As new background check numbers for February became available, suggesting a continuing national surge in gun sales, the newly-created Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR) – a Seattle-based gun control group – launched its Facebook page and gun rights activists quickly jammed its message board.
Evergreen State gun rights activists literally descend on the page, resulting in at least a couple of them being banned and their comments removed, according to the WaGuns forum.
The launch came on the same day that CNS News and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) both reported that the surge in background checks, conducted in conjunction with retail firearms sales, continued last month.
According to CNS News, December set a record with 2,783,765 background checks. January came in second with 2,495,440 checks and February saw 2,309,393 background checks. The NSSF reported Monday in its weekly Bullet Points that the “NSSF-adjusted” background check figure for February was 1,634,309, an increase of 29.1 percent over the February 2012 checks. Yet NSSF noted that the “unadjusted” February number was 2,298,561, a discrepancy of 832 checks between its numbers and the National Instant Check System (NICS). A chart showing the NICS numbers may be seen here.
The figure for November 2012 was 2,006,919 NICS checks. Since the NICS system went on line in late 1998, only four months have seen more than 2 million checks, and they all happened after Barack Obama was re-elected last fall. CNS News noted that the ten top days and weeks for background checks have all occurred during Obama’s presidency.
Like gun shops everywhere, firearms retailers in Bellevue, Tacoma, Puyallup and Spokane have all confirmed to Examiner that business has been brisk for several weeks since new gun control efforts were launched following the Sandy Hook tragedy.
While the NICS figures do not represent the total number of firearms transactions, the data does suggest that groups like WAGR face an uphill battle in their attempt to push their so-called “common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence and promote gun responsibility.”
Reaction in the firearms community to the WAGR Facebook bans was mixed, but there was some feeling that WAGR is not only intent on eroding the Second Amendment rights of Washington gun owners, but isn’t too interested in their First Amendment rights, either.
However, the Facebook page still contains much banter from gun owners, and the group posted this message in reaction to some of the comments: “Thank you all for dropping by. We know this is a passionate issue for all sides, but we are working hard to create a space for constructive dialogue to pursue what we all hope for: a reduction in gun violence. If you don't share our mission or aren't interested in constructive dialogue, there are lots of other online forums for you. If you want to have a constructive conversation about how to solve these problems while respecting the Second Amendment, stick around.”
After being challenged by one poster, David Sharpe, about some messages that had been removed, this WAGR response appeared: “This is a page for those who share our mission to stand up for common-sense solutions to reduce gun violence and promote gun responsibility. We have had a few commenters drop by who didn't share our mission.”
As this column reported, WAGR was organized by several Seattle liberals and appears intent on pushing its gun control agenda to all corners of the state. They are reportedly getting big money backing from a local venture capitalist, and there have been hints of an initiative campaign on the horizon if the legislature fails to pass a proposed background check expansion.
One of those who were banned told this column via e-mail that, “We pointed out that there was little information on their web page indicating any kind of training programs, which would make responsible gun owners, similar to the training and educational programs. We asked about which laws would be effective in reducing incidence of crime, among other things. Our comments were deleted and we all have been blocked. They responded that ‘some people did not share their mission’ yet, none of us are advocating for more gun violence, to use that term, we just have different ideas about how to do it.”
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