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I-1639, red flag
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Gun rights advocates: New gun safety agenda proof of slippery slope

(File, Associated Press)

On the heels of their win with the passage of gun safety measure I-1639, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility released its 2019 legislative priorities last week.

“This is the most robust agenda we’ve ever proposed,” said Tallman Trask with the alliance.

“Usually, we have a few little policies here and there that we’re looking to pass. This agenda includes about 14 items,” Trask said.

The 14 items include:

  • Further restrictions on high-capacity magazines (detachable magazines that hold 10 or more rounds).
  • Clarifying state law to make clear minors can be the subject of Extreme Risk Protection Orders. These allow family members and police to ask courts to temporarily suspend gun rights and restrict access, such as a weapon in the home, to firearms when people exhibit dangerous behavior or are in mental health crisis.
  • Expanding criteria that judges can consider when deciding whether to grant an ERPO to include hate crimes. The language of the legislation is still being finalized, but could include things like racist or bigoted threats, including by phone or social media.
  • Other proposals would possibly allow police to remove a person’s firearms when they are arrested during a domestic violence call if another person in the home gives the OK or other certain conditions are met.
  • In a suicide prevention effort, another proposal looks to require temporary removal of firearms rights for people involuntarily committed for 72 hours, specifically those at risk of suicide.

The agenda also includes things like streamlining the background check process, and calling for support of the recommendations from the legislative mass shooting work group which were also released last week.

Among the more controversial aspects of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s agenda – a proposal that targets state preemption. This is a more than 30-year-old state law that prohibits local jurisdictions from enacting gun restrictions that go beyond what the state has on the books.

Unlike previous bills in the Legislature that sought to completely undo state preemption, Trask says this proposal would be narrower – and focus on ensuring cities, such as Seattle, have the ability to enact their own rules to restrict open carry in volatile situations, such as protests or in areas where kids are present such as parks.

“That amounts to an erosion of the state’s preemption statute,” according to Dave Workman at the

“The reason that law was adopted first in 1983, and again strengthened in 1985, was to eliminate this patchwork of different gun laws around the state of Washington,” Workman explained.

“It gave us uniformity from one border to the other, what’s legal in Aberdeen is legal in Spokane and there’s nothing wrong with that. The firearms owners in this state — and there’s about a million and a half to two million of them — they shouldn’t have to be second guessing every time they cross an invisible border into say Seattle or from Snohomish County to King County. That’s not the way you provide a good standard of living for people who have committed no crime,” Workman added.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility believes it has momentum, as well as the support of elected officials who support gun responsibility. The group endorses a variety of candidates from the local and state level to Congress and Trask says overall, in this last election, 84 percent of the candidates they backed or that their PAC contributed to either remained in office or were newly elected. On the state level, he points to big wins in the fifth and 44th Legislative districts, among several others that are likely to help their cause in Olympia this session.

Workman says for gun owners it just proves what they’ve been saying all along.

“What this will show the gun owners of Washington state is that they’ve been right all along about the slippery slope. We know that ever since 2014, when Initiative 594 was passed, we know that the state’s gun owners have been pretty much ridiculed about being paranoid that their rights were being eroded and yet here we are only weeks after another initiative has been passed (and) now we’ve got an agenda for 2019 that looks for further restrictions,” Workman explained.

“I think there is something to be said for the phrase that ‘it’s not paranoia if they really are after you,’” Workman added pointing out that many gun owners already believe the age restriction included in I-1639 for semi-automatic rifles amounts to confiscation for 18-20 year olds.

Trask insists that is not the case, saying they’ve only focused on strengthening existing gun laws and enacting common sense safety regulations. He says the so-called slippery slope to confiscation is imaginary.

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