Washington State’s Latest Infringement on Second Amendment

WA Appeals Court Unanimously Upholds Preemption in SAF Lawsuit, iStock-884168778
Washington’s preemption law dates back to 1983. Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell would like it to be repealed. iStock-884168778

Washington State has been pushing for more infringements of Second Amendment rights for several years.  SB 5444 is a bill that follows New York, California, and New Jersey in expanding “sensitive locations” as a way to infringe on Second Amendment rights. The current law restricts carry in courtrooms, jails, and secure areas of airports. SB 5444 expands the ban on the carry of weapons to libraries, zoos, aquariums, and, especially, “transit stations” or “transit facilities.”

Transit stations or transit facilities are defined to include bus stops, shelters, and all properties that are by a “transit authority” for the purpose of providing transportation services.

An inside source has informed AmmoLand that the bill is going to pass. It is a bad bill that aims directly at the exercise of Second Amendment rights. It is aimed at people who use public transport, which generally means people of modest means. This correspondent expects there will be a challenge in the courts. In 2016, Justice Charles K. Wiggins wrote a terrible decision at the Washington State Supreme Court, saying knives were not protected by the Second Amendment if they were not designed as “weapons.” This law aims at knives as weapons. Heads the People lose Second Amendment rights; Tails State government increases infringements on the Second Amendment.

It is better if such bills can be killed. Barring a direct defeat, some things can be gained if they can be mitigated. Doug Ritter of Knife Rights has worked tirelessly to remove infringements on the exercise of the carry of knives under the Second Amendment. Doug has informed me there is a possibility of taking “knives” out of Washington State bill SB 5444. To those readers who live in Washington State, this is an opportunity to mitigate a very bad bill.

Knife Rights has been working to remove knives from the list of weapons in the bill. They have come very close to achieving the objective of removing knives. The legislators have been educated about the everyday use of knives as tools. Because of Knife Rights’ efforts, it may be possible to remove knives from the list of banned weapons. As written, chef knives, pocket knives, carpenter’s tools, and any box cutter could be found to be banned weapons by someone waiting at a bus stop. The bill has a cut-out for those with a concealed carry permit.

Many people in the Second Amendment community see permits as a clear infringement on the exercise of Second Amendment rights. If you live in Washington State, there is a chance to take a bite out of this particular infringement. Yes, it is only a bite.  Yes, it would be better to kill the entire bill. Politics is the art of the possible.  There is an executive session scheduled for Tuesday morning, February 20, 2024, where it will be possible to add an amendment to remove knives from the bill.  A possibility is not a promise, but those who refuse to fight are bound to lose.  Court challenges are likely to follow, but court challenges are expensive and slow.

If you choose to contact legislators, be polite. Long essays are unlikely to be read. You might start with a short declaration, such as “Please amend knives out of SB 5444. The current bill will put poor people in jail.” It is likely emails will be tallied for and against an amendment to remove knives.

Knife Rights has an email system to use if you wish to contact Washington State legislators.

About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean WeingartenDean Weingarten

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