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I am planning on meeting with Representative Finn at the Bremerton Airport Diner on November 2 at 10 am. I plan on talking to him about RCW 9.41.250(c), the new silencer bill and how we plan on asking the AG about legal options to reduce noise at rifle ranges.

Anyone want to join me?

Randy
 
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I want to, but it is a bit far away for me. I am considering moving up to Camas sometime soon to be closer to work. How can I get involved in the fight for suppressor rights around Vancouver or Camas?
 
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Write to and meet with your Representative and Senator. Ask them what they ware willing to do to make it legal to reduce the noise at rifle ranges. RCW 9.41.250(c) makes it illegal to use any device to reduce the noise of a firearm, whether it is attached or not. Rifle ranges in WA can be sued by people who move in close to them. These people complain about the noise, but the rifle range is not allowed to do anything to lower the noise level other than to stop shooting due to the law.

You may have to be very persistent to find out why they will not support a silencer bill. It took me a long time to find out from mine, and it took a face to face meeting. Politicians like to sit on the fence on anything that is not popular.

Not a single Representative was willing to make any attempt at getting bill 1604 a hearing in the House judiciary committee last session. This includes the bill sponsors. If your representatives say they support efforts to reduce noise, then ask them why they let bill 1604 die year after year. They will probably say it is not their job, that it is the bill sponsors job, but that is a poor excuse. If they say they do not support noise reduction, then they should have a good reason why, and evidence to support it.

So far none of the legislators have been able to show me any evidence that silencers are bad for the state. It is prejudice plan and simple.

Ranb
 
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Right on RanB, You sure have been kicking butt working on this stuff, it's too bad we don't have reps working this hard for us.
 
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mxitman, what kind of replies did you get from your Senator and Representatives when you wrote to them?

Ranb
 
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I met with Representative Finn along with an FFL/gun club member today. It went well. The main topic was the letter I asked him to write to the AG asking for clarification on what noise reduction devices would be legal to use in WA. We discussed various methods (shooting box, insulated rooms) and discussed which ones were currently in use (berms and baffles) in WA. Pictures of baffles and shooting boxes were provided. I also gave him copies of letters/e-mail from the local prosecuting attorney, the former AG assistant and the current AG assistant regarding other attempts at obtaining opinions on the law. We also discussed state and federal law as it pertained to noise reduction.

We also discussed the new silencer use bill. I provided a copy of RCW 9.41.250 and bill 1604 and explained what each meant. I showed him copies of an ATF form 1 and explained the procedure for obtaining ATF authorization to make or buy a silencer. We discussed how effective (and ineffective) silencers were at reducing noise, the consequences of violating federal law and how WA was the only one of the 37 states that allows ownership by unlicensed civilians but prohibits use.

Finn was less blunt than Pedersen and Haigh (I like blunt politicians) but seemed receptive to our ideas on silencer use. He has agreed to write a letter to the AG. I think he will not oppose our efforts to pass a silencer use bill, but I am not sure if he will tell the Judiciary chairman that the bill is a priority. He also said he is not confident that he will be re-elected.

Ranb
 
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County Results
Last updated on 11/4/2010 5:14 PM
Legislative District 35, State Representative Pos. 2 (Partisan office, 2-year term)
Grays Harbor*, Kitsap*, Mason, Thurston*
Candidate Vote Vote %
Fred Finn
(Prefers Democratic Party)
22,084 53.40 %
Linda Simpson
(Prefers Republican Party)
19,275 46.60 %
Total Votes 41,359

<broken link removed>

Looks like he may get lucky. I just watched the electorate pull the control rods out of my state and expect supercriticality to become runaway within the year.
 
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I have been trying to get an update from Finn on the status of his letter. No answer so far.

Ranb
 
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I just got off the phone with Representatives Finn's aide. He did write, but the AG refused to give an opinion. It had something to do with the request not being appropriate for an opinion. This sucks. I can't think of any other way to find out what the law actually means other than hearing what the judge and jury say to me if I was to get arrested for breaking it. And that is something I am not willing to do. This is just another reason why WA sucks.

Anyone have any ideas? Thanks.

Ranb
 
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My wife works with Inslee once a year during the Service Academy interviews with congressional representatives. I'll ask her to broach it to see if he's receptive to a discussion about it. She's a former pistol instructor and Navy grad, and she's worked with him and his team successfully for a few years.
 
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I know Inslee used to be a mouthpiece for the Brady Campaign, but anyone who is willing to ask the AG for an opinion is good enough. If the AG gets several requests, he might give in.

