Help make suppressors legal to use in WA.

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms & Related Items' started by WABob, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    This is my first post and I am here to let you all know about a bill that will ease restrictions on guns in Washington State.

    Currently RCW 9.41.259(c) makes it a gross misdemeanor to use a suppressor on a firearm. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9.41.250 Even the police licensed dealers and military cannot use them.

    House bill 1016 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1016&year=2011 and Senate bill 5112 http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=5112&year=2011 will make an exception for those suppressors that are registered with the ATF.
    Both bills have had hearings in the Judiciary committees of both branches of the legislature, but only House bill 1016 has progressed to the Rules Committee. The House Judiciary recommended that it be passed, not surprising since it has 30 sponsors. The companion Senate bill only has four sponsors and has not had an executive hearing in the Senate yet.

    Here is a link to the House Judiciary hearing; http://www.tvw.org/media/mediaplayer.cfm?evid=2011010105&TYPE=V&CFID=2061987&CFTOKEN=59245920&bhcp=1 The 1016 portion starts at about the 48 minute point in the video.

    Here is a link to the Senate Judiciary hearing; http://www.tvw.org/media/archives.cfm?CFID=2678791&CFTOKEN=71129253&bhcp=1

    Here is a link to all of the legislator's e-mail addresses. https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx And how to find your Rep; http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx

    Several other suppressor use bills have died in committee in the last few years, this is the farthest any have gone so far. WASPC and Cease Fire WA are taking a neutral position on the bills, WACOPS is supporting the bills and even sent a police officer member to speak at both hearings.

    It seems we really have a chance to get a good gun bill passed in Washington State this year. The House Rules committee, Senator Kline, Senate Judiciary and Rules committee all need lots of e-mails to help persuade them to allow the bills chance to pass. It would not hurt to give the governor a letter too.

    There are lots of posts and updates at www.northwestfirearms.com on this topic. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Thanks.
  2. pickenup

    pickenup Active Member

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    Passed this along to a friend I have in that state.

    Welcome to The Firearms Forum.
  3. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Thanks. I know that many people (including gun owners) are not exactly friendly towards suppressor owners/users, but it takes an effort to educate people on how well they do (and do not) work. I know a couple of guys who have been working on getting a bill passed for a few years now. I have written letters in the past, but did not really get involved until I heard that the latest bill was actually getting a hearing in the House. No other suppressor bill ever went that far, so it really got me psyched. I was asked to help spread the word, so here I am. :)

    I have been able to watch a few people (police) using suppressors in WA; they told me that they were exempt from prosecution for their use, but I later found out this was not true. The local prosecutors just turn a blind eye to their use by the police. I have only heard of one person in WA getting his suppressor taken away for using it, but he was not arrested for it as the police did not actually see him using it. It sucked to be him for sure.

    I have also made two suppressors on a friend's lathe for my 22lr and 9mm pistols. I went with a trust instead of asking the local sheriff for his signature. It the bill passes, then I will make some more.
  4. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

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    That's surprising because if the BATF found out about it he'd be facing ten years as would anyone else for merely having one in their possession, homemade or otherwise.

    I'm glad you posted this though. The laws making suppressors illegal without a federal permit are misguided and absurd. The assumption left over from the era of mob wars, is that they made homicides harder to detect, thus more frequent. These folks didn't realize there might be another reason someone might want a suppressor, like saving their hearing.

    Welcome to TFF.
  5. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    The case I was talking about was a guy who allegedly used his legally owned registered suppressor at a public rifle range. He claims he was not using it, the police say they got a report that it was being used. The police confiscated the suppressor but could not arrest him. They eventually gave back the suppressor after deciding not to press charges.

    My suppressors are also legally owned. I submitted the ATF form 1 and paid the $200 tax on each one before I made any parts. I only paid about $40 for each in material, so that tax is kind of annoying. I guess this is the only good thing about inflation. Back in 1934 a Maxim "silencer" cost about $5 and no one really wanted to pay a $200 tax to keep them. That $200 tax today is like over $3000 back in 1934.

    The Senate Judiciary committee has scheduled executive hearings on the 8th of February for various bills that have been heard in open hearings. The schedule does not say which bills are getting heard though.

