Four firearms-related bills are expected to continue moving through the House of Representatives this session after receiving committee confirmation before the policy-bill cutoff date last week (Feb. 22).
A host of Senate bills were introduced, but none advanced in that chamber.
Those that made it past the deadline include a controversial background-check requirement for private gun sales; a database for gun-related crime offenders; requiring those served with restraining orders to surrender their guns and a waiver for background checks on concealed-pistol license (CPL) holders and police officers.
• HB 1588 requires background checks for all gun sales.
A proposal that would require private gun-sales to be subject to a background check similar to existing requirements for licensed gun dealers was narrowly passed out of committee in an executive session Feb. 19 in a 7-6 vote.
The bill sponsored by Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43rd District, Seattle), contains exemptions for some antique or rare firearms and buyers who have a state-issued CPL.
The proposal’s public hearing before the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 13 drew about 100 citizens, who packed two hearing rooms in the John L. O’Brien Building at the state capital.
The bill, which is supported by members of several law-enforcement organizations as well as gun-control advocates, was criticized by gun-rights supporters for restricting gun ownership and inconveniencing law-abiding gun buyers and sellers.
The bill’s next step is the House Rules Committee. If approved it would head to the House floor, where there is a Democratic majority. It and other gun-control bills moving through the House are likely to have a difficult journey in the Senate, however, where two Democrats — Sens. Rodney Tom (D-48th District, Medina) and Tim Sheldon (D-35th District, Potlatch) — have joined Senate Republicans to form a de facto Republican majority.
• Got a restraining order? Hand over your guns.
Those served with certain restraining, no-contact or protection orders would be required to surrender their guns to law enforcement while the order is in place under HB 1840, sponsored by Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45th District, Kirkland).
The bill would make it illegal to possess a gun or CPL while under a restraining order and determined by the court to be a threat to a significant other, whether current or former, or a child. The court would order the person served to relinquish any guns he or she owns to police within five days. The firearms would be returned when the order is lifted.
The measure was passed out of committee Feb. 21 in a 10-3 vote.
• Bills that did not gain committee approval by the policy cutoff date include:
• SB 5737 would outlaw assault weapons, magazines with more than 10 rounds, conversion kits and certain accessories such as silencers. Sponsored by Sen. Ed Murray (D-43rd District, Seattle).
• HB 1788 would allow schools to permit certain employees to carry guns at school. Such employees would be required to have a current CPL and undergo firearms training. Sponsored by Rep. Liz Pike (R-18th District, Camas).
• HB 1729 would criminalize gun-ownership by street-gang members. Sponsored by Rep. Judy Warnick (R-13th District, Moses Lake).
Any bill that isn’t fiscally related and didn’t receive the approval of its committee by the cutoff is likely dead for this session. If determined to have fiscal impact, bills that missed the policy deadline may be referred to a different committee and resume the legislative process.