GOAL Post 2013-UPDATE 3
Legislative Update from Olympia 17 October 2013
KERRY SIGNS UN ARMS TRADE TREATY
BI-PARTISAN GROUP OF SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES OPPOSE
LEGISLATIVE “WORK SESSION” ON BACKGROUND CHECKS
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE GOES HOG WILD FOR GUN CONTROL
COLORADO RECALLS SENATORS FOR ANTI-GUN VOTES
GRASSROOTS ACTIVISM TRAINING EVENTS
On 25 September, United States Secretary of State John Kerry signed the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, making the United States the 113th country to sign. However, at this time only seven countries have actually ratified the treaty (not all countries require ratification, especially those countries that are effectively dictatorships). At this point, the United States is a l-o-n-g way from ratification. Sooner or later, Senate Majority Leader Harry “Friend of the NRA” Reid will undoubtedly push for a ratification vote, but there are far too many other controversial issues facing the Senate right now.
Bi-partisan groups of 51 U.S. Senators and 101 Representatives sent separate letters to President Obama opposing the UN ATT. While ratification by the Senate is unlikely, there is something to keep in mind: the Constitution requires approval of 2/3 of Senators to ratify a treaty. This DOES NOT necessarily mean 67 Senators. The Constitution says “2/3 of Senators PRESENT” when a vote is taken. A case of a Republican-only flu or similar legislative shenanigans could put us at risk. Would Harry Reid do that?
On Thursday, 3 October, the Washington state House Judiciary Committee conducted a “legislative work session” on firearm background checks. This was not a public hearing, but an internal workshop intended to provide information to lawmakers on the tops of the session. Of the 13 members of the House Judiciary Committee, only five members attended the session — all Democrats. In addition to state employees from the Washington State Patrol, the Department of Licensing, the Department of Social and Health Services, and Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza testifying, input was taken from a Special Agent from the Seattle Office of the ATF and two representatives of the gun community: myself and a Federal Firearms Licensee from Vancouver.
While the session was supposed to inform legislators about how the current background system works, most of the testimony from the state employees sounded like it was a budget development session, with several complaints about inadequate staffing, inadequate funding, inadequate time to conduct background checks, etc. (And gun control advocates want to EXPAND the background check requirement EXPONENTIALLY by requiring background checks on ALL firearm transfers (including loans)?
DSHS recommended expanding the current mental health prohibition to include individuals put on a 72-hour mental health “hold” for evaluation. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Haven’t they heard about fundamental Constitutional rights and due process?
There was brief discussion of extending the state handgun background check process (separate white form, etc) to long guns. No one was hot for the idea, but that doesn’t mean it won’t come up in January!
The sole FFL present had very little to say.
I covered gun show procedures, both as conducted by the Washington Arms Collectors and commercial gun shows, then spent time addressing other background check-related issues, as well as answering questions posed by the Representatives present.
Overall, it wasn’t much of an “educational” session. Again, the focus was supposed to be on the CURRENT system, not an examination of future proposals (such as I-594). The session was aired live by TVWashington, and is available from their archives at http://tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2013100061
During its 2013 session, the Democrat-dominated California legislature passed at least 11 gun control bills. Given the demographics in the Golden State, that is likely all we can expect from Sacramento as long as our republic lasts. To his credit, Governor Jerry “Governor Moonbeam” Brown (D) only signed four of the bills into law. He vetoed the remaining SEVEN.
Bills that are now law in the State of California include those prohibiting the use of lead ammunition for hunting (!), expanding the child access prevention (CAP) law (i.e. “lock up your safety” adding full civil liability for parents/guardians, banning the sale of parts or repair kits that could be used to build a magazine with a capacity of greater than ten rounds, and finally, expanding the current requirement for a buyer to obtain a “handgun safety certificate” to buy a handgun to long gun firearm transfers as well.
