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Top states for gun rights: Oregon, Idaho beat Washington

Washington state is ranked low by Guns & Ammo as a good place for gun owners.
Washington state is ranked low by Guns & Ammo as a good place for gun owners.Dave Workman

Guns & Ammo magazine yesterday posted an on-line rating of where the states stand on gun rights, and surprisingly Washington, where well-financed anti-gunners complain that the laws need to be tightened, is in the bottom third, while Oregon and Idaho are ranked No. 29 and 30, respectively.

The best state for gun owners is Arizona, where it is legal to carry openly or concealed without a permit, where all carry permits are honored, and where it is legal to own full-auto firearms and there are no magazine limits. Washington, meanwhile, is rated 39 out of 51, including all the states and the District of Columbia.

According to the G&A formula, states were ranked numerically in each of five categories, including right-to-carry, whether modern sporting rifles are regulated and how much, if firearms that fall under National Firearms Act (NFA) regulations are allowed, if the state has a Castle Doctrine, and miscellaneous other subjects that include shooting range protection laws. Considering the rhetoric from proponents of Initiative 594 – the 18-page gun control measure backed by the wealthy Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility – onlookers might have the impression Washington is the equivalent of Afghanistan.

The Evergreen State lags behind neighboring Oregon and Idaho because both of those states apparently have better right-to-carry provisions and they are more liberal with NFA firearms. Washington, however, beats them hands down on “Castle Doctrine.” There is no duty to retreat in Washington, and that is enshrined in state Supreme Court cases dating back nearly a century.

Earlier this year, Gov. Jay Insee signed legislation allowing ownership of SBRs (Short-barreled rifles) provided all the required paperwork is secured. Washington also has a model preemption law, and shall-issue concealed carry dates back more than 30 years.

Open carry is also legal in all three Pacific Northwest states, as it is in Arizona. Remarkably, both Arizona and Washington share, word-for-word, the same state constitutional right to bear arms provisions. Washington’s was adopted in 1889 and Arizona’s came along in 1912.

The worst states? G&A says the worst place for gun owners isn’t even a state; it’s the District of Columbia, followed by New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, California and Connecticut. By the G&A standards, all of those jurisdictions are political gulags for gun rights.

Meanwhile, for those heading out for the weekend, Monday evening will find the Sportsman Channel broadcasting “Assaulted: Civil Rights Under Fire.” This 79-minute documentary is narrated by Ice-T, and it presents a perspective on the Second Amendment and its significance to American life in a way that is educational and even surprising to some.

The program is being promoted on the Second Amendment Foundation and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Facebook pages. It airs at 7 p.m. Eastern/4 p.m. Pacific and is definitely worth the time.