Early this morning, the capitol was a bit rowdy, to say the least. With an overflowing hearing room, the Judiciary Committee had its first public hearing on HB 1588. HB 1588 proposes, “requiring universal background checks for firearms transfers; amending RCW 9.41.080; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties.” This would “supposedly” prevent felons from getting their hands on a firearm… False. Criminals are already refrained by law to purchase a gun. This has never stopped them from purchasing or stealing a firearm. This bill will only be penalizing law-abiding citizens.
The original bill can be read here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/House Bills/1588.pdf
The substitute bill can be read here: http://app.leg.wa.gov/m/cmd/Handler.ashx?MethodName=getdocumentcontent&documentId=XK-tEsMVSpA&att=false
The substitute bill was not available for the general public by the time the testimony was to be heard, but the summary of the substitute bill indicated there were substantial changes within the bill. Those testifying had no access prior to their testimony this morning.
I testified against HB 1588, not with Freedom Foundation, but as a citizen. My testimony went like this:
“Thank you Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee. My name is Kelsey Wilson. I am a citizen of Clark County and I would like to voice my concern on HB 1588. I am almost 23 years old and I have purchased a handgun. Prior to that, I applied for a CPL and they did an extensive background check on me then. My dad has purchased multiple guns for me as gifts, and if this bill passes, my dad could be arrested for providing me with self-protection. Why is it the government’s responsibility to determine what happens with the gun that is purchased from another gun-owner? It is not the government’s responsibility to regulate how guns are being purchased. If I borrow your car and run somebody over with it, who’s at fault, me or you? If I sell you a car, I am not required to check your driving record, even though you could have had 15 DUI’s in the last month. The sponsor of HB 1588 claims the bill isn’t about law-abiding citizens, but only felons. Yet it is already illegal for felons to buy a firearm. This bill would do nothing to prevent a felon from getting a firearm elsewhere. The fact is, this will affect everyone, except felons. It is almost unilaterally affecting law-abiding citizens. Being that felons cannot legally purchase a gun now and most obtain them anyway, this proves they will get their hands on a firearm whether there is a stricter gun law or not. Also, I have borrowed my parents’ guns to practice target shooting, clay shooting, or even hunting before… how are you going to regulate how guns are being used and if they are borrowed? And should you even be? Most times a criminal either steals the gun used in the crime or have purchased it on the black market. This bill will guarantee this to be true. I hope that you will all reconsider the meaning of this bill and understand that you are going to be making criminals of law-abiding citizens.”
About half of the testimonies were for HB 1588, the other half being completely against it. One woman even claimed her fear of being in the hearing room because she knew there were guns present. Most law-abiding citizens fear for their rights being taken away. If this bill passes, it will do just that.
Watch the hearing here: Judiciary Committee, February 13 at 8:00 a, http://tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwsearch&recent