    The Senate Judiciary committee agenda is here; http://www.leg.wa.gov/SENATE/COMMITTEES/JUD/Pages/Agendas.aspx

    The Senate Rules committee agenda is here; http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/RULE/Pages/Agendas.aspx

    Senator Kline is the chairman of the Judiciary and a member of the Rules committee. E-mails to him are helpful. https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/mailform.aspx?chamber=s&district=37

    Thanks.
  6. RunningOnMT

    RunningOnMT New Member

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    Isn't the use of a legally owned suppressor at a public range legal? Where would they have you use it?
  7. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Not in Washington State. "They" would not have anyone use them at all in the State. If you take a look at my original post, you can see that the law does not make an exception for anyone. Even the police and military are banned from using suppressors. People like me take our suppressors with to other states when we travel for work or vacation. WA is the only state west of the Mississippi that bans suppressor use by anyone. Even CA allows the cops and military to use them. I have used mine in VA, NH, MT, ID, and NV.

    Back in the 1930's (or so I have heard) WA banned the use of suppressors after some poachers were suspected of using them to help cover up their crime. There is no legislative intent on the record in Olympia on this law so no official reason exists for banning their use

    This does not stop the military from using them on federal land. It has also been hardly any obstacle for the police either. A suppressor manufacturer held a demonstration at the Richland police shooting range last year. Since the double standard in WA protects the police from arrest, they probably let the manufacturer demonstrate the suppressors on firearms at their range. I have no proof they actually did though. The event was only open to police, military and state/federal employees.

    A letter was written to the AG asking if registered suppressor owners could enjoy the same “exemption from prosecution” that the police had. The AG wrote back saying there was no such thing and he could not do it even if he wanted to. This letter was spread around a bit to show the police and legislature that even the police needed this bill to pass.

    A few guys wrote letters to every county sheriff in the state asking for data on suppressor related crime. With all but seven responding with data, they claimed only ten crimes total for the entire state. There was no evidence that any of them were registered suppressors.

    One guy also convinced Cease Fire Washington to take a neutral stance on the bill and convinced WACOPS (a police org) to support the bill. WACOPS even sent a police officer to speak at the House Judiciary committee hearing. I was at the hearing and he spoke out very well about why the police and civilians should be able to use suppressors. Although less than 20 people showed to support both hearings in Olympia, no one showed to oppose them. It looks good for the bill to pass, probably because the legislators have realized that this will not increase the crime rate and they can say “look, we passed a pro-gun bill for you guys”.
  8. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Good news, bill 1016 passed the House. 88 yes votes. :) http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1016&year=2011

    Half way to the governor's desk.
  9. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Senate bill 5112 was heard by the Senate Judiciary Executive Committee today. There was no debate. The decision was a unanimous do pass recommendation. Next is the Rules committee. It should pass the Senate with no problems. :)
  10. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    One of the guys helping us with the silencer bill on the Subguns board says he got a message from Joe Waldron (Washington Arms Collectors) saying that the Senate vote will not be as popular it was in the House. The Senate vote may be as early as next week.

    You can find your Senator at this link; http://apps.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/Default.aspx

    Senator e-mail addresses; https://dlr.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx?Chamber=S If you have not written yet, now is a very good time to do so.

    As far as I can tell, no one is actively opposing this bill. But some Senators might be too "gun-shy" to allow the use restriction to be eased.

    The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS) sent a representative to both Judiciary hearings and enthusiastically supported the bills. The police need this bill passed as the law currently forbids suppressor use by the police and military in WA State.

    One of the guys working on the bill got a letter form them expressing their support. He made it available to anyone who wants to include it with their letters or e-mail to their Senators. http://s171.photobucket.com/albums/u320/ranb40/suppressors/?action=view&current=WACOPSletter.jpg
  11. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Bill 5112 is stuck in committee and going to die unless it is pulled from the Rules committee for a third reading (vote on the Senate floor) by March 7th. Any WA residents interested in silencer use must call their Senator and members of the Rules committee on the phone to urge them to pull bill 5112 from the calendar for a third reading.

    Rules committee members http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committ...bersStaff.aspx

    The last Rules committee hearing consisted of a “package pull” of bills that had no opposition and were expected to pass with little or no debate. Bill 5112 was not included in the package pull since it had no opposition in the Senate Judiciary hearing, was not debated at all at the Judiciary executive hearing and was unanimously sent along with a do pass recommendation. There is not any opposition to the bill 5112, and only 4 Representatives voted against the companion bill 1016 in the House. One of the Senate aides said there was some opposition to the bill, but she would not be specific.

    The price of a dozen two minute long distance phone calls is a small one to pay to enjoy the use of silencers in WA. We have until March 7th to get bill 5112 a vote on the Senate floor. If you can, call as many of the Rules committee members as you can. The most important ones to call are the chairman, vice-chairman and the Democrats.

