The bill was so 'out of left field' one outspoken GOP refused to vote on it; with Rep Jim Walsh refusing because the very bill was un-Constitutional.

House Bill (HB) ESSB 5038, whose abbreviation was changed because it's an enhanced Senate subsitute bill (ESSB) passed by a margin of 57-40. It's a bill that would prohibit the open carry of guns or weapons during protests or rallies on Capitol grounds in WA State (Olympia). The bill originally began in the Senate, and moved onto the House.

The bill was a kneejerk reaction, say many GOP Leaders, to the D.C. 'riot' or tumult that happened back in January, and was related to Inslee ordering fencing put up around the legislative buildings in Olympia.

Rep. Walsh, (R-Aberdeen) argued along with other legislators for nearly five hours in a debate of the un-Constitutionality of the bill. Walsh and others said it violates 2nd Amendement rights, that persons who are legally allowed to or possess open carry permits shall not have that right infringed regardless of any state law.

Walsh also bemoaned the brief and seemingly nonchalant media coverage of the debate as well as the vote.

After the vote passed, John Sattgast, the Republican House Communications Director reported GOP members felt this about the bill:

"During the five-hour debate, Republicans argued Senate Bill 5038 is unconstitutional, violating not only second amendment rights, but other amendments, including the right to free expression."

Sattgast also reported:

"Republicans also said the 250-foot prohibition is not clearly defined, meaning that anyone walking peacefully near a permitted event with a holstered gun, knife or other weapon could be charged with a gross misdemeanor crime."

Rep. Ed Orcutt of the 20th District (Kalama) said he's heard from many of his constituents, who say this proposed bill frames them as a lawbreaker:

 “That’s what I hear from my constituents. Why are you needlessly turning me into a criminal when I have no criminal intent? I’m just exercising my Second Amendment right."

The bill will go back to the Senate for more consideration.


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