose the magazine ban, contact your state representative via email or through a phone call and urge them to reject Valdez’s back-door attempt to confiscate some of the most commonly owned magazines in the state.