    One of their aides will answer the phone when you call, not the Senator. When you call tell them your name and city/state and that your are calling to express your support of bill 5112. The aide will probably suggest that you contact your Senator and the bill sponsors, but tell them you have already done so and want to know why bill 5112 has not been pulled from the calendar any sent to the floor for a vote. Ask them if their Senator intends to allow to pull the bill from the calendar and send it to the floor. If they do not say yes, press them for a reason why. Ask them who is opposed to the bill and why. End your conversation with a request that they pass along your concerns to the Senator.

    Chances are you will have to leave a message if you call the chairman (the Lt Gov) or vice chairman. If you are not able to get through to the vice-chairman, keep calling until you do. Some of the aides will be in a rush to finish the call, others will want to talk. The Republicans will probably blame the Democrats for holding things up. If they do, ask them what they will do to help pull the bill from the calendar.

    Bob
  12. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    The cut-off date for action on Senate bill 5112 in the Senate is March 7. For some reason the bill is not being pulled from the calendar for a third reading (vote on the floor). The cut-off date in the Senate for bills from the House is at a later date. House bill 1016 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary committee at 1:30 pm on March 9th.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1016&year=2011

    The hearing is in the O-Brien building south of the capital building in Olympia. We need as many WA residents as possible to show up and support the bill by signing in at the hearing room. If you want to speak, you can indicate so on the sign up sheet. Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks.

    Bob
  13. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    The hearing was short and sweet. Senator Kline said he did not want to hear anything that was not new as he planned on letting the bill go through. The bill was passed out of committee at the executive session right after the open hearing. It is now going to the Rules committee.

    Here is a list of Rules committee members. http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/RULE/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx If anyone is inclined to do so, write or all the Democrats first as they are the ones who have the most influance. Ask them to pull bill 1016 from the calendar and send it to the Senate floor for a vote. Thanks.
  14. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Senator Eide is the current obstacle to bill 1016 getting a vote on the Senate floor. As the Majority Floor Leader, she is the one that decides which bills on the 2nd/3rd reading calendar get a vote on the floor.

    Myself and others have been trying to make an appointment to speak to Senator Eide about bill 1016, but her aide says the Senator only has time for her constituents in District 30 (Federal Way and Lakeland area).

    Bill 1016 is on the 2nd/3rd reading calendar. Click here; http://www.leg.wa.gov/legislature/pages/calendar.aspx then click on “calendars” then on “senate floor activity report” then on “regular calendar” to see the bills that are scheduled to be voted on (possibly) by the Senate. The dates on the right are the bills that were already voted on.

    There may be reasons why Eide might not allow debate on bill 1016. Maybe she plans to allow a third reading, but her aides will not reveal what her plans are. As you can see, all of the bills that got a third reading are passing so far. Some of them have less opposition than bill 1016, but three of them do not. Bill 1016 passed the House 88 to 4. Three other bills on the calendar did not do as well. HB1357 was 65/31, HB1489 was 58/39 and HB1846 was 80/16.

    Someone from District 30 needs to contact her office at (360) 786-7658 and request an appointment to speak to her on the phone or in person. Be familiar with the bill and why it is important that it passes. Stress that it has died (as bill 1604) in the last several sessions, passed with very little opposition in the House, will benefit shooters and home owners near rifle ranges, will not cause crime and will eliminate a victimless crime from the Washington statutes.
  15. WABob

    WABob Former Guest

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    Bill 1016 passed the Senate this morning 47 to 0. Along with the House vote of 88 to 0, this makes the bill veto proof although the Governor is likely to sign it. It will be come law after the session ends without her signature also.

    I would like to thank anyone who helped out getting this bill passed. Various WA residents worked for about three years to make this happen. I was involved for less than a year, but it was a worthwhile experience.

    I was asked to help spread the word on various forums and get people to support the bill. When I said I was going to post on this forum, I was warned that it was unfriendly to people who posted about silencers. A brief search of the forum did not reveal any more than the usual amount of anti-gun hype that I have read on other gun forums. There are always a few bad apples out there trying to ruin it for other gun owners by trying to convince them that certain guns are illegal even though they have no good reason to believe what they are saying.

    The next goal is easing restrictions on SBS and SBR. Right now they are only legal for the police, military, dealers and those who registered them in WA by July 1994. If there is anyone here wanting to help, please let me know. Thanks.

    Bob
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