Washington State’s gun prohibitionists got a big money campaign kick-off yesterday in an effort that will focus on the wrong people and the wrong problem; a perspective one gains by reading today’s on-line editions of the Seattle Times and Seattle PI.com.
The problem plaguing Washington – and specifically Seattle – is the same dilemma communities across the nation face, as gang violence is responsible for many gun-related homicides while social do-gooders push an agenda that offers a false solution, disguised as something it is not. Readers at the Times seem to understand the difference, and the P-I following is mixed.
As this column noted earlier in the month, gun prohibitionists are at best misdirected, because gun-related murders are down while gun ownership in the U.S. is way up.
“The once-lonely cause of gun safety legislation went viral in Seattle on Thursday,” writes liberal columnist and P-I icon Joel Connelly, “as more than 1,200 people packed a ballroom and pledged more than $750,000 in launching a statewide initiative campaign to close the ‘gun show loophole’ and require criminal background checks for all those purchasing firearms.”
Connelly begins with a false portrayal, the gun rights community would say. What this effort is pushing is not “gun safety legislation” but gun control. He continues by referring to 1997’s Initiative 676 as a “gun safety initiative,” which is like meth addiction masquerading as a glass of dinner wine.
The 1,200 people who raised a reported $750,000 Thursday to launch their initiative effort to purchase a state law seem blinded to the real problem, spelled out very well by the Seattle Times, and even by Seattle Deputy Police Chief Nick Metz at the fund raiser: Shooters tend to be people who, because of criminal background or instability or youth, should not be carrying firearms, according to Connelly’s treatise. Metz is correct, gun owners would agree, because convicted felons, crazy people and juvenile thugs shouldn’t carry guns, but they do, anyway, despite what any law says, and everybody knows it.
“The shooting underscores rising tensions between the Central District gangs, said Gabe Morales, a local gang-prevention specialist,” the Seattle Times reported Friday, about a recent non-fatal Central Area incident. “He attributed much of the tension to the recent increase in Valley Hood Pirus members released from prison.”
While the Rev. Michael Ryan, pastor of St. James Cathedral; Rabbi Daniel Weiner of Temple de Hirsch Sinai, and the Rev. Carl Livingston, Jr. all participated in yesterday’s fund raising event, it might be educational to learn from them what gun shows and background checks have to do with gangsters fresh out of prison shooting one another. Felons can’t pass background checks so they don’t even bother, and they also don’t obtain their guns from gun shows, as the Bureau of Justice Statistics study, released earlier this month, once again reveals. On page 13 of that report, Table 14, it clearly shows that less than one percent (0.8%) of criminals arrested with a gun obtained that firearm from a gun show.
Table 13 of that report also shows “military-style semiautomatic or fully automatic firearms were used by a tiny percentage of armed state (2.0%) and federal (3.2%) prison inmates, citing data from 2004.
Yesterday’s fund raiser and today’s news stories should send a signal to Evergreen State gun rights activists that they need to raise money and prepare a public education effort. Law-abiding citizens are not the problem, and penalizing them is not a solution to a concern everyone shares about violent crime.
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