7 New Gun Control Laws Signed in Washington State

Gov. Jay Inslee signing gun control bills

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat, gave his signature to over a half-dozen new gun control measures this week. (Photo: Inslee’s office)

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday signed seven new gun control bills sent to his desk by the state’s Democrat-controlled state legislature. The measures include several to remove gun rights from those thought to be in danger, a ban on 3D-printed firearms and removal of the ability for those with a valid concealed pistol license to buy a gun without additional background checks at purchase.

“Our state is a leader on gun safety, but more work is needed to protect our students & the people of WA,” said Inslee, a Democrat, on social media after he approved the bills.

The bills include:

  • HB 1465 removes a provision allowing a licensed gun dealer to deliver a handgun to any of the 600,000 individuals with a valid state-issued concealed pistol license without the completion of an additional background check at the point of sale. While several states allow such an exemption, Washington will not be one of them.
  • HB 1739 makes it a violation of state law to make or possess “undetectable and untraceable firearms,” which is already a federal crime. The bill also outlaws sending a printable 3-D gun file to a person who is ineligible to possess a firearm. Punishment for the new class of state crimes ranges from a misdemeanor to a class C felony.
  • HB 1786 applies the same procedures and standards for the mandatory surrender of firearms under the state’s 2016 Extreme Risk Protection Order or “red flag” law to the surrender process for other types of protection orders.
  • SB 5027 strengthens the state’s ERPO law to include enforcement against those under age 18. The ERPO process can lead to an order prohibiting firearms possession for up to one year and could be renewed annually.
  • SB 5181 suspends the firearm rights of a person detained for 72 hours under the involuntary treatment act. The suspension would last six months and could be challenged in court.
  • SB 5205 requires courts to determine whether a defendant has a history of violent acts when dismissing nonfelony charges because the defendant is incompetent to stand trial. This could result in the removal of firearm rights.
  • SB 5508 concerns concealed pistol licensing in the state, requiring that all background checks for such permits be conducted through the Washington State Patrol’s Criminal Identification Section and must include a fingerprint background check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Supporters of the legislation included Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and an array of local and national gun control organizations. The groups, many of whom supported key candidates in 2017 to flip control of the formerly Republican-led state Senate, welcomed the passage of the bills.

“I am so proud of the progress we made this legislative session,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility. “We put forward our most robust legislative agenda ever and got more priority bills passed this session than in all previous sessions combined thanks to our new gun responsibility majority.”

Groups standing in opposition to the measures included a wide range of Second Amendment advocates. They argued that the proposals would do little to take guns away from criminals and in many cases only affects otherwise law-abiding firearm owners.

“They’re just as happy expanding the list of people that can’t have guns,” said Joe Waldron, a spokesman for the Gun Owners Action League of Washington. “Piece by piece, they’re chopping away.”

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