ALL HANDS–THIS IS IT.
THIS IS THE FIGHT OF YOUR LIFE!
WE NEED EVERYONE ON BOARD!
SB 5217 AWB (ASSAULT WEAPON BAN) AND SB 5568 STATE PREEMPTION WILL DESTROY YOUR GUN RIGHTS
Keep an eye on the Easy Actions of the Day for ways you can help us stop these regressive bills!
These two bills are the signature bills for all the anti-gun politicians and Bloomberg-backed anti-gun organizations. They’ve been trying to pass these for YEARS now and we’ve beaten them back every single time.
But this year we need EVERYONE to get involved. And we mean EVERYONE! It is ONLY by providing a united front will we convince the in-the-middle politicians that they won’t get re-elected if they vote for these bills!
Below are some great talking points. If you have some spare cycles to help collect, collate and distill more, PLEASE contact us!
SB 5217-Assault Weapons Ban
This bill will ban the sale of nearly all semiautomatic rifles, and allow use of existing semiautomatic rifles only at ranges or for hunting.
Semiautomatic rifles make up the vast majority of rifles owned by citizens of Washington.
Semiautomatic rifles banned by this bill are in common use among Washingtonians, and as such this bill runs afoul of Supreme Court rulings in Miller v. US, Heller v. US, and subsequent cases.
This bill will not address crime; according to the FBI, in 2019 there were five murders committed with a rifle in Washington.
The CDC specifically determined that 1994-2004 Assault Weapon and Magazine ban did not have a “discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”
Semiautomatic rifles are commonly used for self defense, including among marginalized communities. This bill will make all communities less safe.
If you’re interested in data, you HAVE to look at this article by one of our cofounders where he dives into the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report.
Huge shoutout to WAgunner on our discord server for putting these together!
Hundreds of thousands of Washington State voters will be affected by this bill as the vast majority of gun owners today own a rifle that meets this bill’s definition of an “assault rifle”
- Almost every single rifle at the range these days meets this bill’s definition of an assault weapon. There are over 1 million gun owners in Washington, the majority of which own semi-automatic rifles. That is a lot of voters who don’t know what is being brought forward as a bill now, but will find out after passing, and finding out that the legislature has made buying what you already own a felony is something that will be remembered at the next election.
So-called “assault weapons” are not just the most common rifles, they are the default choice for gun owners
- Semi-automatic rifles that meet the definition of an “assault rifle” under this bill are not just common, they are by far the MOST COMMON type of rifle. For example at major online retailer Brownells all of the top 25 most popular semi automatic rifles meet this bill’s definition of an “assault rifle”.
The features banned are are either useful for the safe handling of the firearm or cosmetic
- The features that are banned either make the firearm easier to control and therefore should not be banned as we want lawful gun owners to be in safe control of their firearms, or they are cosmetic and therefore they shouldn’t be banned as regulating cosmetic features serves no purpose, the legislators don’t get to claim it both ways.
Semi-automatic rifles are extremely rarely used in crime
- According to the FBI, in 2019, the last year they have complete records, there were five murders in Washington where the murderer used a rifle, not even specifically an semi-automatic rifle, just any type of rifle, that same year there were over double that many murders with hands, feet, etc., rifles as an entirety are not a problem.
A national “assault weapon ban” had no effect, a local one would be even less effective
- The CDC’s own study about the 1994-2004 AWB and LCM ban found “there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence, based on indicators like the percentage of gun crimes resulting in death or the share of gunfire incidents resulting in injury, as we might have expected had the ban reduced crimes with both AWs and LCMs”, in other words even a national ban of both AWBs and LCMs had no effect in the reduction of “gun violence”. A local ban can only be less effective than a national ban.
Concealed carry permit holders are extremely law abiding and should be exempt from an Semi-automatic rifle ban.
- Concealed carry permit holders are extremely law abiding, in fact a 2017 study found that in Florida and Texas Concealed Carry Permit holders are convicted of misdemeanors or felonies at one sixth the rate of police officers. If police are exempt from this why are concealed carry permit holders who are more law abiding not exempt?
Semi-automatic rifles are useful for self defense as demonstrated by police officers across the state keeping them available in their patrol cars
- Police officers across the state, including the ones that are stationed at the Capital have semi-automatic rifles available to them, often kept in their patrol cars. Police should only use firearms to protect life, so if semi-automatic rifles are not useful for self defense then why do police officers routinely keep them in their patrol cars?
Gun control, including the proposed “assault weapon” ban, is used disproportionately against BIPOC. Supporting these laws is supporting racism.
- In the past two years in Wayne County, home of Detroit, 97% of those charged with just carrying a concealed weapon without a license and no other crime were black. This is just another example of the long storied history of racism through gun control. Gun laws have always disproportionately been applied to BIPOC and always will be. The proposed semi-automatic rifle ban will be used as a tool for law enforcement and prosecutors against our BIPOC community.
The semi-automatic rifle ban furthers the prison pipeline for victimless crimes
- In this day and age when we are finally aware of the lifelong effect a criminal charge has on someone and their family we should not be destroying people’s livelihoods, sending them to prison, just over the mere possession of a firearm with a feature or model name that the bill sponsors don’t like. This bill isn’t about banning dangerous use of an “assault weapon”, this bill is about sending someone to prison for a victimless crime, creating generational poverty, separating people from their families. Stop adding to the prison pipeline and reject the AWB.
