Saturday February 16, 2013 saw a large crowd of over 160 people assemble at Coffee Villa in Orchards, Washington. We assembled to meet new friends, discuss pending legislation, politics or whatever came to mind. Most came armed with a gun strapped to their hip to show support for our right to “keep and bear arms” that is once again under assault as government, unwilling to give up their arms, tries to pass new laws to inhibit our right to self defense by a firearm.
I was pleased to see favorable media coverage from both KGW News in Portland as well as our own local newspaper of record, the Columbian. To be honest, coverage was much better than I expected, having seen biased coverage in the past concerning guns and favoring efforts to further restrict our right to own one.
Many may think that many armed people in a small space, standing in a long line to order and be served their coffee is a recipe for disaster. Not so, as everybody in attendance came to show those with an abnormal fear of guns that guns in the hands of private citizens is nothing to be fearful of. Everybody respected each other’s space as discussions were carried on throughout the establishment.
While several subjects were discussed, the main focus was on legislation pending concerning guns, both efforts to preserve our freedom and those to further inhibit it. Most knew of some of the legislation, but not all were aware of just how many bills have been proposed and are currently pending in our state currently as not every bill makes it into the news.
HB 1012 by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23) An act relating to justifiable homicide WITHDRAWN, would have repealed the Stand Your Ground law
HB 1147 by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45) “Modifying first degree unlawful possession of a firearm provisions”
HB 1371 by Rep. David Taylor (R-15) “Adopting the Washington state firearms freedom act of 2013 and establishing penalties”
HB 1588 by Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) “Requiring universal background checks for firearms transfers”
HB 1612 by Rep. Mike Hope (R-44) “Concerning information on firearm offenders”
HB 1676 by Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-32) “Encouraging safe storage of firearms”
HB 1703 by Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-27) “Promoting firearm safety through an education program funded through fees on firearms and ammunition and creating a sales tax exemption on gun locks”
HB 1729 by Rep. Judy Warnick (R-13) “Prohibiting the possession of firearms by a criminal street gang associate or member”
HB 1788 by Rep. Liz Pike (R-18) “Allowing public school districts and private schools to adopt a policy authorizing permanent employees to possess firearms on school grounds under certain conditions”
SB 5479 by Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33) “Establishing a process for voluntary temporary safekeeping of firearms with law enforcement agencies”
SB 5604 by Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-19) “Creating ‘National Rifle Association’ special license plates”
SB 5625 by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) “Requiring universal background checks for firearms transfers”
SB 5635 by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) “Granting courts discretion to deny restoration of firearm rights to a person who has been involuntarily committed for mental health treatment when it appears the person is likely to engage in violent or unsafe behaviors”
SB 5711 by Sen. Adam Kline (D-37) “Requiring universal background checks for firearms transfers”
SB 5737 by Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) “Banning the sale of assault weapons”
SB 5739 by Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) “Promoting public safety by expanding local authority to enact ordinances restricting firearms in parks and recreational facilities”
That is the list of current bills proposed in the latest legislative session after the tragic shooting we saw in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. All but one is still on the table, some looking likely to pass.
Ironic is the one bill withdrawn, HB 1012 by Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-23) was due to threats received, according to Rep. Appleton. The irony is that if the bill had passed and some hothead actually did come after her, the very bill she proposed would have barred her from defending herself.
Not all of the bills would restrict our right to bear arms. HB 1371 for instance would actually preserve our freedom to bear arms from federal law for a firearm manufactured in Washington State.
Liz Pike’s HB 1788 is perhaps the only real “common sense” bill that would actually protect vulnerable children in schools by allowing local school districts the authority to decide for themselves if qualified teachers and other permanent staff would be permitted to carry a weapon in the school after being properly licensed and undergoing the proper training.
SB 5604 perhaps should not be included in the list since it does not directly apply to guns, but it does allow us to show honor for the National Rifle Association who, even though many of us have our problems with them, remains the largest group lobbying on our behalf to keep and bear arms.
In looking over the bills, don’t be deceived by titles. Bill authors like to make their proposed law sound reasonable and necessary and often, what the bill really stands to do is not revealed in the title. HB 1588 for example, while sounding a bit reasonable, but prevent you from inheriting your fathers or grandfathers gun without paying for another background check and waiting an even longer, unspecified time period that you currently do to obtain a Concealed Carry Permit. You would have to submit even if you hold an active CCP and already own a gun.
HB 1703 is another deceptive bill that would add another tax to gun purchases and even to each individual round of ammunition you purchase, supposedly to pay for an education program legislators have decided to push, neglecting that most gun owners already receive proper education from association or clubs they belong to.
SB 5479 supposedly authorizes local authorities to accept a firearm for safekeeping if you voluntarily surrender it. What is not made known in the title is the safekeeping is in 30 day increments and in order to retrieve the firearm, you must once again submit to another background check, paying up to $50 for the check.
HB 1676 claims to “encourage the safe storage” of a firearm, but actually mandates it along with penalties if you fail to. It also mandates signage in gun stores of gun safes and it being unlawful should a child obtain your firearm, even though it claims otherwise.
As we repeatedly have seen with seat belt and cell phone laws, first passage was said to never be intended as a reason to pull someone over and fine them, but they end up doing just that with successive legislation. Incremental steps is the order to accomplish what is desired and ultimately, the desire is to follow suit of other “enlightened” countries and ban our gun ownership, even to the point of confiscation as some legislators are proposing in Missouri and Minnesota.
In what I would label a Cloward~Piven effort, when two college professors schemed a strategy of collapsing the American economy by overwhelming the welfare system, legislators with no respect for the second amendment are trying to overwhelm the legislature with legislation in hopes of some of them passing and gently chipping away at our right to keep and bear arms.
Once a small victory is achieved, as we saw with incremental steps towards homosexual marriage being legalized, you can expect further legislation in the future in what will undoubtedly be labeled “common sense compromises” to further “protect” us from ourselves by removing our right to own and use a firearm one small step at a time.
This is why gatherings as was held yesterday at Coffee Vila are more important than some may realize. It brings people together, not just to show off a firearm (none were unholstered) but to discuss and make each other aware of efforts to infringe upon our constitutional right.
Once they succeed, we will not only be at the mercy of armed criminals who ignore the law, as they do in other countries where gun ownership is very limited or banned, but we also become subjects to the whims of government, likely a tyrannical government feeling free to impose their will upon us, leaving us no option but to submit.
There are those who will come in saying I am overreacting, a conspiracies, off my rocker or what have you. But, history clearly shows what happens to free people when their government decided to disarm them and they readily complied.
We must fight back by educating ourselves on what each bill intends to do, not just what authors claim.
We must contact each of our elected officials and let them know we do not support these bills and do not wish them to.
We must preserve our freedoms and liberties if we wish to pass them on to our children.