Democrat WA Gov. Inslee Signs Bill Banning Open Carry at Rallies

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, shown here in a screen clip during an interview in Iowa, has signed a bill banning open carry of firearms at rallies in public places, including the state Capitol Campus. (Screen capture, YouTube, Iowa Press)

U.S.A.-( Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, a perennial gun-control proponent since his days in Congress, signed legislation Wednesday to ban the open carry of firearms at political rallies anywhere in the state, especially at the Capitol in Olympia.

Gun prohibitionists are claiming a victory for public safety, while critics contend it is unconstitutional under both the state and federal constitutions. The legislation, SB 5038, may be read here.

The Second Amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Article 1, Section 24 of Washington State’s constitution reads, “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 authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain or employ an armed body of men.”

Inslee and Sen. Patty Kuderer of Bellevue—the bill’s sponsor—are both Democrats. Kuderer told reporters Wednesday, “This is not a restriction on your right to own a weapon. This is a restriction on where you can carry your weapon.”

But Grays Harbor Republican Rep. Jim Walsh has a markedly different perspective.

“I refused to vote for it on the floor of the House, because I thought it was so plainly unconstitutional,” Walsh said. “This is very troubling.”

Some rights activists contend this is actually a First Amendment issue, an argument that might play in any legal challenge, should one be filed.

Several of Walsh’s constituents, and other rights activists around the state weighing in on Walsh’s Facebook page, concur. According to KING5 News, the NBC affiliate in Seattle, some Evergreen State gun rights advocates are apparently planning to challenge the law, which took effect immediately, in court.

Inslee fell back on standard rhetoric from the gun control lobby, stating, “This is a commonsense approach that extends our existing prohibition on open carry firearms in limited situations, to insure an individual can’t use a weapon to intimidate other citizens.”

His remark was mirrored by Renee Hopkins, head of the billionaire-funded Alliance for Gun Responsibility, based in Seattle.

“The passage of this and the signing of this by the Governor today is an historic moment in Washington state,” she said. “It feels really great knowing that as we head back to Olympia in person hopefully next year that hundreds of people that we work with, many of whom are survivors of gun violence themselves, that they won’t have to face the kind of intimidation that we’ve faced over the last number of years by armed people at the capitol.”

Inslee’s action has garnered national attention. The Hill—the Washington, D.C. publication covering Congress and federal government affairs—noted the new law prohibits the open carrying of firearms “at public protests as well as within 250 feet of such a demonstration.”

However, the legislation does not prevent licensed concealed carry at rallies or inside the Capitol building or state legislative office buildings.

The Hill also quoted a representative from the National Rifle Association, promising the organization “will continue fighting this injustice on all available fronts.”

“The right of self-protection should never be denied whether at home, on the road, or in the public square,” the NRA representative said.

That’s no small concern, considering the presence in Washington State of an increasingly militant Antifa presence. When protesters last summer took over a six-block section of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, several so-called “security” volunteers were given firearms out of the back of a parked car, in violation of existing state law mandating background checks, nobody from the gun prohibition lobby uttered a peep. The incident was captured on video and can be found on YouTube.

Two people were murdered in the so-called “CHOP Zone” during the month the area was occupied, but nobody has been murdered during any gun rights rally anywhere in the state in recent memory, despite the open carry of firearms.

On Dec. 12, 2020, there was a shooting during a clash between pro and anti-Trump demonstrators, but that was near the visitor center, according to the Seattle Times. That building is more than a block away from the Capitol building, though technically part of the “capitol campus,” and this was not a gun-rights rally.

The ban, according to KOMO, the Seattle-based ABC affiliate, was sparked by “the events of Jan. 6, both at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and the protests the same day at the state capitol in Olympia where several demonstrators were openly carrying their firearms which was legal at the time.”

Many of those Olympia protesters stormed the grounds of the Governor’s Mansion to the south of the Capitol building. This also was not a gun-rights rally.

Hopkins, with the gun prohibition lobbying group, signaled to KOMO there may be more to come. Rights are incrementally eroded, Second Amendment activists have frequently observed.

