The state of Washington is a weird state in so many ways. As we noted on Thursday, they’re a pretty blue state, but they have a lot of gun ownership. I explored why I think that is at the time.
Yet it seems that some in the state aren’t happy with that state of affairs. They want a lot more gun control and a handful of measures are so egregious that sheriffs in the eastern parts of the state are already speaking out.
And, frankly, with these measures, that’s a very good thing:
Perhaps the most aggressive assault on 2nd Amendment rights is being proposed in Olympia this legislative session. Three bills have been introduced and they are:
- HB (House Bill) 1143 which would require special permits to buy guns, including fingerprints and a medical history waiver.
- SB (Senate Bill) 5078 which would allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers and dealers stemming from the actions of criminals (who commit a crime using a firearm).
- SB (Senate Bill) 5193 which is an “assault” weapons ban. This would outright ban the sale of dozens of types of semi-automatic weapons, such as the AR-15
Several Eastern WA Sheriffs have publicly issued statements regarding these proposals, by sharing a letter sent to the legislature and Gov. Inslee from the Washington State Sheriff’s Association. The letter said in part:
“Restrictions that shift focus from offenders to law-abiding citizens send the wrong message and erode constitutional guarantees upheld by the United State Supreme Court.”
They also point out that the state constitution has its own Second Amendment-like language.
However, this is incredibly troubling for those living in Washington state. An assault weapon ban has been a possibility for a few years now and a bill that will supposedly allow lawsuits isn’t that shocking either. Both are inherently wrong and should be slapped down by the federal courts.
Yet it’s HB 1143 that may be the biggest problem.
First, it requires a license just to purchase a firearm. While that exists in a number of states, we should point out that it hasn’t done jack squat to prevent violent crime in Chicago, which has such a law in place. License-to-purchase laws don’t actually do anything to combat bad actors. They don’t get guns lawfully.
As bad as a licensing requirement is, though, the idea of requiring a medical waiver is especially problematic. You’re basically saying someone needs to get a note from their doctor saying they’re OK to exercise a constitutionally protected right.
Are you kidding me?
There’s no way this should ever be acceptable. Especially since you can’t force a doctor to sign such a waiver. A physician who is adamantly against gun ownership simply won’t sign, regardless of whether or not a patient is a danger to anyone or themself. That leaves that person out in the dark, unable to buy a gun despite there being nothing to disqualify them from doing so lawfully.
“Oh, he can just go to another doctor,” someone will reply, and that’s true. But will that doctor actually be able to comment on that individual’s medical history at all? Will they be able to make an informed decision about whether signing that waiver is truly wise?
See, my point here is that the waiver idea isn’t anything but an attempt to throw more and more roadblocks in the way of lawful gun buyers. It’s not going to actually make anyone safer.
And the sheriffs in the eastern parts of Washington state know this. They can see this as plainly as we can, so they’re speaking out.
Will these measures pass? That remains to be seen. I hope not. If they do, though, there will be lawsuits filed almost immediately and, in time, these will be overturned by the courts.
Lawmakers should save everyone some time and just skip it.