Senate vote amounts to death sentence for Washington’s firearm dealers, says Wilson

Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-17OLYMPIA… Legislation passed by majority Democrats in the state Senate will likely mean the end of retail firearm sales in Washington, says Sen. Lynda Wilson.

“This threatens to do away with the livelihoods of thousands of hardworking Washingtonians who are legally selling a legal product, simply because of a misguided bias against that product,” said Wilson, R-Vancouver, referring to House Bill 2118. “It won’t make Washington safer or end what seem to be the daily shootings in our major cities.

“The majority Democrats should be joining us in focusing on deterrents and accountability for those who steal firearms from vehicles and homes, and account for 98% of the stolen firearms in circulation. Instead they are basically imposing a death sentence on dealers, even though dealers so rarely lose firearms to theft.”

Because HB 2118 was changed in the Senate, it must return to the House, which must decide whether to agree with the change.

“The weight of all these new requirements will be too much, and as dealers close the sales of firearms will simply move underground, which makes it harder for the law-abiding citizen to legally purchase a firearm,” explained Wilson, whose bill to crack down on firearm theft has gone ignored. “That means the black market in firearms will be worse than it already is. I don’t see how that helps anyone but the criminals.”

The bill would require firearm dealers to install onerous security features and superfluous alarm and surveillance systems, and adopt redundant storage and excessively burdensome record-keeping practices. It also would set minimum insurance-coverage requirements and require employees to undergo yearly background checks.

Wilson noted the state already maintains electronic records of every firearm transaction, through the Washington State Patrol and Department of Licensing, yet the legislation would also force the approximately 1,300 retailers with federal firearms licenses (FFLs) to store paper copies of those transactions as long as they are in business.

Under the bill passed by the House, FFLs would have to maintain 730 days of surveillance video, even though no other agency or business in Washington is required to maintain more than 60 days of surveillance video. An amendment adopted by the Senate lowers that to 90 days, which makes the bill “less bad” but still nowhere near worth supporting, Wilson said.

“The anti-gun extremists are finally realizing they can’t seize firearms from law-abiding people, or regulate them away,” said Wilson, “so this bill goes after the supply side of the equation. It would basically smother the retailers who are unable to comply with the new mandates, and that means most if not all in our state. I also don’t see how gun shows will be able to survive this.

“Just imagine if someone suggested extending the onerous regulations in House Bill 2118 to the sellers of other legal products that can cause harm, even something like vehicles,” said Wilson. “No other industry in our state is being subjected to the restrictions in this bill. It almost borders on state-sponsored harassment, and that’s before you get to how this violates the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth amendments of the U.S. constitution.”

Pawn shops and in-home gunsmiths will be caught up in the requirements as well, she noted.