The Seattle Times reported this morning that Mayor Mike McGinn took his staff’s advice and decided against exploiting today’s one-year anniversary of the Café Racer shooting to announce the city’s second gun buyback.
The first gun buyback, discussed by this column here and here, was something of a political disaster for McGinn, raising questions why it would require staff influence to keep him from doing something that would be considered foolish. First, the way it was conducted in a parking lot underneath I-5 was steeped in irony because that’s how gun prohibitionists often portray illegal gun transactions, without background checks, and there were none at that event. Guns were accepted, no questions asked, and some of them turned out to be stolen.
The event also attracted some enterprising gun rights activists who offered cold cash rather than gift certificates, and they rescued some very collectible firearms from the melting furnaces.
And on the subject of meltdowns, that is another egg on McGinn’s face, because when he announced that the melted guns would be used to produce plaques for local parks with sayings from Seattle school children, he knew the guns had already been melted down and used for rebar. Times readers are having some fun with that one.
Now, according to the Times, “the mayor’s staff ultimately concluded it would not be appropriate” for McGinn to use today’s solemn anniversary of the Café Racer slayings to grandstand his second planned buyback. The café is closed today.
One year ago, gunman Ian Stawicki, who had a history of mental problems, opened fire inside the popular University District café, killing Kimberly Layfield, Joe Albanese, Donald Largen and Drew Keriakedes, and wounded baker Len Meuse. From there, Stawicki made his way downtown, where he fatally shot Gloria Koch Leonidas and stole her SUV from a parking lot near Town Hall. Later that day, as police moved in, Stawicki committed suicide on a West Seattle street.
Evergreen State anti-gunners pounced on the tragedy to push their tired agenda that includes a crackdown on gun shows – Stawicki did not get his guns from a gun show – and background checks (Stawicki passed checks when he bought the guns at retail). That agenda also includes bans on so-called “assault rifles” and standard capacity magazines, but Stawicki used neither in his rampage. Gun prohibitionists ignored the gaping holes in the state’s mental health system that allowed Stawicki to roam free.
McGinn has put a lot of his energy into losing anti-gun efforts. His pursuit of appeals in the attempt to circumvent state preemption law by banning guns in city parks via administrative regulation rather than by ordinance was rejected by the courts. That lawsuit, filed by Bellevue’s Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association, strengthened the state’s preemption law. This year, the city wanted the state legislature to adopt a semi-auto ban, and expand background checks, but lawmakers in Olympia refused.
Now being challenged by several would-be replacements, McGinn has to temper his efforts so as not to look any more foolish than he did after the first buyback and meltdown.