Evergreen State Second Amendment activists are feverishly advocating for an amendment to the proposed state’s emergency powers statute that would prohibit the governor from banning possession of firearms outside the home during a declared state of emergency.
In an alert to Washington State gun owners, the Firearms Policy Coalition is urging them to support proposed Floor Amendment 545, which would “bring state law into compliance with current case law on the matter.”
“Laws and declarations similar to Washington State law concerning citizen possession of firearms during a declared state of emergency have been found to be unconstitutional,” the FPC notes.
Indeed, the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation was involved in a case that struck down North Carolina’s similar act.
The FRC calls Washington’s law “a relic of the 1960s.” Over the past five years, the number of concealed pistol license holders in the state has increased by more than 195,000, and the gun rights group notes that these people are “extensively background checked and legally certified to carry firearms by the state.”
During an emergency, activists argue, it is important that law abiding citizens be armed because there is no guarantee that if they call for help, any help will arrive, provided they can call at all. Communications is often the first casualty in an emergency situation, leaving the people to essentially fend for themselves.
The state constitution’s Article 1, Section 24 provides for the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself and the state. Also, since the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in case of McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms has been incorporated to the states via the 14th Amendment.
“During a declared emergency when 911 response resources would surely be stretched thin, citizens would likely be on their own to defend themselves and others,” the FPC alert says. “As recent geological research has outlined, Western Washington is one of the world’s most dangerous earthquake zones. A large earthquake could separate citizens for days or even weeks from vital emergency services.”
The group is urging citizens to sign a message at the bottom of their website, or to call the Legislative Hotline at 800-562-6000 to leave a comment for their individual lawmakers.