I am helping some people on The Northwest Firearms Forum amend the law making silencer use in Washington State a misdemeanor. RCW 9.41.250(c) forbids the use of any device that reduces firearm muzzle blast. It does not exempt anyone such as police, military or licensed dealers like some other states do. 38 states allow unlicensed civilians to own silencers, but WA is the only one of those states that forbids their use.
There are people writing to all of the Representatives and Senators. One guy even wrote to every county sheriff’s office requesting data on silencer crime. So far they only had info on four silencer related crimes in the entire state. This is very good news.
The House judiciary Chairman has been letting the bill die in committee the last few sessions due to lack of support. One thing he wants is the personal opinions of the local law enforcement community. I am helping write to all of the county and city sheriff’s asking them if they support or oppose silencer use in the state.
Here is a list of WA counties http://www.mrsc.org/byndmrsc/counties.aspx
. Here is a list of WA cities http://www.mrsc.org/byndmrsc/cities.aspx
. Most of the websites have a link to the sheriff or local police chief. All it takes is a letter asking them if they support or oppose silencer use. From what I have heard, a letter in a legal sized envelope sent by the post office is more likely to get attention than an e-mail.
The small group of people working on this project at www.northwestfireams.com
are footing the cost of postage and making educational DVD’s by themselves and can really use the help. It is not only the cost in dollars, but the more people who let their feelings be known about legalizing firearms in WA, the more likely the restrictions will be eased.
There is a list of counties reporting silencer crime here. http://www.northwestfirearms.com/for...cer-crime.html
You can use this data in any letter that you write. It would help if they are reminded that their office reported little or no silencer related crime in their jurisdiction.
If a sheriff or local police chief replies, then you can forward the email to me and I will make sure it is sent to the group of people that are talking to the Representatives that are making or breaking the bill in Olympia. If a letter is sent, then you could scan it and send it also.
Here is a sample letter that you could use when writing your own. It would be better to change yours a bit.
I am writing to obtain your opinion on firearm sound suppressor use in Washington State. Suppressors are legal in the USA and thirty-eight states, including Washington. But our state is the only one of those thirty-eight that prohibits their use. Everyone in Washington who owns a suppressor pays a $200 tax and obtains ATF approval to buy it. They also obtain the local sheriff’s signature on the back of the application form as well as passing an FBI background check.
House Bill 1604 would allow those who own registered suppressors to use them. It will not allow anyone to make or buy them without ATF approval. Before the House Judiciary Chairman gives the bill a hearing next session, he is interested in knowing the opinions of the police chiefs and sheriff’s in the state.
Friends of mine have been writing to each of the county and city sheriffs and police chiefs to obtain data on suppressor related crime. So far, with half of the counties replying to their requests, they have been told of only four suppressor related crimes in the entire state. It seems crimes committed with suppressors are very rare. It is very unlikely that a person will use their suppressor in any sort of crime.
Suppressors greatly reduce the noise from a firearm and reduce sound levels near rifle ranges. But they do not make a firearm silent.
Please tell me if you support or oppose the use of registered firearm suppressors in Washington State. If you oppose their use, please tell me why. Thank you.
It wouldn't hurt to write to your Rep and Senator to get their opinin on suppressor use. Ask them if they are willing to push for the bill when it is introduced under a new number next session. They will most likely try to blow you off (like i'm not sure, political climate is bad, sponser's job not mine, etc.), but be persistant and try to get a straight forward answer.
I also posted this in the RKBA forum as the NFA forum does not seem to get much traffic. Let me know if this is not ok.