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Firearms Freedom Act bill unlikely to pass

Fri., Jan. 25, 2013, midnight

OLYMPIA – A bill to exempt firearms made and sold in Washington state from current or future federal gun laws was introduced by 10 House Republicans Thursday, but the GOP leader admitted the bill likely won’t come to a vote, let alone become law.

The proposed Firearms Freedom Act would exempt “personal firearms,” as well as ammunition and accessories that are made in Washington and stay within the state’s borders, from current or future federal restrictions and registration.

Any federal ban on semi-automatic weapons couldn’t be enforced, under House Bill 1371. Local officials wouldn’t be able to enforce federal laws, and federal officials who tried could face penalties up to five years in jail or a $10,000 fine. During a declared state of emergency, a governor couldn’t restrict the possession, sale or transfer of personal firearms.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Spokane-area legislators Matt Shea, Larry Crouse, Joe Schmick and Shelly Short.

House Republican Leader Richard Debolt of Chehalis said Thursday that while most members of the GOP caucus support firearms freedom, there’s no official position on HB 1371. The bill has little prospect for passage because it “wouldn’t do very well” in the Democrat-controlled House.

There may be some legislation regarding guns that House Republicans will support this session, DeBolt said, but it’s likely to be stiffer penalties for juveniles who use firearms during a crime.

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