Puyallup, Wash – -(AmmoLand.com)- At their monthly weekend gun show held at the Puyallup, Wash., fairgrounds, members of the Washington Arms Collectors (WAC) contributed to a fund-raising effort to help support the federal court challenge of anti-gun Initiative 1639, which was passed by Evergreen State voters in November, but is now raising alarms across the state.
That lawsuit was filed jointly by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association, with two firearms retailers and four individual citizens.
It is the latest chapter in an effort to roll back the far-reaching measure, which has already attracted a bipartisan repeal bill in the State Legislature in Olympia, sponsored by State Rep. Matt Shea, and 14 other lawmakers. That measure is House Bill 2103.
And, as reported earlier by AmmoLand, county sheriffs in the state have announced they will not enforce provisions of the initiative, either because the measure is being challenged in court or because they do not believe it is constitutional. Currently, at least 20 sheriffs have taken that approach, along with five county commissions. There is also an online petition aimed at a repeal.
Coincidentally, this upsurge in activism comes as the U.S. House of Representatives is reportedly preparing to vote on a so-called “universal background check” bill – H.R. 8 – this week. Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety sent an email blast Monday calling on fellow gun prohibitionists to flood Congress with calls, asking House members to pass the legislation.
All of this is happening, gun rights activists say, because Democrats are now in control of the House, and they also control the Washington Legislature. Democrats occupy the governor’s offices in Washington and neighboring Oregon, another state facing a push to pass stricter gun controls this year. They seem determined to ratchet down on the rights of gun owners.
The weekend WAC gathering saw a crowd stretching halfway around the fairgrounds, according to show management. The fundraising effort was led by WAC President Bill Burris, a retired Pierce County Sheriff’s detective, one day after a legislative “cut-off” that halted progress on several anti-gun-rights bills. Still, the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a billionaire-backed gun control lobbying group, was crowing that “legislators moved more than a dozen gun responsibility bills out of policy committees, taking action to help save lives and prevent violence in our state.”
What the WAC did over the weekend might serve as a model for other gun show operators and grassroots state or regional organizations. Even local gun clubs could help raise funds by essentially “passing the hat” at meetings, or soliciting donations at gun shows by reminding attendees that if some proposed gun laws are enacted, such as extended “waiting periods,” gun shows could be in peril.
In a way, this is an exercise of karma against Washington State progressive liberals who think nothing of ignoring specific laws if it suits their political agenda. For example, Seattle and King County want to establish so-called “safe injection sites” for heroin users, despite the drug laws. Seattle is a “sanctuary city,” and Washington is a “sanctuary state” that many argue conflicts with federal immigration laws.
If the vote on H.R. 8 occurs this week in the House, the bill still faces an uphill fight in the U.S. Senate, where Republicans remain in control.
Likewise, a second bill that could see House action is H.R. 1112, which would extend the time for a background check from three to ten days, and then an additional ten days if the check doesn’t clear within the original time frame. This legislation could effectively put gun shows out of business; some people worry. In a conversation with WAC’s Burris, he is convinced that the Washington State legislation was designed precisely to damage if not destroy weekend gun shows.
Meanwhile, an alarming bill that is still in play in Oregon is SB 501, a sweeping piece of legislation that requires a person to secure a [new jersey style] permit before purchasing or otherwise receiving firearm, puts a five-round limit on magazines, requires a background check to purchase ammunition and restricts ammunition purchases to 20 rounds per month.
With all of these proposals, many rights activists are convinced that anti-gunners see the Second Amendment and state constitutional right-to-bear-arms provisions more as government-regulated privileges than as protected fundamental rights.
In Oregon, Article 1, Section 27 of the state constitution says, “The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence of themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.”
In neighboring Washington, the state constitutional provision reads, “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.”
About Dave Workman
Dave Workman is a senior editor at TheGunMag.com and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.