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Wednesday’s hearing by the Senate Law and Justice Committee didn’t have the same “star power” as Tuesday’s House hearing without former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords and former astronaut Mark Kelly to speak in favor of Initiative 594. But it did feature more questions by legislators of the two initiatives sponsors and sparked a debate over what it means to “transfer” a firearm. . .
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But even before testimony began in the packed hearing room Tuesday, it was clear the Legislature is likely to do neither.
Initiative 594, which would subject most Washington gun sales to the kind of background checks now required when buying from a dealer, and Initiative 591, which would expand background checks in the state only if there's a new federal standard, aren’t likely to pass the Legislature. They're headed, instead, for the fall ballot, Judiciary Committee Chairwoman Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, indicated.
“This is the beginning of a dialogue we'll be having at least until November,” Jinkins said. “Let's keep it civil.”
And for the most part, it was… .
OLYMPIA — Spin Control is providing live coverage of the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Initiatives 591 and 594, two measures on gun control expected to be on the November ballot.
OLYMPIA — The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the two gun control initiatives likely to go on the ballot later this year.
Among the speakers supporting Initiative 594, which would expand background checks for most gun purchases, will be former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Also on the agenda is Initiative 591, which would require a federal standard for expanding background checks before any changes could take effect in Washington.
The hearing is expected to draw an overflow crowd, with additional seating in the House gallery, something that's usually reserved for hearings on the very big, very contentious issues.
We'll be covering it live, via Twitter, with reports being filed here on Spin Control.
Gabrielle Giffords waves to reporters earlier this month at an event to mark the third anniversary of her shooting in Arizona.
OLYMPIA — Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a shooting rampage that killed six, will testify in favor of a proposed initiative to require broader background checks for gun purchases.
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are expected to testify in favor of Initiative 594 at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday afternoon.
The committee is holding a hearing on both I-594, which would extend the current requirements for background checks on purchases from dealers to most public sales, and I-591, which would only allow broader background checks if the federal standard changes. Both proposals gathered more than 340,000 signatures in campaigns last year. I-594 has already been certified as an initiative to the Legislature and I-591 is in the middle of the having signatures verified but is expected to be certified soon.
Under state law, the Legislature could pass either into law. But it is expected to pass on both, sending the two measures to voters on the November ballot.
Giffords was severely wounded and six people were killed when a gunman opened fire on a congressional gathering in her Tucson, Ariz., congressional district three years ago. She and Kelly formed Americans for Responsible Solutions to help reduce gun violent after the Sand Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012.
The House Judiciary Committee's hearing is at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Senate Law and Justice Committee also will hold a hearing on the two measures starting at 1:30 Wednesday. Both are expected to attract a wide range of supporters and opponents of the conflicting initiatives.
After the story on the legal questions raised by the two Gonzaga University seniors disciplined for violating school policy by keeping weapons in school-owned housing was put to bed Tuesday, Sirens and Gavels received a phone call from Lewis Wasserman, a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Wasserman practiced law in New York for 20 years before joining the faculty in Arlington and has written extensively on the subject of student's rights on college campuses. In January 2012, he published a lengthy look at the gun rights of students in the wake of the Supreme Court's decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), two decisions that clarified if and when the government could regulate the Second Amendment rights of citizens.
Wasserman agreed with several experts who said Gonzaga, as a private entity, is on fairly firm legal ground by banning firearms from properties they own. However, he said that a brief glance at Washington's relatively extensive gun control laws could create an implied right for citizens to carry concealed weapons in certain private places, including college campuses.
State law prohibits anyone from carrying firearms on the grounds of state elementary or secondary schools, though there is no mention of higher learning institutions. However, as reported in the article appearing in Wednesday's Spokesman-Review, the two major public universities - University of Washington and Washington State University - have policies in place that also ban deadly weapons on their property, as does Gonzaga.
“The odds are the kids would lose the case, I think,” Wasserman said Tuesday night.
Wasserman said the most effective strategy for students wishing to carry weapons on campus would be to lobby the state Legislature, whose laws could supersede the policies of universities. The National Conference of State Legislatures reports several legislative bodies have either already passed such measures or are considering laws that would enable concealed carry on campuses (including Utah, Kansas and Wisconsin).
