AP Photo/Paul Sancya
With the 2020 legislative session set to begin in just a few weeks, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Thursday a push for lawmakers to pass a sweeping ban on semi-automatic firearms and magazines over ten rounds.
“It took just 32 seconds for an individual armed with a 100-round double-drum magazine and an AR-15 style weapon to shoot 36 people before he was killed by law enforcement,” Ferguson said, referring to an August assassination at a Dayton, Ohio club.
“That same rifle and magazine are perfectly legal to purchase in Washington State. That makes no sense.”
Added Inslee: “By limiting magazine capacity and banning assault weapons, we can work toward a day where no one in Washington state loses a friend or family members to senseless gun violence.”
I don’t even know why the pair are bothering to try to make a public safety argument. It would be much more honest of the pair to simply say “We don’t like these guns, we don’t like the fact that people own them, and we want to stop it.” After all, there’s virtually no evidence that these bans reduce homicide rates, and why would they? These types of firearms are rarely used in crimes.
As for the proposed magazine ban, it would bar the vast majority of ammunition magazines from being sold in the state and would cripple the ability of legal gun owners to purchase magazines in common use for a variety of lawful purposes. Or, to put it another way, it wouldn’t just regulate the right to keep and bear arms, but infringe on it.
As KOMO-TV reports, gun owners and Second Amendment supporters are already pushing back.
“We need to address the mental health issues that people claim are the cause of all of these mass shootings,” said gun shop owner Dan Davies. “Obviously the people are the cause, not the objects.”
Gun owner Bruce Rogers worries about the hundreds of thousands law abiding citizens who have these weapons and magazines. “You’re turning them into criminals,” he said. That’s your neighbor, that’s your brother, sister. That’s a lot of people to criminalize.”
The attorney general says those concerns are silly, because residents would be “allowed” to keep the guns and magazines they currently own. Of course, if anybody really believes that the anti-gun politicians in Washington State will stop with just banning future sales of the guns and magazines they want to ban, I have a Space Needle in Seattle I’d like to sell them.
Go back and read what Governor Inslee said when he announced this ban. He talked about “working towards a day” when the state would be magically free of violent crime involving a firearm. Clearly he’s not going to be satisfied with just banning the sale and transfer of so-called “assault weapons” in the future. Sooner or later (and likely sooner) lawmakers will introduce legislation to close the “loophole” that allowed existing owners to keep their guns and magazines.
Washington State has passed a number of gun control laws in recent years, including the massive I-1639 ballot initiative that’s being challenged in court. Despite all those changes made in the name of public safety, violent crime in the state’s biggest city is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to violent crime.
Seattle Police Captain Kevin Grossman posted on NextDoor that reports of shots fired in the city’s south precinct are up 65 percent over last year at this time.
“I am extremely concerned about the rate of gun violence in South Seattle–and in the City of Seattle as a whole,” Capt. Grossman said in his post. “In the last month, we have had more than one reported shooting a day somewhere in the city; two of those incidents resulted in death.”
As long as Washington State lawmakers are operating under the theory that they can ban their way to safety, criminals are going to have a field day in the state. Unfortunately it will be the legal gun owners and those who want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms who really pay the price.