From: Joe Waldron [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, April 15, 2011 7:50 PM
Subject: GOAL Post 2011-15
GOAL Post 2011-15
Legislative Update from Olympia 15 April 2011
HB 1016 SIGNED BY GOVERNOR
HB 1455 PASSES SENATE, HOUSE CONCURS, NEXT STOP GOV
SHB 1923 PASSES SENATE, NEXT STOP: GOVERNOR GREGOIRE
HB 2067 LIMITS YOUR RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE... WELL, IT WOULD HAVE
NINE DAYS LEFT IN THE REGULAR SESSION, SPECIAL SESSION LIKELY
Governor Gregoire has signed into law HB 1016, by Rep. Brian Blake (D-19) which legalizes the use of lawfully-owned suppressors (silencers) in Washington. It takes effect 90 days after the end of the current session. With some exceptions, to purchase a suppressor under federal law, your Chief Law Enforcement Officer (county sheriff or city police chief) must approve your purchase application (ATF Form 4). Some sheriffs have refused to sign because while there is no law prohibiting OWNERSHIP of a suppressor in Washington, it has been illegal to USE a suppressor. That prohibition goes away in late July (90 days AFTER the end of the regular session).
As an aside, there was no exception in current law for law enforcement agencies to use suppressors (many of which currently possess suppressed weapons, nominally to take down dogs guarding meth labs and other illegal activities). So under HB 1016, now both cops and citizens can possess AND USE suppressed firearms. It will be interesting to see if any sheriffs still have reservations about citizens owning suppressors... (who they like to refer to as "civilians," ignoring the fact that cops are civilians, too).
HB 1455, by Rep. Jim McCune (R-2), which mandates which courts must accept petitions for restoration of firearm rights, has passed the Senate. Because it was amended in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it was sent back to the House for a concurrence vote. On Thursday, 14 April, the House concurred in the Senate amendment, 49-0. The bill now goes to Governor Gregoire.
SHB 1923, by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45), harmonizing federal and state firearm disqualifiers when CPLs are issued, passed out of the Senate on a 38-9 vote, with two excused. It, too, is headed for the Governor.
HB 2067, by Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48) would repeal RCW 9A.16.110. That section of law is unique in the United States: if a person is charged in Washington with homicide or assault, pleads not guilty by reason of self defense, and the jury (or judge, in the case of a trial by judge) agrees that it was a legitimate case of self-defense with no criminal culpability by the defendant, the defendant is then awarded "reasonable costs" (e.g. cost of defense, lost wages, etc). In his zeal to save taxpayer dollars (and limit the effect of a self-defense plea), anti-gun Rep. Hunter has filed a bill to repeal the law. The true value of RCW 9A.16.110 is that it discourages head-hunting prosecutors from initiating malicious prosecutions. For example, in my 15 years in King County I don't recall a single case of County Prosecutor Norm Maleng making a bad call on a shooting and going after someone who did not deserve prosecution.
We're talking about an average of eight cases per year, statewide, with a total expenditure of about $500,000 a year.. That "saving" won't put much of a dent in the state's current budget shortfall ($5 billion).
A public hearing on HB 2067 was scheduled for Wednesday, 13 April, but was canceled after an overwhelming number of e-mails from irate gun owners flooded the legislature. Reportedly Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43) said, "I don't want to see this again, the issue is dead." (Keep in mind nothing is truly dead until the fat lady sings and the legislators pack their bags and leave Olympia.)
The 2011 regular legislative session will end no later than midnight, Sunday, 24 April -- Easter Sunday. I would have predicted an early adjournment due to the holy day, but it appears the biennial budget will not be finished on time, so a special session is likely. Senate Majority Leader suggested a special session immediately following the regular session, but Governor Gregoire seems inclined to let legislators go home while the fiscal committees dig deeper to find the $5 billion needed to close the gap.
Per the state constitution, the regular session MUST end by midnight on the 105th day, 24 April. Although a special session may be called for any reason (such as the current budget difficulty), one a special session convenes lawmakers may consider any subject(s) they like. Once again, eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
The following bills are still under consideration for the 2011-12 biennium:
Bill # Subject Sponsor Status
HB 1016 Suppressor use Blake (D-19) Signed by Gov.
HB 1455 Restoration of rights McCune (R-2) To Gov.
SHB 1923 CPL qualification Goodman (D-45) To Gov.
HB 2067 Repeal of self defense restitution Hunter (D-48) H. W&M
Key to abbreviations: HB = House Bill, SHB = Substitute House Bill, W&M = Ways & Means
GOAL POSITION ON BILLS
HB 1016 SUPPORT
HB 1455 SUPPORT
SHB 1923 SUPPORT
HB 2067 STRONGLY OPPOSE
No public hearings remain for gun-related bills.
LEGISLATIVE HOT LINE: You may reach your Representatives and Senator by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Toll free!!! The hearing impaired may obtain TDD access at 1-800-635-9993. Also toll free!!!
1-800-562-6000 TDD 1-800-635-9993
OTHER DATA: Copies of pending legislation (bills), legislative schedules and other information are available on the legislature's web site at "www.leg.wa.gov". Bills are available in Acrobat (.pdf) format. You may download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe's web site (http://www.adobe.com). You may also obtain hard copy bills, initiatives, etc, in the mail from the Legislative Bill Room FREE OF CHARGE by calling 1-360-786-7573. Copies of bills may also be ordered toll free by calling the Legislative Hotline at (800) 562-6000. You may also hear floor and committee hearing action live at http://www.tvw.org/ (you need "RealAudio" to do this, available free at the TVW web site).
By reading the House and Senate "bill reports" (hbr, sbr) for each bill, you can see how individual committee members voted. By reading the "roll call" for each bill, you can see how the entire House or Senate voted on any bill. The beauty of the web site is that ALL this information is available, on line, to any citizen.
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"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 2011 Gun Owners Action League of WA