With the new legislative session underway in Olympia, now would be a good time to talk about exercising one of your constitutional rights. The right (and in my mind, the responsibility) to bear arms.

Fair warning has already been given by both Governor Jay Inslee, as well as State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, that your right to own a semi-automatic rifle is in the proverbial cross-hairs. The pair announced their intentions to push lawmakers to look seriously at banning the purchase of any semi-automatic rifle. Multiple lawmakers from across the state have also stated recently that they are in lock-step with that proposal.

There are several directions one can go in choosing the semi-automatic rifle that's best for their needs. First off, there's the purpose of the firearm. Home defense, hunting, sport shooting, training and other factors all come into play in this decision.

Combined into that first choice is caliber. Popular choices include .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, 7.62 x 39mm, 7.62 x 51mm and many, many others. There are a plethora of articles already written on the subject of caliber/purpose and I recommend a deep dive on the subject online.

Popular and dependable brands like Smith & Wesson, Ruger and many others offer an affordable option for a semi-auto rifle. Beyond that, there are more "Gucci" offerings from companies like Daniel Defense, FN, Battle Arms and others. Then there's the option to "build" your semi-auto rifle. Kits exist from dozens, upon dozens of retailers that allow you to assemble the firearm at home. Keep in mind that some restrictions exist on certain parts of a kit-build in Washington state.

There are several issues issue at hand when it comes to assembling a firearm from a kit, or by piecemeal. You'll need a good collection of the proper tools, a sturdy surface for construction (complete with vises and specialized tools and templates), and most importantly... time. If you never have time to spend as it is, a new hobby may be the wrong direction.

One must also take the time and money to get the necessary training in order to be safe, responsible and efficient in the utilization of your firearm. And that brings the final factor: the budget. It very easy to start with one budget in mind, only to see the dollar amount grow as you continue to explore options. The temptation can be mighty. Just keep in mind that you don't need the creme de la creme. Many modestly price options will suffice, no matter what "gun influencer's" may say.

Also remember that you'll need more than the firearm. Ammo (quite expensive these days), a proper cleaning kit, gun cleaner and lubricants, ammo and gun storage and other facets will all play into tearing your budget to shreds. No matter what you decide, research is key. Read every article you can, ask questions of friends and family who are experienced in the matter and don't be afraid to look like a noob. We all are at one point, no matter the subject. Happy hunting!

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