Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Washington State Considering Banning Prohibitted Possessors from Making Guns

Washington State Capitol

In December of 2018, the Attorney General of Washington State, Bob Ferguson, a far left Democrat, proposed strong prohibitions on the manufacture of 3-D printed guns.   From
“This is common sense,” he told KIRO Radio.”Ghost guns are a real threat — because they’re made out of plastic, they can go through security at your Seahawks game or at your airport.”

The proposed legislation would not only ban the production and distribution of ghost guns, but also the dissemination of written instructions on how to print one yourself at home, be it on a website or via email.

It would also increase the criminal penalty for using a ghost gun in a felony.

This would only apply to guns that “cannot be reliably detected by a metal detector,” and would not extend to legal, detectable firearms.
Undetectable firearms are already prohibited by federal law. But ignorance of the law appears to be a sufficient excuse if you are a politician. Moreover, such firearms as might be undetectable use ammunition which is detectable.

Perhaps AG Ferguson happened to read the part of the First Amendment about freedom of the press and freedom of speech. Forbidding dissemination of instructions on how to print a gun with a 3-D printer would likely fall under the protections of the First Amendment. Perhaps wiser heads in the Washington legislature prevailed.

On 4 March, 2019, a much modified bill was passed in the Washington State House, 55-41, with 2 excused.

The measure is considerably restrained and reworded from what Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed earlier.  From
(1) No person may knowingly or recklessly allow, facilitate, aid, or abet the manufacture or assembly of an undetectable firearm or untraceable firearm by a person who: (a) Is ineligible under state or federal law to possess a firearm; or (b) has signed a valid voluntary waiver of firearm rights that has not been revoked under RCW 9.41.350. For purposes of this provision, the failure to conduct a background check as provided in RCW 9.41.11336 shall be prima facie evidence of recklessness.
The bill has been sent to the Washington State Senate, where it has been assigned to a committee.

The bill appears to do very little; it only makes it illegal for prohibited possessors to make their own guns; and only if the guns meet the "undetectable" test.

There is the inclusion of those who have voluntarily waived their rights to own, possess, and purchase firearms. This is an unusual law in Washington State. I have not heard of another state that has implemented this concept.

The idea is that if you do not trust yourself to own a firearm, you make it legally more difficult for you to obtain a firearm or to possess one. Washington State has a system whereby State Police are required to place you on the list of prohibited possessors maintained in the National Instant background Check System (NICS). A person who does this may not request to be removed from the NICS system for seven days. If they request to have their name take off of the NICS system, the State Police have seven days to do so.

We may never know how many people trust themselves so little as to ask to have their choices reduced by taking advantage of a voluntary waiver of firearms rights. Part of the statute is that all records produced, as required by the statue, are not subject to disclosure through the Washington State public records act.

As prohibited possessors are already forbidden by law from possessing firearms, this law falls under the general category of making the illegal even more illegal. Perhaps it might aid a prosecutor some day in making a plea bargain.

Its general effect seems to be to signal to those who wish for a disarmed population, that the AG and legislature are doing something.

Second Amendment supporters prefer legislation that merely has a frightening appearance, to legislation that has frightening effects.

©2019 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't know of a plastic gun design that does not have a metal barrel or that does not use metal cartridges that would be detected by any metal detector. Dumb ass ignorant bureaucrats that know nothing about guns making laws they cant understand.