“This is a step in the right direction for us for continuing to reduce the amount of intimidation that is present when people are trying to take part in the democratic process,” Hopkins said, again echoing a common phrase often used by gun prohibitionists explaining a gun control measure as “a good first step.”

Kuderer, meanwhile, used the same justification in remarks quoted by KING.

“We have hearings with hundreds of people showing up and they have AR-15s strapped over their shoulders,” Kuderer reportedly stated, “They’re not there to protect themselves from some threat, they become a threat.”

Democrats have been in control in Olympia for the past few legislative sessions, and the governor’s office hasn’t seen a Republican in more than three decades. Inslee was re-elected to a third term in 2020.

About Dave Workman

Dave Workman is a senior editor at and Liberty Park Press, author of multiple books on the Right to Keep & Bear Arms, and formerly an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

Dave Workman

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As I understand it, this new law applies only to approved and permitted events. How many of the Antifa protests sought a permit or approval before trashing parts of Seattle? And is there any requirement for publishing of approved rallies or protests? It seems to me if the city bureaucracy fails to publish that information, someone could inadvertently wander within 250 feet, unaware of a smaller event.

It’s yet another law that will mostly impact the law-abiding who seek to follow the rules and have no effect on those who make public mischief.

Dr. Strangelove

You can bet that pantyfa will be excluded from the law.


Conveniently ignored, yes.


I don’t have a law degree but I can read English pretty well and the words “Bear” and “Carry” are pretty plain. I wish the nonsense would stop but it will not.


they didn’t care a wit when firearms were dispensed like a pez dispenser at the chop/chaz/antifa riot last year.
if these legislators are so concerned about firearms at the capital why are they not banning concealed firearms?
also, if they are so intimidated by an inanimate object they should seek professional mental health services.
if these leftists get what they want, they won’t want it anymore.


‘Jay Inslee’ and ‘common sense’ are not something I would expect in one sentence.


we free thinking Americans living in wa. refer to him as adolf inslee and his gf in oregon is eva brown. not everyone in wa is a dumbass. lol


How true that not everyone is a dumb ass in Wa or Orgone but I will admit, I have relatives in both places that live in the country and it seems that dumb asses seem to congregate together in areas where there are a lot of other dumb asses and they call them cities. You know the place where they tear down statues of American presidents but honor Stalin and let his statue stand!!!! Have lots of homeless people, needles, trash, people waste and trouble abounds to the point no decent person would want to be there!!!! Ya, cities, the… Read more »


WA has been degraded by left-wing politics. I left WA 14 years ago moving to Idaho. I took my Washington LEOFF 1 pension with me. Thank you WA state for allowing me to live a good life in Idaho. The first thing I did in Idaho was get 3 NFA guns. Inslee is a disgrace to the state. But Seattle rules the state, and its a lost cause.


or with any demonRAT.


When you ban exactly what the 2A is for, how do you use the “I’m pro-2A, but…”, “reasonable restrictions”, or “not unlimited” arguments?

You know what is limited? Government. THAT is actually written down, not just some talking point.

Just be honest and tell the public you don’t care what the Constitution says.


This law (of course) assumes that the person knows that there is an “authorized” exercise of First Amendment rights going on within 250 feet. **CHOP/CHAZ, attempted arson of an occupied building and other similar protests don’t count, of course.

Dr. Strangelove

BTW, CHAZ has now changed their name again, now they’re calling themselves the Capitol Hill Unemployed Marxist Protest Society.


GEE! So ONE man has the power to TELL ALL Legal Law Abiding American Citizens what IS and IS-NOT allowed? WHERE are the LEGISTATORS who JOB is to make laws? NO RUBBER STAMPS ALLOWED!!!
This STINKS to the lowest pits of hades of the FRAUDULENT ELECTIONS where the LAWS WERE BROKEN by a few USEFUL IDIOTS. It is a SHAME that these LAW BREAKING CRIMINALS have not been PUNISHED in a court of law!!!


