‘I’ll Get it Done Next Year’

WA Appeals Court Unanimously Upholds Preemption in SAF Lawsuit, iStock-884168778
Several gun control bills have died in the Washington legislature, but a leading House gun control advocate says she will be back for more in 2025. iStock-884168778

After several gun control bills apparently died in the Washington Legislature recently, one of the leading state House anti-gunners, Seattle Democrat Rep. Liz Berry, told the Seattle Times she will pursue a permit-to-purchase requirement in 2025.

“That is the next big thing that we want to do, and I am going to get it done next year,” Berry told the newspaper.

It amounts to a fair warning for Evergreen State gun rights activists who successfully derailed several measures, including SB 5963 (gun insurance), HB 1902 (purchase permits), SB 2054 (one gun a month), and HB 1178 (repeal state preemption). The last bill on this list has been considered a priority for several years by the far-left Seattle political establishment and would be a prize for anti-gun Mayor Bruce Harrell.

As noted by the Times report, there are a handful of restrictive gun control measures still in play. They include:

  • House Bill 2118, known within the firearms community as the “FFL Killer” bill. It would require licensed firearms dealers to install “beefed-up” security systems, carry liability insurance and run annual background checks on all employees. Critics argue this bill would put many small dealers out of business because of the associated costs.
  • Senate Bill 5444, (discussed here by Ammoland’s Dean Weingarten) would prohibit people from carrying firearms in public libraries, zoos, aquariums, and transit facilities. There is an exemption for people with concealed pistol licenses. An amendment in the Senate removed public parks and state or local government buildings from the prohibited places. Even with the CPL exemption—there are more than 692,000 active CPLs in the state—many gun owners still oppose the measure.
  • House Bill 1903, which would require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within 24 hours of when the loss or theft is discovered. Current law requires reporting within five days.

Berry essentially acknowledged these gun control bills are all Democrat-driven, and she also claims “the public” wants more gun laws. That may apply to many of her Seattle constituents, but across the Evergreen State, that simply is not correct.

Rep. Jim Walsh, ranking member on the House Judiciary panel, told Ammoland via private email that “Nothing’s completely dead as long as the session is on. But, yes, the bills (mentioned above) seem to be dead.”

Last year, Washington lawmakers passed legislation requiring a 10-day waiting period on all gun purchases, a move that gun rights activists believe was designed to put weekend gun shows out of business. It was promoted under the guise of preventing spur-of-the-moment shootings and suicides. The permit-to-purchase would have been the next step, but during public testimony against the permit bill in January, lawmakers were reminded that an identical requirement which was part of Oregon Measure 114 was declared unconstitutional by a Circuit Court judge late last year.

The Seattle Times noted how this year’s gun control measures “are part of a continuing stack of gun restrictions that have been approved by state lawmakers or by voters through initiatives since the 2012 massacre…at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.”

Among the things Washington Democrats have pushed through are so-called “enhanced background checks,” a so-called “red flag” law, and bans on so-called “assault weapons” and “high-capacity” magazines.

What was not mentioned, but what did come out during the public testimony in January, is that since Washington began adopting these increasingly stricter gun laws, the number of homicides statewide since 2014 has doubled (2014-172, 2022-394) and specifically in Seattle, homicides have tripled (2014-23, 2023-73). The message from Second Amendment advocates is clear: What gun control proponents have imposed has accomplished nothing, perhaps even less than nothing, considering the body counts. The Democrat-controlled Legislature is on the wrong track, they contend.

But lawmakers such as Berry have simply doubled down. Her vow to come back with the same proposals in 2025 is not lost on Evergreen State rights activists.

Republicans have uniformly opposed restrictive gun control, instead arguing that enforcement of existing laws and harsher punishment for criminal offenders is more effective. Not surprisingly, three decades ago when Washington voters approved two citizen initiatives—Three Strikes and You’re Out, and Hard Time for Armed Crime—liberals opposed both measures.

The current legislative session is scheduled to wrap up March 7.

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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