Wasserman called the Gonzaga case a “very, very interesting issue,” but said the dispute would be more interesting legally if a similar event took place at a state school.
“It's a much closer question,” Wasserman said of the hypothetical situation on public grounds. “(The school) may still win, but you could put up the good fight.”
OLYMPIA – Whether you are for or against stricter background checks on gun sales, you'll have a chance in the coming months to support your position by signing an initiative to next year's Legislature.
If both Initiative 591 and Initiative 594 get the required signatures, they'll likely both be on the 2014 ballot if the Legislature follows its recent pattern of punting such proposals to voters rather than adopting them. (The full text of the initiatives can be found by clicking on the documents below.)
I-591, a one-page proposal that bans government confiscation of guns and any background check that isn't part of a national system, started its signature-gathering campaign about two weeks ago at one of the state’s biggest gun shows, the Washington Arms Collectors’ Show in Puyallup.
“We knew what the other side was going to do. We filed before they did,” said Alan Gottlieb, campaign manager for Protect Our Gun Rights.
I-594, an 18-page proposal that lays out a process to apply the current federal system of background checks required by dealers to private sales in Washington, with some exceptions for family transfer and antique sales, got its final ballot language approved last week and will start signups this week.
“It looks like we’ll be out there together,” Zach Silk, campaign manager for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which is sponsoring I-594…
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Sen. Mike Crapo held a press conference at a Boise gun shop today, where he blasted Congress' and President Barack Obama's bid to tighten gun laws while promoting reauthorization of a 2004 law that, among other things, directs federal taxpayer money for mental health courts. The AP reports that Crapo is using the latest congressional recess to emphasize his reputation as a serious policy maker, not a man on his heels after his December drunken driving arrest and this month's disclosure that his campaign lost $250,000 on a loan-gone-sour.
Despite the turbulence, Crapo said he hasn't thought of retiring or considered consequences for his 2016 re-election. “No, the answer is definitely not,” Crapo told the AP. “I think serving in the U.S. Senate is an incredible honor. I've been very engaged in the 'Gang of Six' and the other efforts to deal with our national debt crisis. I'm still fully engaged in that and all of the other aspects of my responsibilities in Washington, D.C.” Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
When Idaho Gov. Butch Otter decided to go after gun and ammo manufacturers elsewhere in a bid to convince them to move their businesses to Idaho, he didn’t do it in a small way. The governor penned a two-page letter that went out to 79 gun and ammunition manufacturers in 28 states. “Here in Idaho, gun ownership is more than a constitutional right; it’s a way of life,” Otter said in the letter. “That’s why I’m personally extending an invitation for you to grow your bottom line here in Idaho and joint the business momentum we are experiencing in Idaho.”
He added, “In Idaho, we know what ‘business friendly’ means. We cherish and defend freedom, and we protect the Second Amendment. Those principles are in the very fiber of who we are, and we welcome the opportunity to show you our great state and be a partner in your future success.” You can read the April 25 letter here.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter today proclaimed May to be “2nd Amendment Protection Month” and is inviting arms and ammunition manufacturers to consider relocating to the Gem State. “The National Rifle Association ranks Idaho as a gun-friendly state whose laws are among the least restrictive in the nation,” Otter said in his official proclamation. “The state of Idaho openly embraces companies in the arms and ammunition manufacturing sector to expand or relocate to the state.”
The governor also sent letters to industry leaders to press his invitation, writing, “In Idaho, we know what ‘business friendly’ means.”
His proclamation and efforts were touted in a press release from the state’s Department of Commerce, which quoted Fred Newcome, vice president of sales for PNW Arms, which recently relocated to Potlatch, Idaho, saying, “Idaho offered us an opportunity to relocate somewhere where we could be in a more comfortable environment.”
The department said in its release, “Idaho already is home to a robust, thriving arms and ammunition industry with over 180 companies that manufacture custom arms, aftermarket parts and specialized ammunition. The state embraces this industry sector and has a number of statutes in place restricting lawsuits against firearms or ammunition manufactures and limiting product liability.” Click here for a link to the governor's full proclamation; click below for the full Commerce announcement. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
As the nation is locked in debate over expanding background checks and other measures aimed at stemming gun violence, Idaho lawmakers this year debated nine gun bills and passed four – every one of them aimed at increasing protections for Idahoans’ gun rights. The bills that passed were mostly minor tweaks to Idaho’s existing gun laws; the most significant creates a new enhanced concealed weapons permit, allowing Idahoans to choose to go through more training and get a special concealed gun permit that will be recognized in more states than Idaho’s existing permit.
