Legislative Update: 2/8/18


The legislative session in Washington state is at its halfway point, which means the deadline for bills to advance out of committee has passed. Legislation that hasn't moved forward by this point is considered dead, and unfortunately that includes several gun safety items that I've been tracking. These include SB 6049 (a ban on high-capacity magazines) and SB 6146, which would allow local control over firearm restrictions. 

The positive news is that several bills are still alive. SB 5441 is a 6 month restriction on gun possession by anyone who has undergone a mental health evaluation, SB 6298, which would include harassment to the list of domestic offenses that mandate a firearm prohibition, and the bump-stock ban SB 5992, which is scheduled for a public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow. 


In a move that seems to be out of the recent GOP playbook of "guns are making us less safe in more places, so those places need more guns," the Florida Senate is moving forward on legislation that will protect churches from guns by putting guns in churches:

The proposal (SB 1048), sponsored by Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, has been backed by Republican lawmakers who contend it could help prevent incidents such as a massacre last year at a Texas church.
But the bill has been opposed by Democrats and narrowly passed two committees in 6-4 and 7-5 votes.
Under current law, people with concealed-weapons licenses can carry guns at churches and other religious institutions, but they are prevented from doing so if schools are on the property.

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While GOP-controlled legislatures continue their attempts to put more guns in more places, Democratically-held bodies continue to press forward with bills to improve safety and promote common sense. New York Senate Democrats introduced nine measures yesterday that would, among other things:

...stretch background checks to 10 days, ban undetectable firearms, allow lawsuits against gun manufacturers, fund research into gun violence, and add a wide range of new laws to the books in New York. Proponents of the bills say they are aimed at increasing public safety while standing up to what they term “the corporate gun lobby.”
“Enacting this common-sense legislation will help save lives by keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals and banning tools to make legal guns more dangerous,” said Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousin in a press conference. 

The bills are S.3355, S.4363, S.5808, S.5829, S.5922, S. 6902, S.7133, S.7072, and S.7605.

One of the gun lobby and their legislative allies' most effective weapons in their goal of gun proliferation is incrementalism. We've already seen the (mostly proper) adulation of firemen and paramedics lead to legislation to arm them pass overwhelmingly. Now, West Virginia's Senate took another baby step toward Guns Everywhere by unanimously passing SB 244:

The Register-Herald reports Senate Bill 244 revises several conditions including when concealed carry permit holders can store guns in cars at public schools and retired law enforcement officers can carry on school property or at school events. The bill bars people from legally having a firearm at a school or school-sponsored function or on a school bus.
It also changed language requiring guns to be stored in locked glove boxes to allow for storage in a glove box or locked container securely fixed to the vehicle, such as the trunk. Retired law enforcement officers can carry if they meet Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act of 2004 requirements.

Drip, drip, drip.