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Thread: So how many know the story on RCW 9.41.270 ?

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    While cleaning up the computer I found the following document. I thought some of the new folks might like to read it. (written by Gray Peterson)



    Washington State is for all intents and purposes an open carry state. However, a law that was passed to target the Black Panthers in 1969 gums things up for open carriers. This law was passed unanimously back during the Panthers era due to the "invasion" of the California Legislature in 1967.

    Washington State passed this law on the first opportunity it could. Oregon passed similar but not the same legislation. Washington passed this law affecting intimidation and threatening behavior. Oregon passed a locational ban (similar to what the WA had in the bill that creates this law) that exempted law enforcement and CHL holders.

    This law was passed unanimously to target political radical groups carrying guns to intimidate the public. Looking at the wording of the Washington State constitution, you can see that our right to keep and bear arms do not protect the organization, employment, or equipping of an "armed body of men", which the Panthers certainly would have qualified as and therefore not subject to such protections. Heck, one of the representatives who voted no then voted yes on the bill due to a misunderstanding of the bill as a "gun control" bill, which it was not according to the sponsor.

    Fast forward to 1994. The case and carry law passes in the Washington State Legislature. This law was a local option law that counties could opt out of, and required you to possess a CPL to carry any loaded pistol. Open carry without a permit was illegal and Washington became a "licensed open carry" state. Three years passed and the Legislature repealed the law due to its ineffective status, and the Governor signed. Unfortunately, it would seem that a lot of cops did not get the memo, especially in Puget Sound, Spokane, and Clark County/Vancouver areas.

    RCW 9.41.270 was originally HB123 in the 1969 Legislature. There were two provisions to this law: An intimidation ban and a 500 foot within a public building ban. The "Exceptions" provision was meant more of a manner of exempting from the 500 feet ban more so than the intimidation ban, but it was kept nonetheless. It also originally exempted CPL holders (Which would have made RCW 9.41.270 a moot point for CPL holders and turn it into a licensed open carry state).

    The locational ban was removed due to concerns that persons would get arrested for peacefully carrying their firearms near public buildings, and the licensing exemption was removed as well due to the locational nature of that exemption. The idea of requiring carry permits for carrying a handgun openly in the state of Washington at that time was an unthinkable concept to the Legislature at that point.

    What we were left with was basically panicked political compromise between the House and the Senate, who were trying to pass a ban as quick as possible to prevent the Black Panthers from storming the Washington Legislature.

    That being said, the Legislature never intended for peaceable open carry to be banned. They were targeting radical political groups, period. Regardless of what Spokane Transit or certain police agencies in the state, that was their intention.

    The source of this bill was back in 1967 when the California Legislature was invaded by members of the Black Panthers. This caused Oregon and Washington to react to it by passing laws at their earliest possible opportunity.

    Those laws are codified in RCW 9.41.270 and ORS 166.370(1) and 166.370(3).

    I don't have the history of Oregon's bill (I need to go down to the archives in Salem and pull it up), but they probably follow along the lines of similar, except that Oregon's law was locational and Washington's law was intimidative.

    http://www.claytoncramer.com/Popular...nCarryBan.html

    The "two acquaintances" of his was Gray Peterson and Jim March (Jim resided up here because he was working for BBV). We actually went down to Olympia and sat in the archives room for almost 5 hours, pouring through every piece of documentation we could get on RCW 9.41.270. Clayton's work was good, but it didn't go into huge amount of detail over the bickering that occurred back in 1969 and the actual wording of the language.

    First, the Black Panthers as an intimidative force across the country. California passed the Mulford Act due to their actions. And guess which was the first Panthers chapter outside of California? You guessed it, Seattle. One of the leaders of the Panthers movement up here in Washington is now running on the Green Party nomination for US Senator, Aaron Dixon.

    There also was a local (to Seattle area) invasion, too of Rainier Beach High School. You can read more about it here. This occurred in 1968, and was one of the impetus besides the California invasion. In fact, the Rainier Beach incident may have actually caused them to go forward with the drafting of the bill.

    Now, RCW 9.41.270 started up in life as HB123. Here is a copy of the bill....

    (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to willfully carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
    (2) It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife, or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or other apparently dangerous weapon while on the premises of any public building or on any public property without within 500 feet of any public building. For the purposes of this section, the term "public building" shall mean any building owned by the state or any political subdivision thereof, other than an apartment building or a building that is used to provide housing for others.
    (3) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (1) or (2) above shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.
    (4) Subsection (1) or (2)of this act shall not apply to or affect the following:
    (a) Any act committed by a person while in his or her place of abode or fixed place of business;
    (b) Any person who by virtue of his or her office or public employment is vested by law with a duty to preserve public safety, maintain public order, or to make arrests for offenses, while in the performance of such duty;
    (c) Any person acting for the purpose of protecting himself or herself against the use of presently threatened unlawful force by another, or for the purpose of protecting another against the use of such unlawful force by a third person;
    (d) Any person making or assisting in making a lawful arrest for the commission of a felony;
    (e) Any person engaged in military activities sponsored by the federal or state governments; or
    (f) Any person carrying a firearm who is licensed under any state or federal law to do so.

