I would like to bring your attention to House Bill 2099; a bill to ease restrictions on short barreled rifles (SBR) and short barreled shotguns (SBS). Representative Blake submitted this bill during the end of the 2011 session. House Judiciary Chairman Pedersen declined to give the bill a hearing as he felt it would not get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary. As of the end of the 2012 special session it was re-introduced and retained in present status. Representative Blake intends to re-introduce the bill under a new number in the 2013 session. This is not a Republican bill, most of the sponsors are Democrats.
Short barreled shotguns and short barreled rifles were legal to own in Washington until passage of bill 2319-1994. Possession of unregistered short barreled shotguns/rifles is illegal in the United States, but these firearms when registered are legal in most states. The legislative intent of this bill did not give any reason why these firearms needed additional restrictions, but as of July 1, 1994 only those Washington residents that owned them in accordance with federal law prior to passage of bill 2319 were allowed to possess them. Federal law requires that anyone wishing to own a SBS or SBR obtain BATFE authorization prior to purchase. Bill 2099 would have required that these firearms be registered with the federal government to be possessed. Passage of the bill will not make the unregistered firearms legal and will not increase crime in our state.
Public disclosure requests were submitted to each county in the State to determine what kinds of problems we have with these firearms. It appears that illegally possessed short barreled rifles or short barreled shotguns are rarely associated with any violent crime; most were simply possessed in violation of RCW 9.41.190. There is no evidence that any legally possessed or registered short barreled rifle or short barreled shotgun was ever used in a violent crime in our state. These firearms are every bit as suitable for use by sportsman and recreational shooters as their full sized counterparts. There is no rational reason for them to remain so restricted.
Judge Appelwick was a State Representative and one of the bill authors back in 1994. He was asked why the legislature needed to ban these firearms. He stated in part that; "We undertook a review of existing firearms regulations and attempted two things: a cleanup/update of the statutes and some modest additional regulations to dampen the cries for major restrictions." and "In 1994 there was no objection to restrictions on short-barreled weapons like sawed off shotguns, and apparently there has not been any since. No one saw a purpose for them." It appears that the only reason these firearms were banned was for some sort of feel good measure.
I would like to know if you have any reservations about these types of firearms if the bill makes it through committee. I would like to discuss this bill with you further if possible. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Please do not directly copy the letter. Feel free to copy the crime summary and let me know if you have any questions.Summary of SBS/SBR crime in Washington State.
I submitted a Public Disclosure Request to each county requesting data on violations of RCW 9.41.190 that did not involve machine guns. Thirty counties responded to my request for information. Twenty-four counties of those counties responded with information on SBS/SBR crime. Six counties reported they were not able to search for the specific information requested or not able to identify the firearms used in the crimes reported.
Twelve counties reported a total of 58 crimes involving short barreled rifles or short barreled shotguns. 14 incidents involving SBS/SBR were associated with violent crime. The remaining 44 incidents were simple possession.
I do not have any evidence that any of the above firearms seized were legally owned or registered in accordance with federal law.
I was the House Judiciary Committee chair and worked on the firearm provisions in the Youth Violence Act. In 1994 there was immense interest in reducing violence. Much of the pressure on the legislature involved two issues: guns and youth. As you know, any discussion of limitations on access to firearms can be heated from many perspectives. We undertook a review of existing firearms regulations and attempted two things: a cleanup/update of the statutes and some modest additional regulations to dampen the cries for major restrictions. In the end, neither side was satisfied. The fall election changed the majority party and in 1995 much of the gun legislation was repealed.
In 1994 there was no objection to restrictions on short-barreled weapons like sawed off shotguns, and apparently there has not been any since. No one saw a purpose for them. Law enforcement did not support loosening regulations on them. I don't recall any greater specifics than that after these 18 years.
Judge Marlin J. Appelwick
Court of Appeals, Division I
600 University, 26th Floor
Seattle, WA 98101-4170
Does anyone have any idea if anyone at all spoke out against the SBS/SBR ban back in 1994? I did not move to WA until 1999.Judge Appelwick,
Thank you for your reply. If possible I would like to ask one more question.
I have submitted Public Record Disclosures to every county searching for crime associated with registered short barreled shotguns but there seems to be no evidence that any of these registered firearms were ever used in any crime in the State.
Can you tell me the names of any people or organizations that were demanding additional restrictions on registered short barreled shotguns and rifles? Thank you.
(Judge Appelwick replies)
No. I don't have any recollection or record of such information I could share.
I'm not sure what police department polices are in regards to a police officer supplying their own firearm, but it would seem that if they are using an SBR, it is only one that is supplied by their department.(1) It is unlawful for any person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in possession or under control, any machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle;
(2) This section shall not apply to:
(a) Any peace officer in the discharge of official duty or traveling to or from official duty,
They posted a list at http://senaterepublicans.wa.gov/mcc/Coalition Committees.pdfI have been trying to find out which committees the GOP will control since I read the story yesterday. If they are the Judiciary and Rules committees, then it will help lots.