I was looking at the Revised Code of Washington firearm definitions and found some interesting things:

(9) “Firearm” means a weapon or device from which a projectile or projectiles may be fired by an explosive such as gunpowder.

Does this mean that if you, as a non-FFL, sell or give someone something, say the lower receiver of a modern sporting rifle or a handgun without a barrel, that is incapable of firing a projectile they don’t have to go through the NICS check and fill out a 4473 as required by I-594?

(15) “Machine gun” means any firearm known as a machine gun, mechanical rifle, submachine gun, or any other mechanism or instrument not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot and having a reservoir clip, disc, drum, belt, or other separable mechanical device for storing, carrying, or supplying ammunition which can be loaded into the firearm, mechanism, or instrument, and fired therefrom at the rate of five or more shots per second.

Emphasis added.

I find two things of interest here.

  1. Some people can pull the trigger on a revolver faster than this.
  2. If someone were to limit the rate of fire on a belt fed gun to no more than 4.9 shots per second it would appear (I am not a lawyer!) to be legal under Washington State law.

14 thoughts on “Interesting

  1. On your first point: yes, but it says “not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot” so Jerry M. is in the clear.
    I wonder if Gatling guns are covered by that definition, though.

    • Yes. I realize that. It also says it has to have a “reservoir clip, disc, drum, belt, or other separable mechanical device for storing, carrying, or supplying ammunition”. I was just pointing out that the law wants to define a machine gun as having a rate of fire below what someone (a very select set of someones) can shoot a revolver.

  2. joe:

    when you look at an rcw, it is best to get the rcw “annotated,” which has reference to case law and administrative rulings, which put the “gloss” , e.g., explanation, on what the legislature really meant when it says something in more or less plain english.

    the courts uphold any legislation, if they can in more or less good faith (a bit of a stretch here, w/ modern courts), and may choose to ignore some language in order to uphold the “basic intent” of the legislation.

    yes, this gets tricky. and, yes, you are looking at the law as it is in the state of washington. the above statute, if inconsistent or contrary to federal law on the same subject, would probably be deemed superceded by the federal law, as such matters are more or less in the exclusive purview of the feds, in the eyes of most courts. (most everything is in the purview of the feds any more, whether intended or not, or even contemplated by the founders. hey, if you are a big fan of franklin roosevelt, live with it.) (if you get all misty over willion o. douglas, … , live w/ it.)

    it’s stuff like this, that explains why the lawyers get the big bucks.

    john jay

    p.s. hint: do not expect logic or reason to control in these matters. it may not do you much good to explain to a court that your firearm has a firing rate limited to 250 rounds a minute, effective rate. the judge may say, oh, yes, most interesting, as he sentences you to reeducation camp, and death by hanging once you’ve been reformed.

    • Federal law doesn’t require background checks for transfers between two residents of the same state.

      Federal law allows the ownership of some machine guns. Washington does not. If one were to modify a gun they owned in another state such that the rate of fire is less than five rounds a minute it would appear such a gun would then be legal to own in Washington state.

      • That works out to…one shot every >12 seconds. That would probably correspond to an extremely controllable weapon, even in full auto mode.

        Having said this, I find this concept intriguing. And I too am (academically) curious about Gatling guns.

        • Wasn’t that “… five shots per SECOND”?

          As to Gatling guns, I had read that they are not considered “machine guns” by the BATFE because they have no trigger, and thus are not included wherever a law says ” … fire without requiring the trigger to be pulled for each subsequent shot”.
          Of course, I read it on the internet, so take that for what you paid for it.

          Apparently the ACTUAL stance of the BATFE is that the turning of the crank is equivalent to repeatedly operating the trigger, hence NOT a machine gun, since NOT automatic.

          • I’d love to have a hand-crank, modern-material, modern caliber, belt-fed Gatling gun. Preferably with a proper wheeled mounting and limber. Not particularly practical, but it nearly pegs the cool scale.

          • In Home Shop Machinist magazine, an enjoyable magazine aimed at hobbyist metalworking machinery fans, I regularly see ads for kits, or plans, for .22 Gatling guns, including small carriages.
            Also in that magazine are semi-regular articles by a professional gunsmith (forgot his name right now), some involving quite complex machining projects.

  3. Once we’ve ignored the second amendment, we get into the weeds of technical mumbo-jumbo bullshit no matter what. We’re playing the game, becoming mesmerized over lists, descriptions, prohibited persons and activities, and the like, making all the bureaucrat leeches happy. If we respect the second amendment, then none of this evil rot means anything.

    Therefore it’s a binary choice, i.e. no middle ground. Don’t argue the middle ground. In doing so you’re taking the bait, going into the weeds on the usurpers’ turf– You’ve already accepted the violation, and now you’re just arguing over the details and nature of the violation. It’s a bit like arguing over the shade of yellow on your required Star of David armband.

      • But that only works until the SOBs get more power so they can change the laws again, preferably retroactively.

  4. If they want to get technical, we can get technical.
    Words have meaning and words matter.
    What if one doesn’t use an explosive in one’s cartridges?
    The word order is important, an explosive such as gunpowder.
    The only gunpowder I know of that is an explosive is Black Powder. Unless Pyrodex is also an explosive, every other powder is a propellant, different in formulation, different in mechanism, different in practice. One cannot put an explosive where a propellant is required and get the same effect. The Huks in the Philippines were defeated in part by that technique.

    • Heck…. the above definition makes the case that in Wash Non-cartridge Black Powder guns are firearms /legally/.

      Which they are not federally. So… how does one in Wash purchase or trade in black powder guns given FFL’s don’t use the federal system?

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