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Thread: HB 3131

  1. #1
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    Herre is a bill that concerns weapons on school grounds:

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/bil...Bills/3131.pdf

    It might not seem to be an issue for OCDO, but HB 3131 increases the infraction level for possession of a firearm on a campus to a class C felony. That means the CPL holder who unknowingly (or unwittingly) enters school property could lose thier firearm and voting rights for life (not just 3 years as is currently the law). The same would apply to some kid who makes a mistake and leaves a loaded firearm in a vehicle (stupid, but it happens). It bothers me that they will propose legislation that slaps law-abiding citizens so hard but that really won't have much if any effect on the gang-bangers they are trying to get to. The penalty for a firearm on campus would exceed the penalty for having a firearm in a courtroom, jail, etc.

    In the legislative session thread, this bill has been mentioned under different numbers (2268 and 3905). It is now moving forward to the house judiciary committee.

    Another parallel concern for firearm owners is that this bill once again impairs our right to self defense, by making simple possession of a stun gun or Taser a gross misdemeanor. Possession of live ammunition or a loaded magazine would also be a gross misdemeanor. I have tried to point out that dropping the mag is an effective way to safety many pistols that must be left in a vehicle, but those prosecutors don't seem to know much about firearms.

    There are also good elements to the bill, like making it a crime to threaten somebody with a weapon on campus (wait . . . I thought that was already a crime everywhere), and requiring a threat assessment for students caught with firearms.

    This is a knee-jerk response to VT and other incidents, and will have no real effect on school safety while possibly depriving honest citizens of voting and firearm rights for an honest mistake.

    Let your legislators know your thoughts on this bill -- I'm spending the evening writing letters.

    Charles

  2. #2
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    Passing more gun control laws is like nagging criminals into not being criminals. The only people hurt are honest citizens.

  3. #3
    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Well crap!

    First the legislation to try to allow Universities and Colleges to make it illegal to possess or discharge firearms on campus, now they want to also up it to a C Felony?!?

    F@#$!
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
    KF7GEA

  4. #4
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    just_a_car wrote:
    Well crap!

    First the legislation to try to allow Universities and Colleges to make it illegal to possess or discharge firearms on campus, now they want to also up it to a C Felony?!?

    F@#$!
    This bill is only for elementary and secondary schools, not higher education facilities.

    Very well said bear. I just wish the "feelgood" legislators would realize that.
    At least they are not targeting CPL holders. Hopefully this will not get out of committee, but I fear it will.
    "A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity."

    "though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Glock 23:40

  5. #5
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    Here is the text of one of my letters:

    Dear Senator Roach:

    I am writing to voice my opposition to HB 3131, which addresses the topic of weapons on school campuses. I am aware that you opposed this bill last year when it was presented as HB 2268. As an experienced school administrator, former teacher of incarcerated youth, and a current professional in the field of school security and safety, I have serious concerns about this bill and question its effectiveness in making our schools safer. Please understand that this letter conveys my personal opinions, and not those of my employer.



    House Bill 3131 increases the infraction for possession of a firearm on school grounds from a gross misdemeanor to a class C felony. This is a greater infraction than possession of a firearm in the restricted areas of a courthouse, jail, airport, or other restricted area. The legislation is purportedly intended to address, among other issues, an perceived inconsistency in the current law which prosecutors believe discourages law enforcement officers from bringing charges: under RCW 9.41.280(1)(a), possession of a firearm on school grounds is a gross misdemeanor, versus being a class C felony under RCW 9.41.040(2)(a)(iii). Apparently, some law enforcement officers have declined filing charges against students in possession of a firearm on campus because the infraction was a gross misdemeanor. This is a training[/i] issue, not an issue that necessitates a revision of RCWs – the legal tool is currently available if an officer wants to charge a student in possession of a handgun with a class C felony.



    House Bill 3131 also criminalizes the possession of electronic defensive devices on school grounds, including stun guns and Tasers – not only for students, but for any person on campus. This impairs the right of all persons on school grounds to carry these devices for self-defense, which tramples on Section 24 of our state constitution. Consider the many unfortunate incidents of school violence in recent history, and ask how many lives might have been saved by a citizen with a Tazer. Our students and teachers come and go at all hours, and they have legitimate concerns about their own personal safety; although I would not advocate the carry of firearms inside schools, I find that electronic or chemical defensive devices should be available to students and teachers who choose to protect themselves.



    House Bill 3131 also criminalizes possession of other items which have in the past been addressed through school discipline. As an experienced disciplinarian, I can assure you that criminal prosecution should not be our means of addressing anything but the most serious misbehavior in schools. Kids make mistakes, and the appropriate way of dealing with these mistakes is with school-based discipline rather than referring them to the juvenile court. HB 3131 slams the door on at-risk students by allowing them to be expelled for possession of things like air soft guns and stun guns. Students expelled are students on a road to low-paying jobs, the wrong friends, and jail.



    I also want to support two provisions of HB 3131: threat or use of a weapon on school grounds identified as a specific crime, and the requirement for students found in possession of a weapon to undergo threat assessment. I believe that the use of a weapon to threaten, intimidate, or carry out violence against a person on school grounds should be a class C felony. I would also strongly support sentencing enhancements for threats or violence that occur on school grounds, and believe this would have more effect on campus safety than the proposed law. Threat assessment is also an important step to helping our schools remain safe, but it needs to be mandated for students who make threats of violence as well.



    I strongly encourage you to oppose HB 3131, and would be happy to discuss my views further with you. I have anecdotal examples of innocuous campus incidents which show how this legislation would impact good students who made honest mistakes. Unfortunately, I cannot testify against the bill because of my professional position.



    Thank you for your time, and your continued support of our Second Amendment rights and our state rights to unimpaired self-defense.



    Sincerely,







  6. #6
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    Senator Roach:




    There's really a politician named that!

    :what:

  7. #7
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    She's one of the good ones, so be respectful! We need her continued support.

    I attended a meeting where Rep. Lantz, the sponsor of HB 3131 said, "I think Senator Roach wants guns to be allowed everywhere." That convinced me that Pam Roach was one of the legislators to write anytime there is gun legislation I oppose.

    I did some additional analysis of this bill, since the prosecutors think they need to raise the infraction for a gun on campus (they think a gross misdemeanor isn't enough):

    A 17-year old kid who carries a loaded handgun to school can be charged with:

    • Possession of a firearm on school grounds (gross misdemeanor)
    • Illegal possession of a firearm, second degree (class C felony)
    • Theft of a firearm (if taken without permission) (class C felony)
    • Violation of gun free schools act (federal crime, up to five years)
    • Illegal possession of ammunition (USC 18 S 181)
    Plus associated crimes for brandishing, etc.

    And they think they need more?

    It's an election year -- gotta show we're tough on crime.

    Chuck

  8. #8
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    Charles Paul Lincoln wrote:
    HB 3131 increases the infraction level for possession of a firearm on a campus to a class C felony.
    Class C felony. Oh man, I'm sure Cho and the boys at Columbine would have stayed home that day if they ran the risk of becoming felons. What a joke..



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