‘FFL Killer’ Bill Passed by WA Democrats; Requirements Financially Devastating

WA Appeals Court Unanimously Upholds Preemption in SAF Lawsuit, iStock-884168778
Washington Democrats have passed House Bill 2118, dubbed the “FFL Killer” bill. iStock-884168778

Majority Democrats in the Washington Legislature have passed House Bill 2118, dubbed the “FFL Killer Bill,” because it adds onerous and expensive new requirements for licensed firearms dealers in the Evergreen State, which critics suggest are designed to put small gun dealers out of business.

The passage has ignited a bristling discussion on Facebook at the Washington 2024 Legislative Action Group’s page.

Every House Republican, plus Democrat Rep. Mike Chapman, voted against the measure. Every other Democrat voted in favor. The final House vote was 56-39 with two excused. The bill had passed the Senate 28-21. HB 2118 now goes to anti-gun Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee, who is expected to sign it.

The bill is so overreaching even the Seattle Times editorialized against it, stating the measure “unnecessarily tightens the rein on gun dealers while using the public’s safety as a smoke screen.”

Indeed, the brief title of the bill reads: “Protecting the public from gun violence by establishing additional requirements for the business operations of licensed firearms dealers.”

The original bill was sponsored by what Second Amendment activists have come to recognize as “the usual suspects” because their names habitually appear on other restrictive gun control measures. They are Democrats Liz Berry, Lauren Davis, Beth Doglio, Darya Farivar, David Hackney, Shelley Kloba, Nicole Macri, Timm Ormsby, Strom Peterson, Gerry Pollet, Alex Ramel, Julia Reed, Kristine Reeves, Tana Senn, Amy Walen and Sharon Wylie.

The legislation requires dealers to install a choice of expensive security features, such as bars or grates, screens, metal doors, “security-grade” alarm systems, and it must be “monitored by a remote central station that can contact law enforcement in the event of an alarm.”

The business must be monitored by a digital video surveillance system.

Additionally, the bill says, “Other than during business hours, all firearms shall be secured (i) on the dealer’s business premises in a locked fireproof safe or vault, (ii) in a room or building that meets all requirements of subsection (9)(a) of this section, or (iii) in a secured and locked area under the dealer’s control while the dealer is conducting business at a temporary location.”

From the outset, it was clear to opponents of the legislation that it was designed to put small retailers out of business. In an attempt to stifle such complaints, the bill notes, “Subsections (6) and (9) through (15) of this section shall not apply to dealers with a sales volume of $1,000 or less per month on average over the preceding 12 months. A dealer that previously operated under this threshold and subsequently exceeds it must comply with the requirements of subsections (6) and (9) through 8 (15) of this section within one year of exceeding the threshold.”

One critic weighing in on Facebook put it bluntly: “Well there goes every gun store in the state unless they amended the s— out of it before it passed.” There were not that many successful amendments.

Another frustrated activist observed, “Running gun dealer out of business will protect nothing. It’s high time we organized a march on Olympia and toss these people out in their arses.”

If (or more likely, when) Inslee signs the measure, it will not take effect until July 1, 2025. It will most likely draw one or two legal challenges, perhaps from organized firearms retailers.

When the Seattle Times opposed HB 2118, the editorial stated the bill “pushes gun control to a level of punishment for legitimate businesses.”

“This bill would impose costs on small firearms sellers that could force them out of business and open even wider the black market for gun sales,” the newspaper said.

Large commercially successful firearms dealers opposed the legislation, even though they should likely be able to meet the new requirements because they probably already do. But their defense of smaller retailers, including those who operate their licensed businesses in their homes, underscores a sense of unity in the firearms community.

Early in the current legislative session, Seattle talk show Jason Rantz, writing at MyNorthwest.com, declared, “Washington State Democrats are defining the 2024 legislative session as an all-out war on gun rights. They are not only trying to impose licenses on gun ownership and a per-bullet tax. Now, far-left lawmakers are trying to put gun shops out of business with insurmountable, frivolous costs under the lie that it’s about public safety. What they’re asking for is not possible, and that’s the point.”

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.

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