Semi-automatic rifles are already heavily regulated in Washington State based on a vote by the people and they did not vote for a complete ban
- Initiative 1639 heavily regulated semi-automatic assault rifles which would include all semi-automatic rifles under this bill and ones that don’t even meet the feature or name ban. If it is the will of the people to further regulate these firearms they can use another initiative. Plus the legislature hasn’t even studied the effects of I-1639 and yet already wants to further erode our rights.
Semi-automatic rifles are commonly owned by hundreds of thousands of Washington State votes for the purpose of self defense and therefore are protected by the state constitution.
- Semi-automatic rifles are commonly owned for the purpose of self defense. The Washington State Constitution says: “the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired”. As these are commonly owned and used for self defense, banning them is an impairment and the legislature doesn’t get to decide what is necessary for self defense…the individual citizen does.
Two “Assault Weapon” ban cases are before the 9th circuit court of appeals and are held pending the Supreme Court decision in NYSRPA v Bruen. Implementing a law with unresolved constitutionality is unethical and immoral.
- There are two active Assault Weapon Ban cases before the 9th circuit court of appeals, both stayed by the 9th circuit pending the outcome of NYSRPA v Bruen, to implement an Assault Weapon Ban when the 9th circuit believes the issue needs to be reviewed and believes that the Supreme Court is going to weigh in on it is unconscionable.
Sound suppressors are a safety device to protect hearing. Treating a safety device as a ban feature demonstrates how wrong the feature ban is.
- The legislature recently fully legalized the use of sound suppressors, which do not silence gunshots, but in reality just reduce the sound level to the point it won’t damage hearing, and now they want those same safety devices to be part of what defines an assault weapon. That demonstrates how bad the feature part of the ban is.
Short-barreled rifles are highly regulated and not used in crime. There is no purpose to ban them.
- The legislature has recently fully legalized registered short barreled rifles, these are by law registered, require an extra tax, an extra background check, and fingerprinting performed to own one. These are also not used in crime, they should if anything be excluded from the ban entirely due to the additional federal regulations already on them and non-use in crime.
Semi-automatic rifles are in common use and therefore protected by the United States Bill of Rights.
- The supreme court found in Miller v United States and reaffirmed in both Heller and Caetano that the second amendment does specifically protect arms in common use, and semi-automatic rifles most certainly are in Washington State. In the unanimous decision of Caetano they reaffirmed that modern arms are covered by the second amendment, not just arms in common use at the time of the writing of the bill of rights.
Criminalizing something as minor as forgetting to lock a container is wrong
- We should not criminalize someone forgetting to lock the separate container the AW must be stored in. Likewise we should not criminalize stopping to get groceries on the way home to the range or your spouse taking your rifle instead of hers to the range.
The semi-automatic rifle ban criminalizes families sharing a hobby.
- Under the proposed law a spouse taking their spouse’s identical featured rifle to the range would be a felony. A father cannot teach their son safe firearm handling at the range with their rifle. A mother cannot loan her firearm to her daughter who survived an attack by an abusive ex if that firearm has a banned model name or feature. Sending people to prison, creating generational poverty over this is wrong.
Here are some more basic talking points:
- Myth of an “assault weapon”
- Crime statistics, awb’s are seldom used in violent crimes. – won’t improve public safety
- Making criminals out of law abiding citizens
- Takings Clause / legal cases
- Jobs and economic impact – Aero and others
Here are some very good points provided by the NRA-ILA.
SB 5568-Overturning State Preemption
Presently, WA State law preempts “the entire field of firearms regulation” at the state level in RCW 9.41.290. This means that all firearm regulations, including “the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms, or any other element relating to firearms or parts thereof, including ammunition and reloader components” must be made by the state. The statute prohibits cities, towns, and counties or other municipalities from making laws regulating firearms that are inconsistent with or exceed the requirements of state law.
This bill would enable horribly anti-gun politicians in Seattle, King County, Tacoma, Olympia, and elsewhere to create any onerous anti-gun law they can dream up, without being held accountable by the legislature.
The proposed bill would create a patchwork of prohibited places that would be impossible to keep track of. A concealed carry permit holder could unknowingly commit a crime by going to hiking trails, parks, libraries, community centers, ferries, and other government owned properties.
Here are some additional basic talking points:
- A myriad of mismatching laws and regulations will inevitably make criminals out of citizens as they violate an ordinance of which they were previously unaware as they travel from one city to another.
- Disproportionately affects minorities ie bigger cities in WA will implement regulations denying citizens their 2A rights which affects minority communities more.
- Creates confusion and uncertainty for law enforcement.
- Potential conflicting state, local and federal laws / regs
It is interesting to note that the NRA has been very active in championing our cause here in Washington as they’ve fought and won against two local ordinances:
In Bass v. Edmonds, Washington’s Court of Appeals sided with NRA-ILA in an important case that ultimately struck two unlawful firearm-storage ordinances. These ordinances—both of which were imposed by the City of Edmonds—required counterintuitive firearm locks and imposed liability for the unlawful acts of criminals seeking to access such weapons. In September, the Washington Supreme Court agreed to hear the city’s appeal. Meanwhile, NRA-ILA is successfully challenging the City of Seattle’s nearly identical storage laws in Alim v. Seattle.https://www.nraila.org/articles/20211217/nra-ila-winter-2021-litigation-newsletter