Legislative Update from Olympia
20 March 2015
ESHB 1713 SCHEDULED FOR PUBLIC HEARING
HOUSE JUDICIARY TO VOTE ON SSB/SB 5381 AND 5658
ATF DIRECTOR B. TODD JONES RESIGNS
FORMER DIRNSA/CIA ON THE VULNERABILITY TO TERRORIST ATTACK
A public hearing on Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1713 has been scheduled in Senate Human Services and Mental Health at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 24 March. Essentially, the bill adds “chemical dependency” (including alcohol) to the existing mental health commitment program. This increases the opportunity, beyond existing law, for the state to take away an individual’s fundamental right to own a firearm. The bill treats substance “use” essentially the same as “abuse,” with insufficient safeguards for protecting rights.
Public hearings were held on SSB 5381 and SB 5658 this week. Both bills are scheduled for executive session (committee vote) in House Judiciary on Thursday, 26 March. An amendment will be offered for SSB 5381 that should resolve any remaining issues with the bill.
A few readers challenged my assertion last week that ATF’s backdown on 5.56 M855 ammo was only temporary, and that — like The Terminator — “they would be back.” In effect, I was raining on the gun lobby’s victory parade.
This was ATF appearing to back down on Tuesday, 10 March:
And this is ATF Director B. Todd Jones to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, 12 March:
And note that he wants to work with Congress to “fix” the 1986 law. He clearly stated he thought ALL 5.56mm ammunition posed a threat to police officers. If you think Jones’ “fix” is going to make it better for gun owners, promises for transparency and taking into account public input notwithstanding, well… you decide .
While I still question the motives of some in the ATF bureaucracy, you won’t have to worry about ATF Director B. Todd Jones much longer. In a surprise announcement this morning (his departure had been rumored for a week or longer), Jones announced he’s resigning from the ATF directorship effective 31 March. The official line is he is resigning “to pursue other opportunities in the private sector.” Rumor has it he will become a senior counsel — possible general counsel — for the NFL. Stand by for political manipulation within the NFL? I guess the jump from FFLs to NFL isn’t that big a leap.
At this time Deputy Director Thomas Brandon will take the helm. Brandon was the ATF’s choice to be clean-up (cover-up?) man heading the Phoenix Field Division following the Fast & Furious debacle. We — and Congress — are still awaiting the final report on that one.
On a separate topic, retired USAF General Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency and the CIA, in comments made after the Tunisia museum attack earlier this week, warned that this kind of low level attack could happen at any soft target in the U.S. This comes on the heels of FBI Director James Comey warning there are active ISIS or ISIS-sympathizer cells active in all 50 states — and the White House claiming we are at our safest since 9/11/01.
This is the one kind of attack where the armed citizen can make a critical difference — the immediate responder that is already on the scene, not minutes away as are police. Are YOU carrying today? Every day?
|Mental health/guns||Cody (D-34)||S. HumServ|
|Return of firearms held by law enforcement||Billig (D-3)||H. Judiciary|
|Reporting of mental health commitment||Dansel (R-7)||H. Judiciary|
* indicates change in status this week
ESHB = Engrossed Substitute House Bill, SHB/SSB = Substitute Bill (bill amended in committee), HB = House Bill, SB = Senate Bill, H. Aprop = House Appropriations, H. Jud. = House Judiciary, S. L&J = Senate Law & Justice, S. HumSer = Senate Human Services, Mental Health & Housing
|Senate Hearing Room “?”||John A. Cherberg Office Bldg|
LEGISLATIVE HOT LINE: You may reach your Representatives and Senator by calling the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000. Toll free!!! The hearing impaired may obtain TDD access at 1-800-635-9993. Also toll free!!!
1-800-562-6000 TDD 1-800-635-9993
OTHER DATA: Copies of pending legislation (bills), legislative schedules and other information are available on the legislature’s web site at “www.leg.wa.gov“. Bills are available in Acrobat (.pdf) format. You may download a free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader from Adobe’s web site (http://www.adobe.com). You may also obtain hard copy bills, initiatives, etc, in the mail from the Legislative Bill Room FREE OF CHARGE by calling 1-360-786-7573. Copies of bills may also be ordered toll free by calling the Legislative Hotline at (800) 562-6000. You may also hear floor and committee hearing action live at http://www.tvw.org/ (you need “RealAudio” to do this, available free at the TVW web site).
By reading the House and Senate “bill reports” (hbr, sbr) for each bill, you can see how individual committee members voted. By reading the “roll call” for each bill, you can see how the entire House or Senate voted on any bill. The beauty of the web site is that ALL this information is available, on line, to any citizen.
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Upcoming WAC gun show(s):
Puyallup 21-22 March
Monroe 4 April (Saturday only)
“The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”
Article 1, Section 24
Constitution of the State of Washington
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