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WA Suppressor law: letter to Rep Pederson to support HB1604

Discussion in 'NFA Weapon Discussion' started by 8ball, Apr 25, 2010.

  1. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    I just drafted this. Turns out I'm moving into the 43rd district so I'm in a good position to follow up.

    Pedersen is responsible for HB1604 on the House Judiciary Committee.

    Suggestions welcomed.

    Rep Pedersen is at http://housedemocrats.wa.gov/members/pedersen/ if anyone else wants to write.

    --

    Rep Pedersen

    I am writing to ask you to consider HB 1604 to change WA restrictions on firearm noise suppressors. RCW 9.41.250 allows *possession* of firearm noise suppressors but does not permit their legal use.

    Here are my own thoughts on the issue based on my research and experience.

    The problem of firearm noise
    ----------------------------

    There are several good public policy reasons to allow Washingtonians to *use* firearm suppressors that they can already legally *own*.

    1. Health and safety. Most firearms produce peak pressure levels in excess of 150 decibels, and Seattle firearm owners shooting at indoor urban ranges such as myself face additional noise firing in close quarters. Wearing earplugs and earmuffs in combination isn't always adequate protection against hearing loss over time.

    OSHA mandates hearing protection for environments above 85db. Even the best suppressor only reduces firearm noise by 20-30 decibels, taming firearm noise to somewhere between a car horn (90 db) and a jet engine (120 db) (source: http://www.elcaudio.com/decibel.htm and
    http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/noise.asp)

    With proper hearing protection, a 20-30db reduction in noise would make a big difference to recreational Washington shooters. Firearms will still be very loud, but a little safer for those exposed to them regularly.

    2. Environmental noise pollution

    Both urban and rural shooters, their pets and neighbors would benefit from reduced noise pollution from recreational use of firearms with suppressors.

    3. State liability for workplace induced hearing loss amongst law enforcement, and consistency of RCW with law enforcement use today

    Law enforcement are required to train regularly with firearms, and are at risk for hearing loss. According to the CDC NIOSH, workers comp settlements for hearing-related conditions cost WA $4.8 million (not including medical costs) back in 1991 (source http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2001-103/). I can only imagine that number is much higher today.

    As a reference, the U.S. Army saved $504.3 million by reducing hearing loss among combat arms personnel between 1974 and 1994 by implementing a hearing protection program. HB 1604 would assist any effort by WA law enforcement to do the same by encouraging legal use of suppressors.

    Curiously, the current RCW *does not* include an exception for law enforcement use of suppressors. Some State law enforcement do possess and use suppressors at WA ranges, apparently unaware that they are committing a misdemeanor by using them.

    Why HB1604 is the solution
    --------------------------

    HB1604 corrects this problem by allowing Washingtonians who already possess federally licensed suppressors to use them. This is the same approach taken in many other states, including Oregon and Idaho. The ATF taxes and strictly regulates the manufacture and sale of suppressors under the National Firearms Act, and they are legal for individuals to possess and use for lawful purposes in thirty-eight states. Anyone who wishes to buy a suppressor must go through an ATF application process which requires a $200 tax payment and a criminal background check. Suppressors can only be sold by federally licensed firearms dealers.

    I can only foresee one misguided argument against this bill. Will criminals will use stolen suppressors to commit crimes silently? This idea is encouraged by the inaccurate Hollywood depiction of "silencers" as the weapon of secret agents etc, an unfortunate fiction. Realistically, reducing firearm noise by 20-30 decibels isn't going to make any difference in the commission of a crime. Firearms are still very loud. The Hollywood depiction of whisper quiet "silencers" is completely fictitious. I was unable to find any examples of criminals using suppressors in the commission of a crime, perhaps because they are simply too expensive, unwieldy and of little actual use to a criminal. As you know, suppressors are already legal to possess in WA, so an added misdemeanor charge is unlikely to stop a determined criminal considering felonious use of a firearm.

    I am traveling this week but will follow up with your office on my return home.

    (personal details deleted)
     
  2. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Looks good.

    Ranb
     
  3. artifactr

    artifactr Seattle, WA Member

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    Looks good, very thorough.
     
  4. sigman

    sigman Olympia, Wa Member

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    Is it ok to change some of this for my own info to send off?
     
  5. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    Thanks - sent.

    @sigman - you bet. Just change it up so it doesn't look like a form letter!
     
  6. Jaybo

    Jaybo Olympia Washington Member

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    Don't forget to add that there are roughly 270,000 people in the state of Washington that have a permit to carry. With budget shortfalls, if you consider only 10% of those individuals would purchase a suppressor if they were legal, would be roughly $5.4 million dollars in ta.... REVENUES!! :thumbup:
     
  7. sigman

    sigman Olympia, Wa Member

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    Thank you I will.
     
  8. sasquatch98226

    sasquatch98226 Bellingham Member

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    Tell me what you guys think of this analogy as it relates to this topic. It's like this, does this make any sense to a reasonable person. No!!!! That is why I think it is a good analogy that might be used to help explain things to non-gun owners.

