Defense Distributed’s 3D printed gun, The Liberator. Photo by Vvzvlad/Wikimedia Commons

Defense Distributed’s 3D printed gun, The Liberator. Photo by Vvzvlad/Wikimedia Commons

‘Ghost gun’ bill moves to Senate committees

Legislation would make 3-D printed guns illegal.

Undetectable and untraceable firearms and their creation would be illegal in Washington state under proposed legislation. These types of firearms are commonly manufactured via 3-D printers and are often referred to as “ghost guns.”

The Senate Law and Justice Committee heard public testimony Tuesday on Engrossed House Bill 1739. The Senate version, SB 5061, passed out of the Law and Justice Committee in January, but did not move out of the Senate Rules Committee. Differences between the two bills were described as “non-substantive” by committee staff.

Rep. Javier Valdez, D-Seattle, is the prime sponsor of the bill, which was requested by Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

“This is really about ensuring that our people out there in the state of Washington feel safe,” Valdez said.

It’s important to get out in front of this problem with growing technology, said Valdez, citing a case where 3-D assault weapons were being distributed in New Jersey.

The bill defines undetectable firearms as those that cannot be detected by walk-through metal detectors that are commonly used at airports, or a firearm where the barrel, slide, cylinder, frame, or receiver would not generate an accurate image when examined by X-ray machines. Untraceable firearms are defined as any firearm (manufactured after the bill’s effective date) that cannot be traced by law enforcement via a serial number assigned by a federally licensed manufacturer or importer.

The bill also makes it a crime to help manufacture or assemble undetectable and untraceable firearms.

Bharat Shyam, a member of former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire’s cabinet and an emerging technology investor, testified in support of the bill. Shyam also cited the New Jersey Attorney General’s statement on ghost guns.

“It’s really my job to understand emerging technology and the benefits and drawbacks of emerging technology, and I believe it’s your role to distinguish between these benefits and drawbacks and legislate accordingly,” Shyam said.

Pat Griffith from the League of Women Voters said the league supports the bill, calling it “common sense.” Griffith mentioned that these guns are untraceable and that those who fail background checks should not be able to assemble guns, thus circumventing Washington’s background check law.

Matt Vadnal, a former prosecuting attorney and representative from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, also testified in support of the bill. Vadnal served for 30 years in the Army Reserve and is a former National Rifle Association member.

“During the present session, this Legislature can stop a recent technological development that is worse … than the widespread availability of semi-automatic firearms with large capacity magazines,” Vadnal said. “In Washington today, it is possible for an unlicensed individual to build a gun from parts they print on a 3-D printer or order online, all with no background check, no serial number, and no tracking.”

David Schirle, a concerned citizen, testified in opposition to the bill. Schirle argued that there was no way for a “law abiding” citizen to make a gun they manufacture themselves traceable.

Mike Silvers, a concerned citizen, testified in opposition of the bill by saying that guns without serial numbers are already illegal federally.

“You would have to have the best plastic available in a ball the size of a waste basket, and I mean a big waste basket, to contain that pressure for one shot. Anything smaller than that, you got a bomb in your hand,” Silvers said.

HB 1739 passed through the chamber on March 1 with 55 in favor and 41 opposed.

The bill is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Law and Justice Committee on March 28.

Emma Epperly is an intern with the WNPA Olympia News Bureau.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@rentonreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.rentonreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

A client searches for clothing at the Kiwanis Clothing Bank location in 2016. Leah Abraham/File photo
Kiwanis Clothing Bank will shutter unless it can find a new home

The clothing bank has been supporting Renton for over 50 years, but has had trouble finding a new home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Charges filed in Seattle shooting death

Detectives believe the person who shot a 19-year-old in an occupied protest zone in June immediately fled the state

I-5 to close overnight in Federal Way Aug. 28-30

5-mile shutdown for new bridge construction at 70th Avenue East in Fife

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Vote election badge. File photo
5th District results: Ramos leads House race; Anderson edging Mullett for state Senate

Early results have been reported in the 5th Legislative District races from… Continue reading

In the LaCrosse neighborhood in upper Kennydale, the process to get a 20 mph speed limit is almost complete. Haley Ausbun/Staff photo.
Renton neighborhood closing in on long-awaited 20 mph speed limit

The LaCrosse neighborhood’s request for a lower speed limit has faced delays due to COVID-19

King County Election headquarters in Renton, on primary Election Day, Aug. 4. Voters can return their ballot and register in-person at the election headquarters and other voting centers by 8 p.m. Haley Ausbun/Staff photo.
There’s still time to vote in the August primary

Turn in your ballot at any voting center by 8 p.m.

Most Read