Issue Position: Gun Rights

Issue Position

By:  Richard Sanders
Location: Unknown

While there was controversy over whether the Second Amendment to he US Constitution protects the individual right to keep and bear arms, there can be no doubt that is the cases under our state constitution, Art 1, Sec. 24.

I my view this as much a civil right as the freedom to speak, worship, or hold property without unlawful deprivation. But like other civil rights it is constantly under attack.

In the case of State v. Schelin, 147 Wn.2d 562 (2002) I wrote a dissenting opinion attempting to set forth some of the constitutional principles, as I understood then. Importantly the text qualifies that the right to bear arms to protect self or the state shall not be impaired. Therefore, there is no state constitutional right to use a gun to commit a crime, for example.

Our state Constitution provides: "Art. 1, Sec. 24. Right to bear arms. The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authority of individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men."