Will gun shops in WA be able to comply with the new regulations or will they be forced to close? – Washington

(The Center Square) – Gun store owners across Washington have one more year to see if they can comply with a new law that requires costly security improvements.

Opponents have called the legislation an “FFL killer.” FFL refers to gun stores that are federally licensed to carry firearms.

The National Rifle Association’s Legislative Action Institute wrote: “The burdensome requirements of House Bill 2118 will likely cause most Washington-based FFLs to go out of business due to the financial burden of compliance.

The new requirements include the installation of steel doors or bars in the storefront, locking all firearms in a safe after business hours, and security systems with 24-hour audio and video monitoring, as well as retention of recordings for 90 days.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Amy Walen, R-Kirkland, told fellow lawmakers: “The goals are only to ensure that inventory is safe and secure, that standard records are maintained, that theft or loss is reported in a timely manner, that transactions are videotaped, and that liability insurance is in place.”

Robert Schentrup supported the bill during a February public hearing before the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee.

His 16-year-old sister, Carmen Schentrup, died in the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

“Her death was preventable, as were the deaths of 822 Washingtonians each year from gun violence,” Schentrup said.

According to 2023 statistics from the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, more than 69% of gun deaths in Washington state are due to suicide.

Opponents of the bill say the burdensome regulations are aimed at eliminating gun stores.

“That’s 100% the motivation, they made no secret of it,” Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, told The Center Square in March, after the bill passed.

Kirk Evans, president of Texas-based American Law Shield, tells The Center Square: “Even if you have the fanciest, most secure indoor safe where you store your guns at night, the best device in the world, it’s going to be too much,” Evans said. “Every exterior window and door must now have bars and metal skins, even if you have the best security system known to man.”

It is also concerned about the new reporting requirement on owners.

“This raises reporting requirements, where a firearm must be reported missing or stolen within 24 hours,” Evans said. “If an employee or other item is stolen that you don’t know about, you’re charged with failing to report it quickly enough, which becomes a Class C felony for an FFL dealer.”

Evans says the new law will bankrupt many gun stores.

“This will definitely hurt the little guy. I would say my guess is at least 10-20% of these stores will go out of business,” Evans said.

“This is by far the broadest and strictest bill I have seen in any state. The only good news is that the entire law will only come into force next July (2025), so people will have a chance to find out whether they will comply.