Washington Democrats Unveil Avalanche Of New Gun Control Bills

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

There are a lot of Second Amendment activists in Washington State, and they’re all going to need to be engaged and involved in the coming months if they hope to stave off the anti-gun ambitions of the Democrats in control of the statehouse in Olympia. The state’s largest gun control organization released its legislative wish list this week, and despite the plunging support for new gun control laws and the drubbing Democrats received in last month’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey, it sounds like most Democrats are eager to get on board.

Prohibitions on weapons at ballot-counting places, local government offices and public meetings. Restrictions on high-capacity magazines. A ban on so-called assault weapons.

Democratic state lawmakers are proposing a fresh round of firearms restrictions as the Washington Legislature prepares to gather in January for its regularly scheduled session.

Some of the proposals — like the high-capacity magazine ban and the assault-weapon prohibition — have for years stalled at the Legislature, despite Democratic majorities.

Other bills being drafted will present new approaches to curbing firearms — but are still likely to draw criticism from conservatives opposed to any new restrictions.

The coming proposals include creating accountability to the gun industry and others through the state’s Consumer Protection Act, according to the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which released its 2022 legislative agenda Tuesday. Another bill would make it harder for people to possess untraceable “ghost” guns by adding homemade firearms to the existing ban.

Another new proposal on the advocacy group’s list is being drafted by Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue. It would give local governments the ability to ban open-carry of firearms in their buildings or at public meetings, including school boards.

Bans on the most commonly-owned ammunition magazines and rifles in the United States. Prohibiting lawful gun owners from carrying in government-owned buildings and other public spaces. Allowing junk lawsuits against gun makers that seek to hold them responsible for the actions of violent criminals, while banning home-built guns. All just “reasonable commonsense gun safety measures” according to anti-gun Democrats like Sen. Kuderer.

“I think that the Second Amendment is in the Constitution, and we all know that it’s there, but it’s like any other amendment,” Kuderer said. “There can be reasonable restrictions placed on it, and that’s what we’re attempting to do with these bills.”

I and many other gun owners would beg to differ about the actual intent of Kuderer and her colleagues. If they were truly interested in public safety then they should be focused on increasing the number of police officers, not decreasing the number of residents exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Cities in Washington state are facing a crisis as crime continues to rise and local law enforcement agencies struggle to keep up in the wake of low staffing and trouble hiring police officers.

Even cities like DuPont, just south of Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Pierce County, are feeling the trickle-down effect.

“Smaller communities like DuPont that are historically safe, that historically have low crime rates are not immune to some of the impacts that our larger metropolitan areas are experiencing,” said DuPont Police Chief Doug Newman.

King County has already seen more incidents of gun violence this year than in all of 2020, with an almost 50% increase. Larger cities in Pierce County, like Tacoma, have also seen an increase in homicides, assaults and motor vehicle thefts.

Newman said combating crime has become more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic and as law enforcement faces a public trust crisis.

“We also are dealing with new sweeping police reform legislation in the state which my officers on a daily basis are trying to, in good faith, adhere to and follow,” said Newman.

Instead of ensuring that local police departments have the funding they need to address officer shortfalls, Democrats like Kuderer would rather have those officers who remain enforce new, non-violent possessory crimes like having a 17-round magazine or a legally-purchased AR-15.

We’re going to be talking more about police staffing shortfalls and the impact they’re having on violent crime on today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, but as far as these gun control proposals go, my take is a simple one: they’re bad news for gun owners, violations of our civil rights, distractions for police and prosecutors, and no impediment whatsoever for those who would use a firearm in the commission of a violent crime. Gun owners in Washington State have been able to stave off some of these proposals in the past, but they need to start contacting their lawmakers now if they’re going to be able to do the same in 2022.