Almost immediately after news broke yesterday that gun rights and firearms industry groups had filed a lawsuit against Seattle’s gun and ammunition tax, the gun prohibition lobbying group, Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), was lamenting that these groups were engaging in “obstructionist tactics.”
What is “obstructionist” about expecting the City of Seattle to comply with the state’s 32-year-old preemption statute? That might be a question for City Councilman Bruce Harrell to answer, since he’s the fellow whose campaign statement in the Seattle Times the other day included this: “Seattle must be free to impose reasonable gun safety laws. Therefore I will lead efforts to advocate for Seattle to be out from under the state pre-emption of gun laws as mandated by RCW 9.41.290.”
Harrell should be commended for honesty. The veteran councilman is at least up front that the city wants to be free of a law that was written to create uniformity in gun regulation from Neah Bay to Newport.
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Yesterday’s lawsuit – filed by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and National Shooting Sports Foundation, two Seattle firearms retailers and two private citizens – is only aimed at preventing Seattle’s defiance of state law. One can safely wager that the same people who wish to defy the preemption statute are those who would love to see strict enforcement of Initiative 594, the 18-page gun control and registration scheme passed last fall under the guise of a so-called “universal background check.”
Lest anyone delude themselves into thinking that the folks supporting this measure don’t want to take anyone’s guns, check the rants from one Times reader calling himself/herself “Repat” in response to a weekend editorial calling for solutions to so-called “gun violence.” At least twice, this gun control advocate called for bans on all guns, with the possible exception of hunting rifles and shotguns.
Anyone arguing that the self-appointed “gun safety” advocates shouldn’t be judged by the rants of one Seattle Times reader should explain why they judge all gun owners by the actions of nuts like Naveed Haq, James Holmes and Aaron Alexis. Further, why should all gun owners be treated essentially as though they were criminals?
Yesterday’s lawsuit hardly came without warning. All three plaintiff organizations had promised there would be legal action if the gun and ammunition tax were adopted. NSSF even had a representative offer testimony at one council hearing. SAF’s Alan Gottlieb had been telling reporters over the past few weeks there would be a lawsuit. When you get NRA, SAF and NSSF standing shoulder-to-shoulder on an issue, they are not running a bluff.
While the city has argued this is just a tax, Councilman Harrell’s comment adds much-needed perspective. It’s really one more attempt by Seattle’s far left establishment to see if it can erode state preemption. It is also an attempt to penalize law-abiding gun owners for crimes they didn’t commit.
Seattle-based anti-gunners are offended and perhaps perplexed that Second Amendment groups, and retailers who stand to lose considerable business, would fight back against what they insist is an illegal gun law. What are they supposed to do, run and hide?
The Seattle Times editorial made several proposals to reduce “gun violence” as though it were the only kind of violence the city sees. Tell that to the woman who was beaten to death last night under the Magnolia Bridge.
The newspaper’s editorial board should first acknowledge that there are self-appointed “gun safety advocates” (who are really gun control extremists) and gun safety experts, the latter being the NRA and its thousands of certified firearms instructors, the NSSF with its gun lock and safety programs including Project ChildSafe, and SAF, which has supported education programs for many years.
Gun prohibitionists might suffer cardiac failures or faint dead away if the Seattle School Board suddenly decided to incorporate firearms safety education as part of the K-12 curriculum. Yet hunter education courses – developed with the cooperation of the NRA in 1949 in New York State – have helped reduce firearms mishaps afield, and training programs for adults have been producing safe shooters for generations.
A discriminatory tax on firearms and ammunition that allegedly violates the state preemption statute is not going to result in reduced crime, suicides or accidental death, gun tax critics argue. Yet the gun prohibition lobby is committed to turning a civil right into a government-regulated privilege, and hoping Seattle’s effort will become the groundwork for essentially a city-state on the shores of Puget Sound.
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