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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.

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  1. Still looks like it violates a higher law: ” the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

  2. Was this one of the bills the governor vetoed the other day? He vetoed 27 bills because the legislature failed to balance the budget.

  3. Why do you need a law to allow you to do something. The only reason I can think of is state preemption of local law. Is there any state law against manufacture?

    • Good point…

      I”m looking for WA state law that “allows” someone to do jumping jacks and somersaults. I don’t see anything that makes it “not unlawful”…

      • No kidding.
        I hope they pass a law soon that makes it legal to breathe up there. I won’t drive across the bridge until they do.

        • I pretty well wouldn’t go to Oregon for a while there while I was going through the hassle of getting an Oregon CHL. The state of Oregon sure makes it a pain in the ass to get a permit when you don’t live there. Thing is it’s easy to carry there when you have the permit.

          But you’re right Washington is pretty dumb as well.

        • “I hope they pass a law soon that makes it legal to breathe up there.”

          Tom, they are closer to that scenario than most folks realize.

          I recall reading a while back that the environmentalists wanted to actually classify *humans* as CO2 emitters.

          To the point that they were discussing requiring reproduction permits as a means of population control.

          In the interests of ‘sustainability’ to the environment, of course…

      • You won’t find a law that says open carry is lawful in Washington State either. It’s legal because it’s not specifically outlawed.

    • Because there is a very wordy RCW that defines dangerous weapons that includes barrel and OAL, and this bill was the minimum possible change that could get through to exempt SBR.

      It’s not perfect by any stretch but it should work. The earlier bill was fine as well but some anti in the DOL called the ATF and here we are.

      • Right. There’s a big section in the WA law about all sorts of weapons and originally all the NFA stuff was in there. Actually, for the longest time it was legal to own suppressors in WA but not to use them (felony). Apparently the most expedient way to allow suppressor use and SBRs (or to just get the law passed) was to add an amendment to the law written as an exemption in the same section where LEOs and such are exempted. So SBRs are still illegal per WA law but then you go to the exemption section and it says except they are not illegal if the owner meets applicable federal law.

  4. “It is not against state law to comply with federal law”

    derp, derp, dupe…anyone else think they should’ve just repealed the damn statute?

  5. You know we still haven’t resolved the BS behind Bloomburgs anti 2A BS here in WA. That needs more attention than SBRs.

  6. So 2 years later and no bill for sbs and full auto in moving ??

    Looks same standart at Minnesota sbs and full auto + shall sig to legalize in the nfa section ………

  7. Word… Hilloraly Clitnon, firearms done, gone, game over No I dont wanna hear about Constitution, due process, they cant. “They” can and they will..


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