Washington Gun Control Bills Hit With Outpouring of Opposition

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Gun control activists love to claim that the vast majority of the public supports their infringing ways, but there’s certainly no evidence of any overwhelming approval for the wave of restrictions and prohibitions on lawful gun owners introduced in Olympia, Washington this year. Instead, Second Amendment advocates have outnumbered their anti-gun counterparts in the first few days of the 2024 session, including a hearing on Tuesday where bills establishing a permit-to-purchase, gun rationing, and onerous new requirements for firearm dealers were heard for the first time.


There were more than 1,000 people who signed their opposition to the measures, while about 800 gun control advocates signed statements of support. Second Amendment supporters appeared to outweigh the number of anti-gun activists when it was time for the public to testify as well, with many objecting to the demands of gun control activists.

House Bill 1902 is sponsored by Rep. Liz Berry, D-Seattle, along with 39 other House Democrats and is related to a bill passed during the 2023 legislative session that requires a 10-day waiting period before purchasing firearms.

Under HB 1902, dealers may not transfer firearms to a purchaser or transferee until the buyer is able to provide a valid permit to purchase.

Currently, a purchaser must provide a dealer with proof of a completed firearm safety program, but the newest proposal will remove that requirement and instead require purchasers to take a verified safety course to obtain a permit to purchase.

ndividuals can apply for the permit with the Washington State Patrol background check program, and firearms safety courses must be certified through WSP as meeting safety requirements. Live fire shooting exercises are also added as a requirement for the safety course. WSP must then issue or deny the permit within 30 days, under the proposal.

Many testified in support of the measure. Jim Parsons, a Bainbridge Island resident, told the committee that his daughter was one of the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting in 2017. Parsons said although lawmakers have previously passed gun control measures, such as the state ban on assault rifles, he believes more can be done. He said the permit to purchase proposal would prevent unqualified individuals from obtaining firearms.

“Research shows that permit-to-purchase laws are effective in preventing the distribution of firearms from in-state retailers to criminal markets,” Parsons said. “Research also shows that background checks at the point of sale coupled with a permit-to-purchase requirement are associated with lower rates of firearm homicide, suicide and trafficking.”

Many others testified in opposition. Jon Nelson, a concerned citizen, said that he found it ironic that the Legislature was considering bills to restrict peoples’ civil rights around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “Firearms ownership is a constitutional right and this bill is clearly unconstitutional even though it has been cleverly written not to appear so under the guise of being common-sense policy, while lacking any crime statistics to support it or address actual criminality,” Nelson said.


This is just another bureaucratic hoop for would-be gun owners to jump through before they can exercise a fundamental right. Buyers in Washington State are already subjected to “universal” background checks, so the only real purpose of the permit is to mandate that all would-be gun owners complete a “certified firearms safety training program” before they can buy a firearm (and to make it more expensive to do so).

We’ve already seen how anti-gun lawmakers in California are playing games with training; disallowing certified NRA and USCCA instructors from teaching the required classes, which in turn has created a training desert throughout much of the state with gun owners unable to get the instruction that’s required before they can lawfully bear arms. There’s no reason to believe lawmakers in Washington wouldn’t wrap would-be gun buyers in a similar amount of red tape if a permit-to-purchase bill were to pass.

As I wrote about yesterday, violent crime in Washington State has been steadily increasing over the past few years, and the imposition of gun control measures like the aforementioned universal background checks alongside bans on so-called assault weapons and large capacity magazines have done nothing to turn the tide. Seattle and surrounding King County reported almost twice the number of homicides in 2023 as they did in 2019, so why would anyone believe politicians when they say that this time around the laws will make a difference? In the cult of gun control, you’re just supposed to take it as a matter of faith that preventing lawful gun ownership will ultimately lead to fewer armed criminals, but as we’ve seen in cities like Washington, D.C. and nations like Mexico, disarming the public only emboldens and enables the violent actors among us.




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