Legal Action Fights WA AR-15 Owner Names Release

AR-15 owners in Washington State who participated in a “bump stock” buyback conducted by the Washington State Police (WSP)—whose names and addresses, as we reported, would have been released on April 26 in response to a pair of public information requests—can breathe a little easier this week, thanks to a motion for a temporary restraining order and show cause hearing filed April 22 by Steve Clark of the Crary, Clark, Domanico & Chuang, PS, law firm. John Doe is the listed plaintiff. The move stalls releasing the personal information, although the final decision is now in the hands of Superior Court in Spokane, WA.

State officials issued a letter on April 11 addressed to gun owners who turned in their “bump stock” devices—in exchange for a $150 voucher—explaining their personal information could be released on April 26 unless an injunction was filed. Copies of the two Freedom of Information Act requests were included and late yesterday we received them. One states, “I seek to obtain the names and addresses where checks will be mailed for the bump stock buy back program. My intent is to create a searchable database and map of Washington state to overlay the locations. The public has a right to know that these dangerous devices may have been in neighborhoods that the [sic] live in and who has previously owned such devices.” [Copy of the note above, with contact info redacted by our team]

The second was a request for copies of WSP policies and procedures in the handling and storage of the documents and the information provided. This person was also interested in volume of participants, makes/manufacturers of turned-in items, disposition of them after the event and documents created before, during or after.

Forms completed during the turn-in required participants to provide their name and address where the vouchers would be mailed.

Washington bump stock buyback, Guy J. Sagi, Fear and Loading, Raeford NC

The motion for a temporary restraining filed by Clark explains to the court, “The release of these records would open him up to potential political harassment, physical harassment, and theft. If these records are released, it has a strong potential to substantially and irreparably damage both Plaintiff Doe 1 and anyone else whose records are released.” It also cautions residents will be less likely to participate in any similar programs in the future if their personal information is at risk.

Former Bump Stock Owners Information to be Released by Washington State

Gun owners who participated in the “bump stock” buyback program conducted by the Washington State Patrol (WSP) last month will have their names and other personal information provided to two individuals on April 26, unless they “…enjoin disclosure of the records under RCW.42.56.540.” State officials contacted affected enthusiasts by mail on April 11, explaining, “The records in question do not appear to be categorically exempt from disclosure. Accordingly, WSP intends to release the records in response to these public records requests.”

As of March 26, so called “bump stocks” fall under the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (BATFE) “…definition of ‘machinegun’ in the Gun Control Act (GCA) and National Firearms Act (NFA)…” The wording was officially modified last month and now, “…includes bump-stock-type devices, i.e., devices that allow a semiautomatic firearm to shoot more than one shot with a single pull of the trigger by harnessing the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm to which it is affixed so that the trigger resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter.” The BATFE website provides complete information.

bump stock, slide fire, gun owners personal info, Guy J. Sagi, Raeford NC, Fear and loading

Washington state banned “bump stocks” in 2018, but funds underwriting the legislature-approved buyback were not authorized. They were earmarked this year, although K5 News reports that as of noon on March 25 all $150,000 in vouchers has been claimed.

The NBC affiliate explains residents could also turn them over at a BATFE office, request a receipt and use it to qualify for under the program. “Once the voucher is processed, the WSP will mail residents a check for $150 for each device turned in,” the station reported, indicating the address of each participant (at the minimum) will likely be provided on April 26.

The WSP has yet to respond to our request for an original and blank copy of the buyback form to ascertain volume of individual information available through the public information process. The agency, however, answered quickly and provided the letter it sent on April 11 to participants [seen here with contact information redacted by our team]. Another Washington State agency has been contacted for copies of the e-mails or letters asking for the participant forms.

Update: Last night we received a copy of each public information request, WSP form and copy of legal action filed April 22 seeking to block the release of the names and addresses of the participants. Read full details here.

Ammo Mags Hidden on Alcatraz

Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Archeologists using lasers and ground-penetrating radar have detected remnants of the Civil War fortification buried under California’s most notorious prison, but it’s the discovery of a different sort likely to catch the attention of gun-control activists—it’s the ammo mags hidden on Alcatraz. Results of the scientific study that were published in the Near Surface Journal earlier this month are described as, “…buried structures, ammunition magazines and tunnels,” according to an Associated Press report.

It’s unclear whether California officials will exhume the ammo mags hidden on Alcatraz to determine if they can hold more than10 cartridges, which would make them illegal in the state. Skeptics claim burial in ruins more than 100 years old indicates they are likely in compliance with the law, which was passed in 2000, but included a grandfather clause that allowed residents to keep any in their possession at the time the legislation took effect. At press time no one has stepped forward to claim the cache.

Lots of Suspects

Alcatraz Island is now one of the more than 400 facilities managed by the National Park Service and roughly one million tourists flock to the site annually. The shear volume of visitors could make it nearly impossible to identify suspects, although security video is likely being reviewed for anyone carrying a shovel. The island was the site of the first lighthouse on the left coast, Civil War fort, bird sanctuary and infamous high-security prison no one successfully escaped from until Clint Eastwood’s blockbuster breakout in 1979.

Alternate Ammo Mags Hidden on Alcatraz

There is the off-chance that the writer meant a library filled with the ’60’s popular “True Detective” magazines or ammo-storage bunkers. The fact that the later would require the National Park Service to allow the public to walk atop a century-old fermenting keg of gunpowder largely rules it out, though.

*Sturgeons Warning: If you took the bait on this fishy tale, you may also enjoy my alluring top-nine reasons the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have grenade launchers.

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