Rep. Maureen Walsh supports additional gun control in Washington state.
Rep. Maureen Walsh (16th Dist.) recently co-sponsored HB1588, an anti-gun measure disguised as a background check bill.
I sent her a message on Feb. 12 objecting to HB1588. (See that message below.)
On February 20 I received a canned email reply that she sent to people who objected to her anti-gun activity. (Also below).
Rep. Walsh recently posted a statement on her website about her support of HB1588 in which she says she has now changed her mind. Regardless of her decision to run away from HB1588… I cannot ignore the fact that she co-sponsored this legislation in the first place. Her email below clearly shows that she understands the political risks of sponsoring anti-gun legislation…yet she did so anyway.
…which reveals the underlying truth that Rep. Walsh is willing to support - and even sponsor - additional gun control legislation in Washington state.
Frankly, I don't know which concerns me more…the idea that she supports more gun control…or that she would co-sponsor anti-gun legislation that she now admits she did not fully understand.
Please read the correspondence below so you can evaluate both sides of this issue for yourself.
Brad Peck Chair, FCRCC
On Feb. 12, I sent the following message to Rep. Maureen Walsh regarding her co-sponsorship of HB1588.
Dear Representative Walsh: I was disappointed to see your name among the sponsors of House Bill 1588, a measure perhaps well-intended but clearly not well considered. As a co-sponsor you know 1588 would require universal background checks for all firearms transfers, apparently even including transfers among spouses and domestic partners.
The Bill refers to applications to purchase a firearm. This language makes background checks synonymous with asking the government for permission (application) to buy a firearm. The difference is more than semantics; requiring state permission to possess a firearm infringes on state and federal rights to keep and bear arms.
Your support of this bill violates section 11 of the Washington State Republican Party Platform. It also conflicts with the Franklin County Republican Central Committee platform.
More significantly, it will not deter criminals from obtaining and using firearms. It will however, increase the value of firearms sold in illegal transactions on our streets further promoting and encouraging illegal street transactions, and enriching those who chose to break the law in that manner. The parallels with prohibition and the modern drug trade are obvious.
Suggestions that all transactions at gun shows are exempt from background checks are incorrect. Many, and perhaps most of the transactions at gun shows are done by dealers – with background checks completed - before transferring a firearm. If you feel some compulsion to do something about the illegal use of firearms, why not sponsor a bill requiring harsh mandatory sentences for people convicted of committing serious crimes involving firearms?
Lastly, I see nothing in the proposed bill that requires a background check to be completed within a specified period of time. A law enforcement official seemingly has discretion to delay checks at will. Should the woman seeking a firearm for personal protection be so delayed? If we can save even one such person from being assaulted or murdered, shouldn't we do so by protecting, rather than limiting her access to a personal defense firearm?
Brad Peck Chair, Franklin County Republican Central Committee
Rep Walsh sent this canned reply to me and others who had written her about HB1588.
> I did sign on to HB1588 with the belief that it simply addressed an inequity (loophole) in the law concerning background checks at some gun shows. Although the bill has been amended to address some of the concerns of gun owners across the state, I have really come to realize that no legislation will ever address the criminal element as far as guns are concerned. Thus the bill only targets (no pun intended) lawful gun owners and the application of the law would not be logical. I will not be supporting the bill and thank all the folks who wrote to me with their concerns. Their comments were very helpful to me in discerning this issue.
This item is currently posted on Rep Walsh's website:
Dear Friends and Neighbors, Like you, I am shocked and saddened by the murders that have occurred in our country. The slaughter of innocent children in Newtown, Conn. still continues to haunt me as my heart aches for the families of the victims. People suffering with mental illness are responsible for these horrific deaths, and no legislation will ever be able to prevent all of them.
The state Legislature is carefully considering several approaches to addressing gaps in our current laws that could help prevent some of these mass shootings. School and public safety is the goal, and there are many facets to the cause of these horrific events. Mental health is certainly a component, as well as a lack of enforcing our current laws.
As many of you know, I did sign on to House Bill 1588 with the belief that it simply addressed an inequity (loophole) in the law concerning background checks at some gun shows. Although the bill has been amended to address some of the concerns of gun owners across the state, I have really come to realize that no legislation will ever address the criminal element as far as guns are concerned. Thus the bill only targets (no pun intended) lawful gun owners and the application of the law would not be logical. I will not be supporting the bill and thank everyone who wrote to me with their concerns. Your comments were very helpful to me in discerning this issue. I am honored to serve as your state representative.