Washington State residents were surprised to find that the ATF was denying their Form 1 applications to build short barrel rifles. As discussed here, this was due to what most assumed was an oversight in the 2014 law that first legalized SBR ownership in WA. It basically seemed like the word “manufacture” or “make” was simply forgotten from the list of approved actions — possess, transport, acquire, transfer — a Washington resident could now do with an SBR. Well, on March 9th a bill was delivered to the governor’s desk for signature that would change this . . .
SB 6165 (bill text here) has passed the House (93-4) and the Senate (44-4) and currently awaits Mr. Inslee’s (D) signature. Considering the overwhelming House and Senate support, a veto here would be a surprise.
The amendment itself was very simple. This is the original text of the law:
It is not unlawful for a person to possess, transport, acquire, or transfer a short-barreled rifle that is legally registered and possessed, transported, acquired, or transferred in accordance with federal law.
And this is the amended text:
It is not unlawful for a person to manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, assemble, or repair, or have in possession or under control, a short-barreled rifle, or any part designed or intended solely and exclusively for use in a short-barreled rifle or in converting a weapon into a short-barreled rifle, if the person is in compliance with applicable federal law.
The clear intent of the original amendment was to simply change Washington State law so it complied with federal law. If the SBR activities were legal federally, they’d be legal in the Evergreen State. But the drafters of it made an error. The new version adds even more language and details even more activities that are now legal as long as they’re federally legal.
Frankly, I still think they’re over-complicating things by listing specifics when they [presumably] could have simply stated that Washington State short barreled rifle law defers to applicable federal law and have been done with it. Less is more. KISS, etc. At any rate…great news. I see a Form 1 in my future.
[h/t Nick from Sharp Shooting Indoor Range & Gun Shop]
EDIT: The Governor signed the bill and it’s now law. WA residents can now “manufacture” an SBR via the ATF Form 1 process.