Washington state used to be pretty good on guns. They’re a shall-issue state, after all, with a large rural population that enjoys shooting for sport, recreation, and self-defense.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone for the state. Instead, the urban areas like Seattle and Olympia have drowned out the rest of the state and are pushing harder and harder to make Washington into a replica of California.
Now, lawmakers are looking at a couple of additional restrictions.
After a summer of armed, mostly white “patrols” at racial justice protests and the winter insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Washington state lawmakers are ready to ban guns at demonstrations and the statehouse.
Over opposition from Republicans and gun-rights activists, both houses of the Legislature have passed a ban on weapons within 250 feet of protests or on the Capitol campus in Olympia. Backers say empowering police to remove or arrest armed onlookers addresses widespread complaints from demonstrators and reduces a bona fide safety risk.
The legislation is expected to go to Gov. Jay Inslee in the days ahead. For Lyn Idahosa-Berry, that’s none too soon.
A co-founder of the Federal Way Black Collective, Idahosa-Berry worked with police last summer to organize a teachers march in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. On the day of the march, Idahosa-Berry was walking the route to make sure it was in order when she said she spotted an armed group on top of a gun shop.
Idahosa-Berry said she spoke with a police lieutenant, who contacted the armed group but told her there was nothing he could do. Although armed with assault rifles and perched atop a building that dozens of marchers would soon pass, they weren’t breaking any law.
“We’re talking about weapons that are traditionally seen as weapons of war,” Idahosa-Berry told a legislative committee hearing on March 16. “We were put in danger for the purpose of ‘protecting property.’ ”
First, they’re only seen as “weapons of war” because the media’s been calling them that for years now, despite the fact that they’re no such thing.
Second, it’s important to understand why those people were up there.
Yeah, yeah, I get that Idahosa-Berry believed her march would be peaceful, but how many “peaceful protests” turned into out-and-out riots? Does anyone actually have a count?
Without knowing anything else about those guys, I can tell you that they were up there to try and keep that from happening this time.
Don’t like it? Don’t change the laws. Keep your movement in check, instead. Do that and there won’t be armed men standing on rooftops.
It should be noted, though, that those terrifying men didn’t do anything. They were just scary so, of course, they have to go. However, there comes a point where a law like this won’t work in your favor. It’ll be used against the very people you think it will protect, and when that happens, you’re not worthy of any sympathy after having advocated for it.
Armed citizens aren’t a threat to the public good, so stop treating them like they are.