If possible, the request needs to worded in terms of how we can make rifle ranges less noisy and more friendly to the surrounding area instead of a gun control issue. Thanks and let me know how it goes.

Ranb
 
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He didn't make it to the event today, but all of his staffers were there. We'll see if the message is relayed or not. Probably not. You know how staffers are.
 
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I know the Asst. AG John Wasberg, and can forward what you want to him to get an opinion. I stated his response to WA law as it reads now in another thread.

So let me know what you're wanting.
 
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Here is the letter I am going to send to Senator Sheldon on Monday. It sums up what I want and the reasons for it. It needs to be a formal opinion and they are only given to members of the legislature, prosecutors and others in the state government.

Senator Sheldon,

I am a member of the Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (KRRC). As you may know the club has been sued by Kitsap County over noise, safety and zoning issues. I was asked by the club to design and build a device to reduce the noise of the high powered rifles that are used at the range on occasion. I built a large triangular box from foam filled steel doors and mounted it on a shooting bench. Inserting the rifle barrel into the small opening at the rear of the box would prevent bullets from leaving the range and reduce some of the muzzle blast as heard at the side and by neighbors near the club property. It would not actually reduce noise as heard by the shooter.

I know that RCW 9.41.250(c) prohibits the use of any contrivance or device for suppressing the noise of any firearm, but I thought it only applied to devices attached to the firearm. Prior to testing it, I wrote to the Kitsap County Prosecutor for advice (the Mason County sheriff and PA did not reply to my letters) and he said that the broad nature of the statute prohibited the use of any device even if it was not attached to the firearm. I removed the shooting enclosure from the range and will not re-install it unless RCW 9.41.250 is amended or I am told by a competent legal authority that it is legal to use.

The Attorney General provides formal and informal opinions that are requested by members of the legislature. He will provide them to clarify the interpretation of statutes whose meaning is in dispute or doubt. RCW 9.41.010 does not define the meaning of the words device, contrivance or suppress. RCW 9.41.250(c) is vague in that it does not specify if the prohibited devices are those that are attached to the firearm or any device. Devices that can reduce firearm noise include silencers, sound insulated shooting enclosures, shooting boxes (like the one I built) down range baffles, earthen berms and fences. Various shooting ranges in Washington State use sound insulated indoor ranges, fences, berms and down range baffles to prevent bullets from leaving the range, but they also reduce the sound levels outside of the shooting facility, possibly in violation of the law.

I talked to Representative Finn about this problem two months ago. He agreed to write to the Attorney General and ask for an opinion. He recently received a reply that his aide described to me as "cryptic". Mr. McKenna refused the request saying it was not appropriate. Mr. Finn's aide said there would be no further action on their part. I was refused a copy of the letter and Ms. McCann would not be specific about what it said.

I believe that the Attorney General made a mistake in this case. The law is vague and uses terms that are not defined by Washington statutes. The law affects nearly every person who uses a shooting facility in the state, including the police and military as the law does not make any exceptions for anyone. Unless the intent of this law is clarified, then many people in the state who use shooting ranges are at risk of arrest.

Various people have told me that the strictest interpretation of RCW 9.41.250(c) even forbid the use of ear plugs and indoor shooting ranges. Lawyers I have talked to do not believe that the state would pursue a case against a person for using these devices, but the people that use firearms in the state need to know where the line is drawn. My attempts at amending the law banning firearm suppression have meet with failure due to various bills dying in the Judiciary Committee the last few sessions. Representative Finn told me that research (by Edie Adams) revealed no court decisions that interpreted this law and he was unable to find any legislative history to shed light on what the legislative intent was regarding the statute. I feel that an Attorney General opinion would greatly clarify this issue.

Are you willing to ask the Attorney General to make a formal opinion on RCW 9.41.250(c)? I would like to meet with you to discuss this matter. I can provide detailed photos and other information on the devices in question. Thank you.

Ranb
 
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Representative Finn said he made another request for an AG opinion. Maybe he will word it in a way that the AG finds acceptable. Finn also requested that I ask the ATF for their definition of a silencer; in other words he wanted to know if the feds would define a suppression device that was not attached to the gun as a silencer. It was one of those duh moments and I figured that the ATF would of course only define mufflers attached to the gun as silencers. The ATF for once used common sense and came through with a no nonsense answer.

ATFsilencerletterpg1a.jpg

Ranb
 
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