The first of what will likely be a chain of editorials supporting the gun control initiative filed by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility appeared today in the Vancouver Columbian.
Almost predictably, the newspaper lauds “wise Washingtonians” for taking action “when both the Legislature and Congress failed to act.” The Columbian also pats itself on the back for being “part of that burgeoning wave of public support” for a measure that Bellevue-based gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb yesterday said is “overly restrictive by a long shot.” There is much to digest in the 15-page document.
Activists on the Northwest Firearms forum are already discussing strategies to counter the big money initiative, which is being largely bankrolled by a relative handful of Seattle liberals. The nation will be watching this drama unfold.
UPDATE: Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval vetoed “universal background check” legislation in the Silver State today, saying it puts “unreasonable” burdens on honest citizens, according to KVVU, the Las Vegas Fox affiliate.
Credit must go to the Columbian for acknowledging that “we do not believe taking this step will eradicate the gun violence epidemic that has invaded even the most pastoral corners of our nation.” However, the newspaper argues that this measure “would be part of the overall solution.”
But the newspaper loses credibility when it suggests, “People who should not be allowed to buy guns — criminals and the mentally ill — would find it more difficult to do so.” One look at places like Chicago, Washington, D.C., New York City or Newark, N.J. should be adequate to dispel any notions that restrictive gun laws keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and crazy people.
The incident that touched off this national debate – the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December – is a textbook rebuttal to the newspaper’s argument. Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, but that didn’t stop Adam Lanza because he murdered his mother, to whom the guns belonged, and carried out his mayhem without having submitted to a background check. The Columbian editorial board has forgotten or simply prefers to overlook the fact that Clackamas Town Center gunman Jacob Roberts stole the rifle he used in December.
With what may be a bottomless bankroll to buy signatures on the WAGR initiative, it will no doubt be validated and submitted to the Legislature in January. Gottlieb and others believe an alternative measure can be crafted and pushed with grassroots support, because at this point, any notion of sitting back and waiting for lawmakers to do nothing is no longer an option.