Tuesday’s rare fatal shooting incident in Puyallup involving a suspect with what was described by KOMO yesterday as “a lengthy and violent criminal history” included a small but significant fact that the gun prohibition lobby continually ignores when it pushes so-called “universal background checks.”
As reported yesterday by the Tacoma News Tribune, “Police said (the suspect) used at least two handguns, one that was stolen in Lakewood and carried in a holster.” That suspect, Nathan Ryan Terault, 34, was shot and wounded by a Puyallup police detective, according to KING 5 News, and subsequently run down by another officer in his patrol car.
According to published reports, Terault was under supervision by the state Department of Corrections when the rampage erupted. Killed in the incident, which covered several different crime scenes, was 71-year-old Richard Johnson. He apparently spotted someone digging around in his pickup truck, and that man – later identified as Terault – reportedly “shot and killed Johnson on the spot.”
Terault is prohibited from owning or possessing firearms due to his criminal background. That he was allegedly carrying a stolen handgun – for which there was obviously no background check – comes as no surprise to anyone in the firearms community. According to KOMO News, the local ABC affiliate, Terault had seven felony convictions between 1997 and 2004 that included illegal possession of firearms, drive-by shooting, assault, possession of stolen property and theft.
He also allegedly violated his current probation by using methamphetamine. The suspect also recently was fired from his job, KOMO reported.
Of course, this isn’t the only recent report involving someone with a firearm that clearly did not get it through a background check. Seattle police arrested a 24-year-old suspect and booked him into jail for having nearly 50 grams of pot in a backpack, and a revolver “wrapped in a napkin.” This guy was described as a felon in the Police Blotter report, and like the suspect in Puyallup, could not legally possess a firearm.
Back on July 31, FBI agents in Cleveland, Ohio arrested a former police officer for knowingly selling guns to convicted felons. According to WJW, the local Fox affiliate, the guns were apparently found during an August 2012 search by a local police department. Another gun, recovered during a traffic stop, also traced back to ex-cop Kevin Lumpkin, the story said. At the time he bought the guns, he was reportedly working at the North Randall police department.
Down in California, the Fresno Bee reported yesterday about the arrest of a man identified as Andrew Wilson, 23, a Bulldog gang member who is on felony probation. He allegedly brandished a firearm over the weekend, and when cops searched his home, they apparently found a .22-caliber revolver that the newspaper pictured in its story.
People who don’t get their guns through regular channels typically get ammunition the same way. That brings us around to the new gun and ammunition tax passed the other day by the Seattle City Council. This new tax is ostensibly going to finance gun research and prevention programs. It’s not going to prevent a single criminal from getting his hands on a gun or ammunition, and neither will any make-work program paid for by the tax revenues.
Proponents and critics of the new taxes can argue all day about whether the taxes are legal or a violation of state preemption, and they almost certainly will do that in court. What the public should be asking is whether the taxes will prevent a single criminal from getting a gun and committing a crime. If the taxes were adopted merely for the sake of passing trophy legislation and making a symbolic gesture, then what’s the point?
Some critics of the new tax are convinced it was nothing more than a grandstand play to make it appear as though the city council had just struck a blow against violent crime. Apparently anything that penalizes gun buyers – and you can bet the cost of these taxes will be immediately passed to consumers by the dealers – is a victory to anti-gunners who clearly don’t understand retail economics. Criminals, meanwhile, aren’t impressed.
Got an opinion about this column? Share your views in the “Comments” section below.