    I buy a motorcycle. (Gun)
    I get the endorsement to ride a motorcycle (The FBI check to own a firearm)
    I ride my motorcycle for recreation (I shoot recreationally)
    I buy a side-car (Suppressor)
    I can hook up my side-car in Washington but can't use it (I can install a suppressor but not shoot it)
    I can take my side-car to Oregon or Idaho and use it (I can shoot my suppressor in OR, ID)
     
  9. WA-Tom

    WA-Tom Auburn WA New Member

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    Just spoke with a senator yesterday who says he would support this. I explained that I work for a C2 and cannot legally test my silencers without going to oregon. This puts me at a competative dissadvantage with my peers, wasting my time and resources nescesitating a trip everytime I make a design change and want to do some testing.
     
  10. Buddymack

    Buddymack Cougar/Ariel Washington Member

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    Were ever I can help considering this matter I would be glad to help, the thing with me is I don't vote for lefties even if it they just lean out there hand on one issue, because they always change their mind when they are purchased by another entity, so I consider the whole character ..
    We need the right people in office to begin with, then we can change policy.
     
  11. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    I got the same thing from Rep Haigh in district 35. Actually her support meant nothing. She claimed she would vote for a silencer bill (an old one that died in a Senate committee a few years ago) if it ever came to the house. The only time I have heard any legislator say how they would vote on a bill is if they were one of the sponsors or if they knew the bill would never make it to the floor for a vote. That is politics for you. Their job is to stay in office, and pass bills into law. Everything else is secondary, especially for minority gun owners

    WA-Tom, you really need to write back and ask your Rep exactly what his support means to this bill. Is your representative on the Judiciary committee? Is he willing to push Pedersen to allow bill 1604 to even get a hearing? 1604 did not make it out of committee last year or this year, and there were two sessions this year. I have kept on writing to my Reps (Haigh and Finn) and Haigh has refused to support the bill in any way except to claim she would vote for it if it ever made it to the floor. Finn has agreed to meet with me about the bill this spring. I have also been told by Pedersen (House Judiciary Chair) that he would meet with me.

    Pedersen thinks it is no problem for gun owners that silencer use is a crime, they simply have to obey the law. He says the law as it is written now is fair. He does not care at all about silencers because according to him, no one, not even WA gun owners care. But he is the one who writes back to me the most and he seems to be willing to listen. I think this means he will be more receptive to gun owner opinions if we are just willing to write to him, often.

    Ranb
     
  12. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    I think waiting for a change in Olympia is a mistake. We need to act now. I for one am tired of writing all the time. I heard from a person who says he is a lobbyist and wants to wait for change in Olympia before talking to them about a silencer bill.

    I will be retired and leaving WA for good (in 13 years) before the current crop of legislators is gone and what good will all of my efforts be then? I want change now and am devoting a good portion of my free time to getting the law changed. We have to work with what we have right now. We also have to work on the attitudes of our fellow gun owners. Thank you.

    Ranb
     
  13. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    Democrats aren't getting voted out of the 43rd district any time soon. That's downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill - they went 86% Democrat, 13% GOP in the last election. As RanB suggested, let's work with what we've got.

    Last night I met with someone who is a full time lobbyist in Olympia and he suggested a bunch of ideas. One of them was to ask Pink Pistols Seattle to help us lobby Pedersen, since there are plenty of gay folks in Capitol Hill who carry for protection, and put up with firearms noise at the range. Like all politicians, he is going to listen most to his constituents in the 43rd.

    He also said that legislative session in Olympia is over - is that true?
     
  14. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    The Gov convened a special session for the budget, it is now over as far as I know.

    Ranb
     
  15. torpedoman

    torpedoman land of corrupt politicians Member

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    Pointing out all the safety hazards of shooting without a suppressor will just give them reasons to ban guns not legalize suppressors.
     
  16. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    People are already using noise as an excuse to ban shooting (rifle ranges). Using noise hazards as a reason to promote silencers will not harm us at all I think.

    Ranb
     
  17. Bhowe

    Bhowe Seattle Member

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    Another point (thorn) that should probably be made is that LE in WA do not want us to have them. Otherwise none of us would have had to put them in our LLC or Revokeable Living Trust's. I guess its good that LE's don't make laws...just enforce them. I know even East of the mountains they have to do the same thing. I don't understand. Either make them illegal or make them completely legal to buy/own/use. Another fact that should be found is the actual number of murders or crimes committed with the use of a silencer. Both in our state and one like Idaho. Anyone who owns one is obviously not a violent person if they are able to pass the extensive search conducted by the ATF.
     
  18. Bhowe

    Bhowe Seattle Member

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    Also, probably a little off topic, but did anyone see that episode of 'Steven Segal: Lawman' where they used silenced .22's to shoot Nutra (a BIG problem in Luisiana, especially when they tear up the levy's) on busy streets in New Oreleans? As stupid as I think that show is, that was pretty cool. The SWAT team hopped in the back of a truck and they just went around killin giant half rat half beaver things.
     
  19. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    Nothing til January next year :(
     
  20. LuftPost

    LuftPost Seattle, WA Member

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    i posted this in your other thread, but i'm 110% on board with this. i'm available for grunt work in the seattle area if you need it!
    we've needed this for a long time, and i would also like to see SBRs back in this state as well. i'm usually at all the monroe and puyallup WAC shows, and could post up to get signatures when the time is right.