Washington State Gun Ban Gives Law Enforcement Permission To Search Your Home Without A Warrant

AR-15-assault-weapon

Well, they clearly don’t care much for the 2nd amendment, so why would we expect them to care about the 4th amendment?

“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.

Responding to the Newtown school massacre, the bill would ban the sale of semi-automatic weapons that use detachable ammunition magazines. Clips that contain more than 10 rounds would be illegal.

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.

So, the price of owning an “assault weapon” in Washington is opening your home to an annual, warrantless “inspection” from law enforcement agents. You either submit and give up your privacy, or you give up your guns. Or you take your chances owning your guns illegally.

But remember, the anti-gun people don’t like it when you call them gun grabbers. And, to be fair, they aren’t grabbing your guns. They’re just implementing policy which makes owning them really, really hard.

Update: The legislation has been amended to remove the provision allowing for warrantless home searches.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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