“There’s little doubt that Idahoans are very supportive of the 2ndAmendment,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke. “I think we made significant progress on that front.”
Some lawmakers expressed disappointment that the state didn’t go further; the House passed a bill, HB 219, to make it a misdemeanor for Idaho police officers to enforce any new federal gun laws, but the bill died without a hearing in the Senate amid constitutional questions. Idaho’s existing gun laws already are among the least restrictive in the nation. The NRA calls Idaho a “gun-friendly” state, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates it as tied for next to last among states in its gun-control laws, scoring only 2 out of 100 possible points.
“Since I’ve been in the Legislature, every year we work on gun laws, tightening up our gun laws and making sure we’re protecting people’s rights to own,” said Sen. Marv Hagedorn, R-Meridian, a retired Navy officer who’s sponsored lots of gun-rights legislation and is in his seventh year in the Legislature. “It’s getting hard for us - there’s no easy fixes any more.” That hasn’t stopped Idaho lawmakers from trying. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
The man who shot a car thief Monday is 56-year-old Gail Gerlach, according to a search warrant returned Wednesday. Gerlach, of 1419 N. Lee St., owns a plumbing business and has no criminal record. Spokane County Prosecutors have not charged Gerlach in the shooting death of 25-year-old car thief Brendon Kaluza-Graham. Police say Kaluza-Graham drove away in a 1997 Chevy Suburban left idling in Gerlach’s driveway. … Gerlach has been vocal on his social media accounts about his support of the Second Amendment. In his biography on his personal Twitter account, Gerlach describes himself as a “right-wing conservative”/Jennifer Pignolet, SR. More here.
SHOOTING — It's interesting if not disturbing that the discussion over guns has prompted some people among their group of circled wagons to excuse poor gun handling.
In my experience at the Spokane Gun Club or Spokane Rifle Club, somebody would quickly step forward to correct a person for poor muzzle control. What's wrong with doing same in the media?
This woman does not know where that gun is pointing because it's behind her and out of her control. Bolt is closed. End of point.
This obervation caused some commentors to cast aspersions from their narrowly defined and propagandized vision of the media, whatever “the media” are.
But back to the point:
Being a gun rights advocate doesn't mean you should slack off on offering reminders and enforcing points of safe gun handling with others around you, whether it's at home, in a hunting situation or at a 2nd Amendment rally.
SHOOTING — The Spokesman-Review photo above from Friday's gun rights rally in Olympia shows an appalling lack of muzzle control, with a firearm being carried in an unsafe manner.
That lady would be booted out of my elk camp, or forced to eat my cooking as punishment.
It's a reminder that under our current system, the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is not backed up by a requirement for responsibility or safety.
I see signs here of a poorly regulated militia.
Fred Sittmann of Stanwood, Wash., listens to speakers at Friday's gun rights rally.
OLYMPIA – Second Amendment activists came well-armed to a Capitol Campus rally Friday where legislators promised to protect their freedom to have firearms and speakers denounced President Obama and gun control.
With the Legislature considering proposals to ban some firearms and high capacity clips or require background checks for all gun sales, some speakers urged the crowd to prepare for a fight over their gun rights.
But Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, predicted that even if those restrictions pass the Democratic-controlled House “they will die in the
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — A state judge has ruled in favor of the University of Idaho in a lawsuit challenging the school's restrictions on keeping firearms in on-campus housing. The ruling was handed down Thursday by 2nd District Judge John Stegner in a case brought by second-year law student Aaron Tribble. Tribble filed his lawsuit in January, claiming that the university's ban on firearms at his on-campus apartment infringed on his constitutional rights. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/szuuZ4 ) that Stegner concluded that Tribble essentially waived his right to keep guns at his apartment when he signed a license agreement live there. Stegner also wrote the state Board of Regents has a right to regulate and maintain a safe environment on campus. University officials intend to issue a response later Thursday. You can read the court decision here, and click below for a full report from the AP and the Daily News.
