Friday, February 23, 2024

Washington State SB 5444 infringes on Second Amendment, Mitigation Possible

Image Wikimedia Commons Bobak Ha'Eri

Washington State has been pushing more infringements on Second Amendment rights for several years.  SB 5444 is a bill which follows New York, California, and New Jersey in expanding "sensitive locations" as a way to infringe on Second Amendment rights. The current law has restrictions on carry in courtrooms, jails and secure areas of airports. SB 5444 expands the ban on the carry of weapons to libraries, zoos, aquariums, and, especially, "transit stations" or "transit facilities".

Transit stations or transit facilities are defined to include bus stops and shelters, and all properties which are by a "transit authority" for the purpose of providing transportation services.

An inside source has informed this correspondent the bill is going to pass. It is a bad bill which aims directly at the exercise of Second Amendment rights. It is aimed at people who use public transport, which generally means people of modest means. This correspondent expects there will be a challenge in the courts. In 2016, Justice Charles K. Wiggins wrote a terrible decision at the Washington State Supreme Court, saying knives were not protected by the Second Amendment if they were not designed as "weapons". This law aims at knives as weapons. Heads the People lose Second Amendment rights; Tails State government increases infringements on the Second Amendment.

It is better if such bills can be killed. Barring a direct defeat, somethings can be gained if they can be mitigated. Doug Ritter, of Knife Rights has worked tirelessly to remove infringements on the exercise of the carry of knives under the Second Amendment. Doug has informed me there is a possibility of taking "knives" out of Washington State bill SB 5444. To those readers who live in Washington State this is an opportunity to mitigate a very bad bill.

Knife Rights has been working to remove knives from the list of weapons in the bill. They have come very close to achieving the objective of removing knives. The legislators have been educated about the everyday use of knives as tools. Because of Knife Rights' efforts, it may be possible to remove knives from the list of banned weapons. As written, chefs knives, pocket knives, carpenter's tools, any box cutter could be found to be a banned weapon of someone waiting at a bus stop. The bill has a cut-out for those with a concealed carry permit.

Many people in the Second Amendment community see permits as a clear infringement on the exercise of Second Amendment rights. If you live in Washington State, there is a chance to take a bite out of this particular infringement. Yes, it is only a bite.  Yes, it would be better to kill the entire bill. Politics is the art of the possible.  There is an executive session scheduled for Tuesday morning, February 20, 2024, where it will be possible to add an amendment to remove knives from the bill.  A possibility is not a promise, but those who refuse to fight are bound to lose.  Court challenges are likely to follow, but court challenges are expensive and slow.

If you chose to contact legislators, be polite. Long essays are unlikely to be read. You might  start with a short declaration, such as "Please amend knives out of SB 5444. The current bill will put poor people in jail." It is likely emails will be tallied for and against an amendment to remove knives.

Knife rights has a email system set up to use if you wish to contact Washington State legislators.

Update: The bill has passed executive session, litigation will be filed. 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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