Gun legislation would lift regulations on certain rifles and protect shooting ranges

By | January 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

New measures that would expand rights for short barreled rifles and sport-shooting ranges were discussed Friday in the Senate Law and Justice Committee.

Under Senate Bill 5956 a person would be allowed to own a short barreled rifle if it is legally registered. The weapon must have a barrel shorter than 16 inches, or be a rifle smaller than 26 inches. The owner must also be in compliance with The National Firearms Act, which requires buyers to be get approval from a local law enforcement officer, pay a $200 tax and register the gun with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Currently, it is a class C felony to own a short barreled rifle with certain exceptions for members of the armed forces and law enforcement. Washington is in the minority with this restriction, as more than 40 states allow residents to own these rifles.

Another bill discussed would exempt sport shooting ranges from certain liabilities, as long as gun-users are in compliance with noise control rules.

Senate Bill 6198 would prohibit property owners from taking a nuisance action, typically related to noise and safety, against shooting ranges.

Prime sponsor Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, explained that the goal is to protect “diminishing” gun ranges from further restrictions.

“You have to have a range where law enforcement can practice and we want them to be well-practiced,” said Roach.

Opponent to the bill, Neil Wachter, deputy prosecuting attorney in Kitsap, said that the bill creates special rights for shooting ranges that neglect property rights. He added that shooting ranges are mostly unregulated and have virtually no noise requirements that would keep the bill in check.

The committee did not take action on either of the bills.

Categories: Gun control, Olympia
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Off the Set: Sen. Adam Kline on the death penalty, gun control and Three Strikes

By | December 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

I spoke with Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, for an “Off the Set” interview about what issues to expect next year in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs.

Sen. Adam Kline on "The Impact"

Kline said his top priority is tougher juvenile gun laws. One proposal would send juveniles to detention for 10 days the first time they’re convicted of gun possession, and a second offense would earn them a 15-week stay.

Kline also wants to make it a gross misdemeanor if an adult allows a child under the age of 14 access to a firearm. The penalty would increase to a felony if any harm came from that gun.

Death penalty

Kline said he believes “this could be the year” that the state abolishes the death penalty, riding the same wave of support that legalized same-sex marriage and marijuana.

“Something is going on here,” Kline said. “It could be the sleeper of the year.”

Capital punishment has been on the books in Washington state since 1981. An effort last session to abolish the death penalty didn’t make it out of committee. Kline said he believes there’s popular support for ending capital punishment, but there’s no organized effort to make it happen.

Three Strikes

Kline said he’s also planning to join forces with King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg to propose reforms to the state’s “Three Strikes” law.

“California put a dent in Three Strikes,” Kline said, referring to an initiative passed by California voters last month that revised law so that the third offense must be “serious or violent,” rather than crimes like shoplifting.

Kline said his proposal would allow a rehearing for people whose convictions are all Class B felonies, which are often crimes committed without weapons. Class A felonies include offenses like rape and murder, while Class B felonies include assault and robbery in the second degree.

Kline said those offenders would still serve between 15-20 years, and the law would only affect a “small sliver” of people serving life sentences in Washington state.

Kline talks more about tougher gun laws for kids on this week’s edition of “The Impact.” Watch that episode here.

Categories: TVW, WA Senate
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