Brown vetoed bills expanding and adding new registration fees to semi-automatic “assault weapons” not previously covered as well as banning future sale/transfer, further restricting the sale of handguns not on the official “Attorney General’s approved handgun list” (almost all older handguns), effectively repealing California’s existing already-less-than-perfect state preemption law, making it a crime to fail to report to police a stolen firearm, banning gun shows at the Cow Palace (a hot issue in San Francisco), banning certain non-traditional shotguns, and lastly, expanding the list of persons prohibited from possessing a firearm to include anyone convicted of DUI Of a motor vehicle or boat.
As sure as death and taxes, most of those bills will be back before the governor in the future.
Colorado is another state where Democrat-dominated politics resulted in passage of restrictive gun control laws this year, including a ban on normal capacity magazines. Colorado gun owners did not take this sitting down. They ran recalls on two of the leading state Senators involved in the gun control feeding frenzy: Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron. The recall petition drives were successful AND the recall elections themselves were successful by strong margins. Both long-term state Senators are now drawing unemployment. The Democrats now hold only a one-seat majority in the state Senate, 18 to 17, and gun owners have initiated a THIRD recall election for another gun-grabbing Senator.
The success of the Colorado recalls has sent signals throughout the western states and perhaps nationwide about what can happen to elected officials who demonstrate a willingness to deny fundamental rights. Meanwhile USA Today reported that pro-gun-control Democrat Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is urging outside gun control groups (such as soon-to-be-unemployed Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns) to STAY OUT OF COLORADO. Bloomberg contributed $350,000 to Morse and Giron, money thrown down the tube.
Both pro-gun I-591 and anti-gun I-594 are moving forward. The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility says it turned in 150,000 petition signatures to the Secretary of State a short time ago. They’re now collecting additional signatures to ensure they have a margin of safety for the 246,000 VALID signatures needed to get the initiative before the legislature in January. I-591, too, is close to the necessary amount of signatures needed to move forward. They should be turning over signatures in the near future.
I expect BOTH initiatives will be certified by the Secretary of State and move over to the legislature for action during the 2014 regular session, which begins in mid-January. It is up to the legislature to pass either or both, to ignore either or both, or to pass an amended version of either of the initiatives. 2014 is an election year, so I expect at this time that the legislature will punt, and kick BOTH initiatives to a vote of the people in November 2014. That means another major campaign during 2014 to ensure we prevail on election day.
While we’re discussing initiatives, two “grassroots campaign workshops” will be conducted in Western Washington this weekend. These political action workshops run 8 hours and cover different material than the previous meeting in Tacoma.
This Grassroots Campaign Workshop teaches you how to manage or contribute to a winning campaign, advocacy organization, or legislative initiative. Ideal attendees are campaign staff, candidates, activists, or groups interested in working on ballot initiatives, propositions, or legislation.
Topics to be covered include developing a persuasive message, building grassroots infrastructure, recruiting and managing volunteers, getting voters to the polls, building strong coalitions and targeting voters with a specific message.
The workshops will be conducted on Saturday and Sunday — this weekend. Saturday’s event is at the Silverdale Beach Hotel, 3073 NW Bucklin Hill Rd, Silverdale, WA. On Sunday, the event goes down at Picasso Catering, 3822 S. Union Ave Suite D, Tacoma, WA. Both events run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For the Silverdale event, contact http://leadershipinstitute.org/training/school.cfm?SchoolID=23984
For the Tacoma event, contact http://leadershipinstitute.org/training/school.cfm?SchoolID=23987
Registration: $25.00 + breakfast and lunch will be offered at the training for $10.00 total.
Downloadable event flyers and agendas are also on the RSVP links.
BILL STATUS, BILL POSITION and PUBLIC HEARING SECTIONS DELETED UNTIL THE LEGISLATURE RESUMES ACTION.
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Upcoming WAC gun show(s):
Monroe 2-3 November
Puyallup 23-24 November
“The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
Article 1, Section 24
Constitution of the State of Washington
Copyright 2013 Gun Owners Action League of WA