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Nice House You Have Here…

February 19, 2013

My lovely wife pointed this out to me last night, but I was too wiped to write about it.  Ed Morrissey picked it up this morning.

“They always say, we’ll never go house to house to take your guns away. But then you see this, and you have to wonder.”

That’s no gun-rights absolutist talking, but Lance Palmer, a Seattle trial lawyer and self-described liberal who brought the troubling Senate Bill 5737 to my attention. It’s the long-awaited assault-weapons ban, introduced last week by three Seattle Democrats.

But then, with respect to the thousands of weapons like that already owned by Washington residents, the bill says this:

“In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall … safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.”

In other words, come into homes without a warrant to poke around. Failure to comply could get you up to a year in jail.

What’s the easiest way to turn any law-abiding citizen into a criminal?  Treat them like one from the start.  This is an eight-page bill, so it’s not like the plebs who work for the various legislators didn’t have time to read this.  It’s that nobody thought that this was a bad plan until normal people actually read it.  The defense stated in the article was that this bill likely wasn’t going to pass anyway, so it was put in for “guidance” in future efforts.  Um…

Ed Morrissey:

A mistake is a typo or forgetting to insert or remove a key word in legislation; that happens from time to time, with embarrassing but not usually substantial consequences.  This was obviously a deliberate part of the bill, intended to intimidate gun owners into giving up the exercise of their rights, again with the meaningless rubric of “assault weapons.”

Look, I understand that this is an emotional issue, and that there’s no easy answer.  This is another one of those subjects that you only bring up if you plan to get into an argument, and usually one where you don’t plan to have friends.  At least, that’s the way it is here in the Northwest.  So when I see an “honest mistake” appear in legislation, this is really just someone with an opinion AND a platform who can pick on those who disagree.

I’m guessing that there will be a point where one of these accidental language efforts slips into law and then has to work through the court system.  While that happens, plenty of people will be disenfranchised of a basic right, and that bothers me.  But heck it’s not like it’s really going to put people in danger, right?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. JWoods permalink
    February 21, 2013 9:22 am

    Suggestion, since the police and Sheriffs will not go anywhere near this. Send the said Democrats door to door., to ensure compliance of their bill. They wrote it , let them implement it. It will take about 4 hours for these slow learners to figure out, maybe this isn’t such a good idea.

    • February 21, 2013 1:08 pm

      I’m not positive that the law-enforcement community is wholly opposed to warrantless searches of households.

      That said, I have to go find the link about the guy who tried to take on the motorcycle rally and ended up duct-taped to a tree…

      Updated: I started with Snopes and found that the story was false… oh, well, it’s still a funny one.

  2. February 20, 2013 2:40 pm

    agreed. it’s hard to expect they’ll not use this little nugget of power until it’s stripped from them by a court, given the myriad examples of gov’ts big and small abusing power by criminalizing front yard gardens, terrorizing 3 year olds in wheelchairs, shutting down potlucks and co-op dinners, suspending kids for imaginary/toy gun play, oh can’t the list go on and on?

    • February 20, 2013 6:18 pm

      And yet when I make a gun joke at work they don’t send me home. I must not have the right type of liberal bosses.

  3. February 19, 2013 9:25 am

    I’m guessing that there will be a point where one of these accidental language efforts slips into law and then has to work through the court system.

    Hmmm, kind of like the recent New York law re: magazine capacity, that forgot to exempt law enforcement because they were in such a hurry to pass the law, many didn’t read it.

    • February 19, 2013 5:38 pm

      Lynn and I were talking in the cube farm, and I made the point that most of these “accidental” things show the bias of the writer. I have to believe that, in the case of the NY law, the people writing the bill just couldn’t imagine why anyone would need more than seven shots. Probably because that was one more than they heard cowboys had.

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