The gun control lobby in Washington State is throwing everything it can think of at the walls of the Legislature in Olympia this year to see what sticks, and that’s a signal for Second Amendment activists in other states to keep alert because the Evergreen State is being used as a test tube by anti-gunners, with a move to require permission from homeowners before a licensed citizen could enter their homes.
Senate Bill 6415 and its House companion, HB 2738 include a provision that a misdemeanor violation would cost the offender his/her concealed pistol license for five years. A hearing on the Senate version was held Tuesday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
This legislation comes as the state Department of Licensing has released data showing that for the second month in a row, the number of active CPLs in Washington has declined. As of Thursday morning, there were 588,674 CPLs in circulation. At this time last month, DOL reported 590,749 CPLs and at the end of November 2017, there were 591,366 armed citizens licensed to carry.
A drop of 2,692 CPLs over the past two months probably will not alarm anyone in the firearms community, considering that far more than a half-million Washingtonians have carry licenses. But it is the first time in years that the number of CPLs has dropped two months in a row.
The Bellevue based Second Amendment Foundation and its publications – Gun Week, which has transformed into TheGunMag.com, in print and online – has been tracking this data for five years. During that period, the number of CPLs has skyrocketed, from 392,784 in January 2013 to the Dec. 1 high noted above. That’s a difference of more than 198,500 active CPLs.
Washington may be decidedly blue in Seattle and along the I-5 corridor, but much of the state is purple if not bright red politically. Even in King County, which encompasses Seattle, there are still more than 100,000 of those armed citizens, about 17-18 percent of all those in the state with licenses.
SAF’s Alan Gottlieb told Liberty Park Press that the drop shouldn’t really be surprising since many people might feel that the threat to their gun rights has diminished due to a friendly Congress and White House. But the problem this year isn’t with Congress, it is in Olympia now that Democrats control the Legislature and the governor’s office. This majority shift has opened the floodgates for anti-gun legislation.
Joe Waldron with the Gun Owners’ Action League of Washington, noted via email Thursday that 45 gun bills, both pro-and con-, have been filed this year. Two have passed out of committee, one concerning suicide prevention – an issue in which Gottlieb has been directly involved and has championed – and the other concerning “bump stocks.”
Other measures call for an end to state preemption, safe storage and bans on so-called “assault weapons” and original capacity magazines that hold more than ten rounds.
The Evergreen State has been among the top ten states per capita for concealed carry for decades. Open carry is also legal in Washington.