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Yesterday I went on at some length about HB 1588.  One of my (four?) readers commented that it will be DOA in the Senate; here’s hoping, though I can’t help but resent the idea it could even get out of the House.

And now for something completely different–The Washington State Firearms Freedom Act of 2013, HB 1371.

You know what I like right off the bat?  The text starts from first principles.  Section 2 starts by listing the authorities by which the author proposes to make law on the matter: the tenth, ninth, and second amendments of the U.S. Constitution and Article 1, section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.

At first blush, I’m tickled pink by the first two notions, but I admit to being way out of my depth on the plausibility of such a thing; one semester of Constitutional Law twelve years ago made me an angry citizen, not a lawyer.  The third one is unquestionably within our power to do, and an excellent idea.

Buy Local Washington-Grown Firearms

With a few caveats, this bill would exempt personal firearms, firearms accessories, or ammunition manufactured (commercially or privately) after October 1, 2013 and remaining within the borders of Washington state from all federal laws or regulation derived from the interstate commerce clause.  (That is to say, most of them.)  “Made in Washington” must be stamped clearly on the device.

Public servants would be prohibited from attempting to enforce such federal laws or regulations, under pain of felony.

You can already buy CA-legal firearms that are neutered in various ways.  How awesome would it be to have WA-legal firearms that are a) made here and b) ten extra kinds of awesome because they are exempt from Federal commerce-clause-derived restrictions?

Panicky, Unthinking Federal Laws Need Not Apply

The FFA would render unenforceable any federal law, rule, regulation, or order created or effective on or after January 1, 2013 which attempts to

  • ban or restrict semi-automatic firearms or any firearm magazine, or
  • institute any registration requirement for any firearm, magazine or firearm-related device.

No bans, restrictions, or registration requirements on the most common defensive weapons in America today.  Amen.

In Case of Emergency, You Have the Right to Remain Armed.

After a beautiful but lengthy prologue, the FFA would amend the Governor’s powers to declare a state of emergency such that he or she may no longer prohibit the possession of firearms or any other deadly weapon outside a citizen’s home or place of business.

Further,

During the continuance of any state of emergency, neither the governor nor any governmental entity or political subdivision of the state shall impose any restriction on the possession, transfer, sale, transport, storage, display, or use of firearms or ammunition that is otherwise authorized or guaranteed by law.

Weapons confiscation by the National Guard and law enforcement was one of the most striking and criminal government missteps that happened in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  It was a crime against common sense and natural law to deprive people of effective means of self-defense at a time when the state could not yet provide safety.

As one of the proverbial jack-booted thugs (emphatically not speaking on behalf of the WA Army National Guard) who would be called upon to restore civil order in a similar situation, I would have very deep reservations about the ethics of doing so–not to mention the well-being of my soldiers trying to carry out such an order.  This would strengthen existing law such that it would never be an issue.

I’m very much in favor of this provision, even if nothing else in this bill ever sees parchment.

Will it pass in its current form?  I am too ignorant of State politics to even guess, but in the current climate, it strikes me as an uphill battle.  Still, I’ve been pleasantly surprised before.  I’ll be following this one carefully.

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