Rep. Jim Walsh issues statement on passage of bill restricting constitutionally protected gun rights

During late-night floor action, the House passed a measure that seeks to restrict constitutionally protected gun rights.

Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, issued the following statement on the passage of House Bill 1143. The proposal would impose training, permitting, and arbitrary waiting period requirements on law-abiding gun owners and firearm dealers.

“Late Tuesday evening, the House approved this measure. The bill adds various training and testing requirements on people before they can exercise their constitutional rights in Washington state. The vote was 52-44. The 44 nay votes were a bipartisan mix; the 52 yeas followed a straight party line.

“Although it was narrowed a bit by a last-minute revision, the bill remains a poorly conceived, unconstitutional mess.

“As we mentioned during the floor debate, it will almost certainly be overturned by the first federal court that reviews it. The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ‘Bruen’ decision practically guarantees this. The constitutionalists in the Washington State House tried to repair the bill’s worst defects with a series of carefully-drafted amendments. The majority rejected all of those amendments.

“Article 1, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution states clearly that Washingtonians’ right to keep and bear firearms in defense of themselves and the state ‘shall not be impaired.’ This measure impairs that right by requiring vaguely defined ‘training’ and tests before Washingtonians can buy or sell firearms. And it requires the records of such sales to be kept in a registry at the Washington State Department of Licensing.

“These unconstitutional impairments won’t save a single child. They won’t improve our worsening crime rates. They won’t make our streets safer. This bill makes false promises to people who don’t know about guns and don’t care about gun rights. Those of us who care can see those false promises.”

HB 1143 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications