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Writing to your legislator about SBS and SBR bills

Discussion in 'NFA Weapon Discussion' started by Ranb, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Short barreled rifles (SBR) and short barreled shotguns (SBS) are two types of firearms that are strictly controlled by the federal government. A short barreled rifle has a barrel less than 16” long or is less than 26” overall. A short barreled shotgun has a barrel less than 18” or less than 26” overall. The ATF requires that a $200 tax be paid and ATF approval obtained prior to making or buying them unless you have a license to do so. Obtaining the tax stamp is a routine matter and never denied as long as the forms are filled out correctly.

    Washington State does not ban SBS/SBR, but there are additional restrictions. Only the police, military, licensed dealers and those of us who registered them prior to July 1, 1994 are allowed to possess them. Bill 2099 eliminates the date requirement and allows anyone who registers their SBS or SBR to possess in Washington. Bill 2099 merely brings state law in line with federal law as it is impossible for anyone to legally own an SBS or SBR unless it is registered.

    Most WA legislators are not anti-gun, but most of them will not care enough about any gun bill unless their constituents tell them to care. The Chairmen of the Judiciary committees of the House and Senate will not give bill 2099 a hearing unless they think it will pass and enough Senators or Representatives tell him it is a priority. If there is not a large amount of support for the bill, then it will die in committee like the silencer bill did for several years.

    When writing to a legislator that knows little about firearms, you may need to explain that SBS and SBR are just as useful as any other rifle or shotgun. There is no good reason for the state to ban their possession by the majority of people who are allowed to own firearms. Back in 1994 a Washington State version of the Assault Weapons Ban (AWB) was being pushed. It was a long 97 page bill that allocated money for education and law enforcement. Like the federal AWB, it intended to ban various semi-automatic firearms. But it also placed additional restrictions on SBS and SBR. While the bill (2319) claimed that firearm violence was a serious problem, it did not single out SBS/SBR as the problem. Their only mention in the bill was to say that they were legal at the federal level.

    There were many people that opposed the AWB portion of bill 2319 by showing up to the committee hearings. While the AWB portion of bill 2319 was removed, the SBR//SBR ban stayed in. I wrote to the nine Senators that voted for the ban to ask why they felt SBS/SBR should be banned for future ownership, but only got a reply from my Senator (Sheldon); he said he could not recall any reason for banning them and that he would support bill 2099.

    Ranb
     
  2. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Each year Olympia sees nearly 5000 bills submitted and vying for attention. Last year a bit over 900 bills were passed by the legislature. This means only about 20% of the bills get hearings and sent to the floor for a vote where most of them are passed. The bills that make it to the floor for a vote are the ones that voters contacted their legislators about. When I was calling various Rules Committee members to urge them to get the silencer bill on the floor for a vote, I was told by one aide that the silencer bill was getting more phone calls than any other bill except for one. Writing and calling does help.

    It is not enough to merely write an e-mail or letter to your legislature. You must convince them to tell the committee chairmen (Judiciary and later on Rules) that the bill is important. It is easy for a legislator to claim that they will vote for the bill if it comes up for a vote on the floor. But it is entirely another matter to convince them that they should make an effort to push for the bill.

    When you write it is a good idea to explain why they should support bill 2319. Unless they tell you that the bill is a priority and that they will tell the committee chairman to give it a hearing, they may need additional urging to do so from you. Tell them that you would like to meet with them in person or discuss it on the phone.

    Here is the text of bill 2099 to allow possession of short barreled rifles and short barreled shotguns. HB 2099 - 2011-12

    Bill 2098 only applies to short barreled rifles. I think it is a backup to 2099 in case there are objections to sawn off shotguns but not short barreled rifles. HB 2098 - 2011-12

    The bill 2099 sponsors are Blake, Kretz, Hurst, Liias, Orcutt, Dunshee, Taylor, Van De Wege, Shea, Kirby, Short, Takko, Moscoso, Tharinger, Finn, Seaquist, Schmick, Sells, Ahern, Condotta, McCoy, Hope, Moeller, Goodman and McCune.

    Sponsors of the silencer bill (1016) included Blake, Condotta, Armstrong, Shea, Kretz, Klippert, McCune, Takko, Van De Wege, Dunshee, Probst, Liias, Miloscia, Finn, Hurst, Springer, Goodman, Rodne, Orcutt, Haigh, Dickerson, Taylor, Warnick, Hope, Dammeier, Kristiansen, Chandler, Ross, Sells and Upthegrove.

    The silencer bill got yes votes from everyone except Darneille, Hudgins, Hunter, Anderson, Appleton, Eddy, Rodne, Smith, Sheldon and Zarelli.

    Depending on who your Senators and Representatives are and how they supported recent gun control bill should determine the tone of your letter.

    If your Representative is one of the bill 2099 sponsors, it is a good idea thank them for their sponsorship and ask them to ensure the bill gets a hearing in the Judiciary committee.

    If your Representative is not a bill 2099 sponsor but voted for the silencer bill, thank them for their support and ask them to support the SBS/SBR bill.

    Ranb
     
  3. Ranb

    Ranb Belfair, WA Active Member

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    Here is a sample letter. Please do not copy it, just use it for ideas.

    Ranb