    I highlighted the parts that were deleted out of the bill at the end. Now as you can see, the bill was both a locational ban and an intimidative ban at first. However, it exempted ALL persons who were licensed to carry under any state or federal law.

    The House Judiciary committees were the primary ones who stripped out the provisions here as stated, with the exception of "willfully" being taken out (that was removed by state Senate amendment).

    Someone made a comment during the House debate that they originally voted against the bill thinking that it was a "gun control law". In 1969, it would seem that the idea of banning peaceable open carrying of handguns by those who were not involved in the panthers was unthinkable, even in Seattle. They wanted this law to go after the Panthers alone.

    Ask yourselves this question: Why would the Legislature even propose both an intimidation ban and a locational ban in the first place? If carrying a handgun openly is intimidating by itself, why even take the extra step and ban open carry within public buildings and public property within 500 feet. The locational ban did not require a factor of intimidation. In fact, they stated that if you were licensed to do so, you could carry despite both the first and second subsection.

    The "exceptions" in the law were left in (for the locational bans primarily) due to the Legislature being rushed and not paying attention, due to the fact that they had machine gun nests outside of the Legislature thinking that the Panthers were going to storm in with guns by the thousands. The law took effect immediately. A few Panthers did go and protest outside of the Capitol on the steps after the nests left, they did have their rifles with them, yet they were not arrested or charged even though RCW 9.41.270 was in effect that day. You can see the photos here.

    Also, read Article 1, Section 24 of the state constitution. It states:

    The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this Section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.

    The Black Panthers certainly were an organized, armed body of men.

    The source of this bullcrap that open carry is banned entirely or open carry is banned if someone calls the cops and is alarmed, does come from certain sources, and not from others.

    They do not come from the state's two police academies, and there's only two in Washington, the State Patrol Academy (WSP officers only) in Shelton, and the WSCJTC. I have spoken with both of their training divisions, and neither of them have any sort of material saying open carry is illegal, only concealed carry on foot being illegal without a license and the loaded carry of a pistol being illegal in a vehicle without a license.

    Another problem is still of officers still think the case and carry law is still in effect (unlike the actual case and carry law memo sent out, the repeal memo was rather small and easily overlooked). This was in effect, again, between 1994 and 1997.

    Yet another problem is the addition of this language to RCW 9.41.270:

    If any person is convicted of a violation of subsection (1) of this section, the person shall lose his or her concealed pistol license, if any. The court shall send notice of the revocation to the department of licensing, and the city, town, or county which issued the license.

    I've heard some officers state that this law means "the state has demanded that you conceal your handgun or you lose your license". However, what is not shown by this law is that this exact language was added on to other RCW's (specifically RCW 9.41.280, the school carry law) by the same Violence Prevention Act that added it to 270. The Legislature here was not trying to tell us that they wanted open carry banned by this language in 1994. They were already doing that with the case and carry law, which was repealed in 1997 due to the efforts of Senator Hargrove with SB5326. The rest of the Violence Prevention Act of 1994 remained in effect.

    The problem here is not with the academies, the problem here is individual officers and departments being a bunch of and letting their own personal prejudices into their work, or hearing advice from senior officers who are saying this without verifying that actual law, or the history of said law. Folks, there are officers in the SEATTLE PD believe that open carry is legal. The problem is getting the departments training divisions on the same ballpark so that EVERYONE knows about it, along with the 911 operators and so on.

    <edit: to add author Gray Peterson)

  2. #2
    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    And now you know.....the rest of the story.

    M1Gunr, thanks for all that research and the informative synopsis.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    I remember writing that!

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    State Researcher Bill Starks's Avatar
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    Gray Peterson wrote:
    I remember writing that!
    As I stated I found that document as I was cleaning up the computer. Now that Gray has said it his, Thank You. Now I'll add a by line to it.

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    Campaign Veteran gogodawgs's Avatar
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    Gray Peterson wrote:
    I remember writing that!
    Gray,

    Many thanks on your work over the years. I very much appreciate what you have done. May this movement move forward with dignity and class and all Washingtonians accept OC as a right and a normal part of our life.
    Live Free or Die!

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    The 'armed body of men' bit caught my attention. At what point might an OC gathering become an 'armed body of men' and thus no longer qualify as an legal OC activity?

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    That was the first thing I read on OC forum.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    I dunno, but we should have a couple of ladies attend too, that way it's not just an armed body of men
    Quote Originally Posted by SayWhat View Post

    Shooters before hooters.

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    aktion wrote:
    The 'armed body of men' bit caught my attention. At what point might an OC gathering become an 'armed body of men' and thus no longer qualify as an legal OC activity?
    This happens when it is a 'requirement' of the group to be armed to attend. No such requirement from anyone. No laws broken.

  10. #10
    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    G20-IWB24/7 wrote:
    aktion wrote:
    The 'armed body of men' bit caught my attention. At what point might an OC gathering become an 'armed body of men' and thus no longer qualify as an legal OC activity?
    This happens when it is a 'requirement' of the group to be armed to attend. No such requirement from anyone. No laws broken.
    I believe an additional required legal qualifier would be providing material support after "organizing" said "armed body of men".

    The equivalent of Bill Gates (just an example of someone who could afford it) hiring, and supplying a security (read; mercenary) group without first getting permission from the state.

    That kind of thing.

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