Dave, Great work on this. This generation of the Progressive New Left believes they are the people we have been waiting for. That being said they believe they are above law and principle. They believe they are the law. That is the danger to our Republic.

Green Mtn. Boy

The petty tyrants are fearful.


If you obey their laws, you will die because of your own stupidity.


This new law also appears to contain some contradictions and unclear details. It has some exemptions like allowing permitted concealed carry but also states that controlled weapons on private property owned or leased by the weapon holder are exempt. The new law says a weapon carried in a vehicle is prohibited within 250 feet of a permitted gathering. What if the vehicle is private property owned or leased by the weapon holder? So, the prohibition within vehicles – does it include concealed carry, or is it just referring to open carry within a vehicle? Seems this law is written a… Read more »


This is by design. They make the laws so numerous and so vague that anyone can be deemed a criminal. It’s straight out of Lavrentiy Beria’s playbook.


We are a nation that needs to individually and collectively read the Declaration of Independence daily.

I’m so tired of watching traitors commit treason while “good” people sit on their thumbs and argue over the results of pointless elections. All the while, the rule of law is dismantled a bit more every day, and if I bring up the AR (not
Armalite) words, people get quiet or turn up their noses in disgust.

Every headline you see where your rights are dismantled in public view is another act of treason you watched happen and did nothing. Think about that.


Elections did not used to be pointless as you so quaintly put it:case in point look at who’s at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue right now and what he’s done via executive Fiat!

Wake up will you?

Cheers from the oil patch in Central Wyoming


Call them out for4 what they are!

Anti-Constitutionalist’s=Anti-Americans=Enemies of the United States…


As long as we allow these communist to hold power there will be no rest for us, the patriots.
There is only one way to be rid of the Commie Rat Bastards, and that is to go old testament on their butts.


Dave, Cannot an individual bring a civil suit in lieu of a criminal suit against those who dispensed the weapons illegally in the Marxist six block enclave? I thought there was some semblance of Old English law that would allow individuals to bring devastating financial lawsuits against those transgressing laws which endanger others still ensconced in American law. I would also suggest that 2A advocates in Seattle such as yourself or others get involved in some sort of public panel with the three Network affiliate stations and embarrass the living hell out of them using that clip, it would be… Read more »


‘Major leavers’? Are you referring to military personnel leaving the state?


Thank you for pointing out my major voice to text misspelling on one word out of the entire comment, which proves only one thing:

You have neither the stones nor the intelligence to actually address the specifics that I provided in the comment.

Thank you for illustrating once again just how idiotic are your thought processes!

Cheers from the oil patch in Central Wyoming


You are welcome. Next time try not to appear as a complete putz by including spelling errors that a fifth grader would catch.


Right back at you, dolt.


The “Governor” in the photo looks like he’s trying to stifle a fart. He also appears to be about halfway towards a sex change and a candidate for Biden’s Cabinet (or more appropriately termed “closet”). The inmates are running the assylum.


Inslee is a tyrant. Democrats are tyrants. They are so afraid of guns that they disarmed the state militia.


Considering most people who attend these “rallies” (code for unhinged looting protests) are godless progressive agents of chaos, this is more good news than bad. But these communists never paid any mind to the law anyways, so this story is just another nothing burger with cheese.


I’m aware and I get it. But I was in Seattle during those heavy battles. There weren’t any law-abiding Americans in those crowds, only communists. Most of the Americans were smart enough to stay away as the liberal politicians sat back and watched with glee. Now, those same politicians are scared and reacting predictably.


I was going to post in different words just what you said and in addition point out all the pro 2nd amendment rallies where there have been a lot of AR15’s and no 2nd amendment supporter has shot anyone including their so called insurrection on Jan. 6th. However the exception is law enforcement shooting an un armed women. I guess he felt intimidated. This law is meant to intimidate 2nd amendment supporters and leave them unarmed while you have antifa down the street carrying bricks, chains with bike locks, frozen water bottles, knives, bats, illegal fire works, chemicals, bicycles and… Read more »


@JN: You have received a THUMBS DOWN from me for NOT IDENTIFYING “most people” and “these rallies”.