Weekend editorials in USA Today and the Hartford Courant clearly demonstrate both newspsapers’ dislike of pro-Second Amendment issues, leaving one to question how these eastern journals might react to actions by the Washington Legislature and Gov. Christine Gregoire, who signed a law allowing the use of legally-owned firearm suppressors.
USA Today blasted efforts by gun rights activists on the eve of this weekend’s National Rifle Association convention in Pittsburgh – from where this column will be reporting starting Thursday – to push back against decades of anti-gun-rights regulation, calling them “extremists” for seeking national reciprocity and recognition of concealed carry licenses, same as states honor driver’s licenses.
The newspaper complains that the “gun lobby” is trying to roll back laws in the wake of two Supreme Court rulings that affirm the Second Amendment protects a fundamental individual civil right. This is a position on the Second Amendment that USA Today apparently disdains.
Gun rights activists have taken their national victories not as a reason to pat themselves on the back, but as reason to push forward with an agenda that ranges from radical to idiotic.—USA Today
The newspaper is especially hostile to the possibility that Pennsylvania lawmakers are about to enact legislation that expands the right of self-defense beyond the parameters of one’s home with a “stand your ground” law. Here in Washington, the concept of standing your ground in the face of imminent and unavoidable attack is well established and recognized by State Supreme Court rulings. It works here, so why should it also not work in the Keystone State? USA Today would probably laud Rep. Ross Hunter’s attempt to strip an important self-defense measure from Washington law.
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, is on the verge of becoming the latest to join the craze of states passing laws described as “stand your ground” by supporters and “shoot first” by critics. These give people who use deadly force in public places many of the same protections they might have in defending their homes from an intruder. They remove an individual’s obligation to retreat from a threatening situation if such an option exists. And in many cases they provide a legal defense should he or she kill or injure an innocent bystander by mistake.—USA Today
Meanwhile, the Hartford Courant rails against the cowardice of Connecticut lawmakers who reject a notion that banning extended capacity ammunition magazines would be a panacea to shootings.
Opponents, which included the gun lobby, said the Connecticut bill was an overreaction to the Phoenix tragedy. It’s hardly an overreaction to a clear danger. The Arizona shooter couldn’t have killed or hurt so many people if he did not have so many bullets at the ready. Nobody needs to carry a gun that holds 20, 30 or more bullets.—Hartford Courant
Here in Washington, Gov. Gregoire inked the bill that makes legal the use of lawfully-owned and properly documented suppressors on firearms. This column discussed the governor’s action here and here. Two other pro-gun bills are on her desk awaiting signature.
Would the newspapers call her nuts? Has she buckled to extremist gun nuts, or merely signed a house-keeping measure that was supported by police?
Here’s the way things shape up right now, courtesy veteran lobbyist Joe Waldron, who doubles as the legislative director for the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms:
· HB 1016, by Rep. Brian Blake (D-19), amends the existing prohibition on the use of firearm noise suppression devices contained in RCW 9.41.250 to allow the use of such devices IF they are possessed legally under federal law. Law enforcement supported the bill as there is no law enforcement exemption for the prohibition, despite the fact that several state cop shops own suppressed firearms. The law takes effect 21 July.
· HB 1455, by Representative Jim McCune (R-2) mandates where an individual may apply to have his or her firearm rights restored by the courts. Under HB 1455, courts in the petitioner’s county of residence or county where the disqualifying conviction or commitment occurred are the only locations where such petition may be filed. HB 1455 is sitting on the governor’s desk awaiting action.
· SHB 1923, by Representative Roger Goodman (D-45). Under current Washington law, a person who is prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm (e.g. individuals who have renounced their citizenship, who have received a dishonorable discharge from the military, or a few other categories) could still obtain a WA Concealed Pistol License because WA law is narrower than federal law. SHB 1923 would require CPL applicants to pass a NICS check — meaning they meet the federal standard. Although BATFE will not confirm until the law is passed, it should give us a NICS-waiverable CPL. SHB 1923 is also sitting on the governor’s desk.
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SECOND AMENDMENT FOUNDATION
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America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age
These Dogs Don’t Hunt: The Democrats’ War on Guns
Assault on Weapons: The Campaign to Eliminate Your Guns
Washington State Gun Rights and Responsibilities