HUNTING ETHICS — Right-wing rocker/hunter Ted Nugent has come and gone from the Inland Northwest.
Here's a column wrapup with a few of my final thoughts on the celebrity and his impact on the sport of hunting as I know it.
BOWHUNTING — From my recent interview with Ted Nugent, here's an audio clip of his rant on the archery industry and its tendency to promote high-poundage bows.
HUNTING/SHOOTING — After an hour-long interview on hunting, shooting and the American way with Ted Nugent, followed by a two-hour concert that loosened the mortar between the bricks of the Knitting Factory, I must say….. I need an F-ing break.
Story to come.
HUNTING/SHOOTING — Rock guitarist, gun rights advocate, shameless hunter and “Kill It and Grill It,” cookbook author Ted Nugent is coming to Spokane for a concert Thursday at The Knitting Factory.
What would YOU ask The Nuge about guns or hunting if you had a chance while he's here?
OUTDOOR POLITICS — Two Associated Press news stories this week out of the Montana Legislature give sportsmen reason to pause and wonder if these are the healthiest approaches to the issues.
- Republicans enthused by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer’s recent tough talk on wolves are getting closer to using an ancient “nullification” doctrine to disregard the federal law protecting endangered and threatened species — a plan that even the governor quickly dismissed as “off base.”
- The Montana House voted 55-45 to approve a gun rights bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in urban areas without a permit. House Bill 271 would allow anyone eligible for a concealed weapon permit to carry without actually applying for a permit. Law enforcement officials are very concerned. Concealed carry is already allowed in rural areas without a permit.
The right to bear arms has become the fodder for a lawsuit on the University of Idaho campus, where a law student is suing the university for the right to store firearms in his on-campus apartment. Right now the university requires students living on campus to store their weapons in an on-campus lock-up at a police substation that can only be accessed by local police.Second-year law student Aaron Tribble keeps a pistol and shotgun in the lock-up, but he isn’t a fan of the regulations. Keeping his wife and two kids safe is why Tribble is taking on the university for the right to store his guns at home/Tania Dall, KXLY. More here.
Question: Should there be some restrictions of guns (i.e., a limit on the amount of rounds that a gun can fire)?
The University of Idaho is being sued by one of its law students who claims he should have the right to keep firearms in his on-campus apartment. Aaron Tribble, a second-year law student at the UI, is representing himself in the suit, which he filed last Tuesday in Latah County Second District Court. Tribble, 36, and his family live in one of the university’s South Hill Vista apartments for married students and students with children. He claims the UI’s policy banning firearms from campus — and by extension, his current place of residence — is a violation of his Second Amendment right to bear arms and his 14th Amendment right to due process/Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (AP file photo, for illustrative purposes)
Question: Would you want your child going to the University of Idaho, if students are allowed to keep arms in their campus rooms?
Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge in Missoula is dismissing a lawsuit launched by gun rights advocates and states seeking freedom from federal gun laws. The decision from U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy was expected since his magistrate a month ago recommended tossing out the lawsuit. The decision sides with the U.S. Department of Justice, which says Congress can set standards on such items as guns through its power to regulate interstate commerce. Gun control advocates who also joined in the case welcomed the decision. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says the court rejected a “dangerous, misguided and unconstitutional law.” Montana, Utah, Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming and West Virginia were seeking freedom from federal gun laws. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Matt Gouras in Helena.
The Supreme Court held today that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere they live, expanding the conservative court’s embrace of gun rights since John Roberts became Chief Justice. By a 5-4 vote, the justices cast doubt on handgun bans in the Chicago area, but signaled that some limitations on the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” could survive legal challenges. Justice Samuel Alito said for the court that the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.” The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and four liberals opposed. Roberts voted with the majority/Associated Press. More here. (AP file photo for illustration purposes)
Question: What limitations, if any, do you think should be imposed on gun owners?
Above photo first appeared on SteveQuayle.com, attributed to “Pam”
A platoon of reservists from the 455th Engineering Co. took a
walk down a street in
Out there, they inadvertently fan the flame for folks worried that any minute now, the gummint’s coming to get your guns, yank down your Stars and Stripes, and make you put a hand on the Koran to swear allegiance to the New World Order.
That wasn’t where the soldiers of the 455th were headed when they