One of the major gun-control efforts in Olympia this session calls for the sheriff to inspect the homes of assault-weapon owners. The bill’s backers say that was a mistake.
Forget police drones flying over your house. How about police coming inside, once a year, to have a look around?
As Orwellian as that sounds, it isn’t hypothetical. The notion of police home inspections was introduced in a bill last week in Olympia.
That it’s part of one of the major gun-control efforts pains me. It seemed in recent weeks lawmakers might be headed toward some common-sense regulation of gun sales. But then last week they went too far. By mistake, they claim. But still too far.
“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.”