Gun Control Week at the Washington Legislature
It’s gun control week at the Washington Legislature! On Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 10:30 a.m. there will be an important public hearing in the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee where concerned citizens can submit public testimony on four controversial gun control bills. There is an “assault weapons” ban, and two bills to tighten government control on the purchase, sale, and transfer of weapons. In addition, there is a very dangerous bill which would eliminate statewide gun laws, and allow every legal jurisdiction in the state to pass their own gun laws, which would make travel around the state with your legal firearm a complete nightmare. You’d have to know the laws of each jurisdiction you were passing through!
Also on Tuesday, there’s an additional bill with a public hearing in the Senate that would allow the attorney general to sue Firearms Industry members. More details on these bills below.
What can I do to stop these bills?
When the public shows up and submits testimony on a bill the legislators pay attention! This is the lever of power that the Democrats excel at using and which everyday people often ignore. It’s time to take ACTION and submit your testimony! Action Item 1: Visit the committee sign-in page, and testify on all four House bills that the committee is going to hear. Just move the radio button from bill to bill, and a new testify page will reload. At public hearings, you can testify in person, cast a pro/con vote (note your position), and submit written testimony. You can do all three types of testimony if you want to… think of it like having additional votes on a bill.
In-person and the "note your position" testimony must be submitted 24 hours before the start of the hearing. However, written testimony can be submitted for 24 hours after the hearing, so in this case until 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Action Item 2: If you miss those two deadlines, you can STILL email the entire committee anytime before the executive hearing, which as of Sunday, Jan. 15 had not been scheduled yet. At an executive hearing, the committee will decide whether or not a bill will be sent on to the House for a floor vote. You can also email the committee IN ADDITION to your testimony. Please do so. Action Item 3: After you testify, be sure to comment on each bill by visiting its Bill Info page. The comments made on the Bill Page go to your Representatives, so they know you’re concerned about this issue. Remember, keep your comments short. What is State Preemption?
HB 1178 would allow local government with the authority to regulate firearms and will also cancel entirely a law that establishes State Preemption in gun laws. William Kirk over a Washington Gun Law TV has a great explanation of state preemption and the impact of this bill at bit.ly/3iAJBod.
If you think it’s bad that the state of Washington sets gun law and erodes your Second Amendment rights, just imagine what laws King County or Seattle would come up with! How could any citizen know the laws that change a right, if the laws change from zip code to zip code? To oppose this bill, it’s important to do the action items above for HB 1178. Testify, testify, testify and comment. HB 1143 and 1144 both impact firearms dealers, and anyone who wants to purchase or transfer a firearm legally. This essentially creates a “license” for all gun ownership, not just pistols, and will require a fee, a background check, and a training course to purchase a weapon. Testify, testify, testify, and comment.
HB 1240 is essentially an “assault weapons” ban, whatever that is. There is a long list of weapons that would be banned from sale, manufacture, or import by this bill. Remember, testify, testify, testify and comment. Don’t let your Second Amendment rights slip away. Don’t forget the Senate bill that would allow the attorney general to sue gun industry members. This would be like suing a car salesman for an accident caused by a driver. Testify on SB 5078 at the committee sign-in page.
Last week, someone told me he didn’t think testifying on bills would make a difference given our legislature is controlled by Democrats. Remember, only 11 disciples got the Great Commission directly from Jesus Christ. It takes many decades of hard work to change the culture. Start small and show up every day.
These action items aren’t about stopping one bill, or a few bills. Testifying on a bill is like doing reps of an exercise. We are learning to exercise our political muscles. Do a few sets every day, and your political muscles will get stronger and stronger. With consistent daily effort, we will eventually turn the tide and save our state and our nation. Words and the law are today’s battlefield. Fight!
Nancy Churchill is the state committeewoman for the Ferry County Republican Party. She may be reached at DangerousRhetoric@pm.me. The opinions expressed in Dangerous Rhetoric are her own. --------------- Testify at 1-17-23 Public Hearing of House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee. https://app.leg.wa.gov/csi/House?cId=31636&d=01/17/23%2010:30%20AM&aId=149146
Testify on 5078 in the Senate Law & Justice Committee.
Bill Info Search Page
State Preemption and why it’s important by William Kirk at Washington Gun Law
Download the Emails for the 2023 House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee