19. January 2023 · Comments Off on Ag and Rural Caucus Reorganization, January 2023 · Categories: Committee News, Recent Events
ARC Reorganization
6:30 pm Thursday 19 Jauary
Meeting ID: 840 9344 6627 
Passcode: 148588

Gun Control Bills

The table is set. At least four “gun control” bills have been introduced in the Legislature.
HB 1143: (18 co-sponsors); requires permit and training
HB 1144: (17 co-sponsors); requires training certificate
HB 1178: (15 co-sponsors); repeal state preemption to allow local governments adopt more restrictive regulation of firearms
HB 1240: (26 co-sponsors); prohibit manufacture or sale of “assault rifles”

House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee held its first public hearing yesterday, 17 January. I very much encourage you to view the hearing.

HB 1143 and 1144 are similar except that the latter does not require a permit in advance of purchase.

Opposition centers on the registry of permit holders (“unconstitutional”) created by 1143, and the purchaser’s expense for the required firearm training required by both.

Representative Walsh (LD 19) in the hearing makes much of the Supreme Court’s Bruen decision from June, 2022. 

Since Heller and McDonald, the Courts of Appeals have developed a “two-step” framework for analyzing Second Amendment challenges that combines history with means-end scrutiny. The Court rejects that two-part approach as having one step too many (emphasis added).

“Means-end scrutiny” here means questioning a permit applicant’s reasons for carrying a firearm. The overturned New York law required the applicant to have a good reason over and above his/her right to a firearm: An individual who wants to carry a firearm outside his home may obtain an unrestricted license to “have and carry” a concealed “pistol or revolver” if he can prove that “proper cause exists” for doing so.

The Bruen decision is written by Justice Thomas. It is an example of “original intent” thinking. Take a look.

A more familiar theme is that advocates are “weak on crime”. The solution is, instead, to tighten the penal system. 

HB 1178 repeals Washington’s state preemption of gun regulation. Local governments can make more restrictive regulation. My reading, however, is that local governments are still required to observe minimum state requirements (see below).

HB 1240 bans assault rifles. Its language preempts the usual complaint that the category of “assault” rifle is fiction, by providing detailed language about the targeted firearms.
 Status Quo Ante
Washington bans “bump stocks” (which enables semi-automatic weapons to fire automatically), ghost weapons, and high-capacity magazines, and imposes exceptional regulations on purchase:

No dealer may deliver a semiautomatic assault rifle to the purchaser until: (1) the purchaser provides proof they have completed a recognized firearm safety training program within the last five years; (2) the dealer is notified by the chief of police or sheriff that the purchaser is eligible to possess a firearm and the purchase is approved; and (3) 10 business days have elapsed since the purchase application or, in the case of a transfer, 10 business days have elapsed from the date a background check was initiated. • The purchaser of a semiautomatic assault rifle must be personally known to the dealer or present clear evidence of his or her identity. • Subject to various exceptions, a person under 21 years of age may not purchase a semiautomatic assault rifle, and no person may sell or transfer a semiautomatic assault rifle to a person under 21 years of age

Assault weapons in Washington are regulated by prohibiting the sale of magazines holding more than 10 cartridges. The ammunition is similar to that used in hunting rifles like the 30-06 for hunting. The distinctive feature of assault weapons is that they are semi-automatic.

Assault rifles get our attention because they are disproportionately used in “mass murders” where six or more people are killed. Assault weapons make up about five percent of private firearms in this country (20,000,000 out of 400,000,000 total). They account for about four percent of gun deaths, but about two-thirds of deaths from “mass murder”.

Opponents claim banning assault weapons is glory seeking by urban liberals. They correctly point out that handguns – not assault rifles – account for sixty percent of gun deaths (with nearly forty percent not identified). Opponents claim that it is hypocritical to ban assault rifles when handguns kill more people.: Regardless of the definition being used, fatalities in mass shooting incidents in the U.S. account for a small fraction of all gun murders that occur nationwide each year.

Opponents also note, again correctly, that banning assault rifles does not address suicide deaths by firearm, more than half (54%) of all deaths by firearm and about half (53%) of all suicides. The recurring theme is that people are the problem, not the gun.

Finally, Steve Starr alerted me to gun homicides in rural communities: From 2016 to 2020, 13 of the 20 U.S. counties with the most gun homicides per capita were rural: 80 percent of these 20 counties are in states that received an “F” grade for their weak gun laws, according to Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence 
Join us tomorrow evening to talk about firearms, deaths by firearms, and gun control.

18 January 2023

Potpourri: Elections, State Meeting, Guns

Thursday we will do a mix of things.

First, we will do reorganization. I will turn the meeting over to a neutral party who will then announce that no one other than the current office holders were nominated to run for 2023-2025 office. This means that I will return as chair, Teresa Purcell as Vice Chair – West, Robert Schutte as Vice-Chair East, Claus Joens as Secretary, and Marty Gilmore as Treasurer. (Robert and I wrote candidate statements. Follow the links.)

We have good geographic spread: Walla Walla County, Cowlitz County, Pend O’Reille, Whatcom, and Jefferson. We have the corners covered. We are short on the middle but we have really strong CD 4 participation in the Policy Committee.

I encourage everyone to participate in our various meetings and programs. ARC proceedings thrive because they are open.

Second, we will anticipate State Party reorganization with announcements and field questions from new state committee people about what to expect. I will share plans for ARC in Olympia (ARC caucus meeting; social event).

Third, we will return to talking about fire arm regulation – gun control. We will talk about guns but not act. We need to address this third-rail of rural politics because it is on the state’s agenda. We did not put it on the state’s agenda but there is no better place than ARC to talk about guns.

We owe it our rural candidates to make sense of the facts about guns in Washington and about proposals coming from our urban colleagues.

I received a handful of excellent responses to my December invitation to comment. Thank you. Our ARC members cover the range of positions, including the middle of not knowing quite what we should do.

To set the stage boundaries, I direct you to the Alliance for Gun Responsibility for the new agenda, and to Senator Phil Fortunato’s (LD 31-Auburn) GOP response.

See you Thursday.

16 January 2023

Housekeeping…Reorg and Meet up

Our reorganization meeting will be virtual at 6:30 pm Thursday 19 January.

Who can vote? Virtually anyone. A member is:

Any resident of Washington who supports the purpose of the ARC and agrees to be publicly identified as a Democrat. Members must identify themselves to the Secretary to ensure that they receive correspondence from the ARC and can be confirmed as eligible voters.

You are a member and voter if you have received this mailing.

Who can run for office? Again, virtually anyone. We do separate our vice-chairs between east and west and by gender. Current officer holders, and ARC Bylaws, are on the website: arcwashdems.wordpress.com.

County chairs do have a little privilege as members of the Policy Committee. As you complete your county reorg’s please forward me your chair’s name and email, even if there has not been a change. Chairs, of course, can delegate their ARC participation.

Please, too, forward this email to anyone you may think interested in ARC and urge them to send their contact information to Claus Joens, joenscabin@gmail.com, ARC Secretary, and copy me.

We will elect chair, two vice chairs, secretary, and treasurer. Officers are not required to hold local county office. Ronn Wright (w7eryron@gmail.com will act as elections coordinator. Please indicate your interest in running to him by 31 December, and include a persuasive statement to be circulated to the membership.

Other business:

We will meet socially in person at the State Central Committee Meeting in Olympia. Tentatively, we will meet Friday evening 27 January at 5 pm in the hotel restaurant. At least a handful of us will be in town and we would like to meet up. More later.

8 December 2022

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