Newly-obtained e-mails between the head of Washington Ceasefire and a member of anti-gun Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s staff reveal the organization’s agenda and its efforts to get the embattled mayor’s cooperation, according to a report in The Gun Mag.com today.
McGinn is also under fire from the Seattle Weekly, a popular liberal community newspaper that reported yesterday about how McGinn loyalists are “jumping ship” and backing his challenger, popular Democrat State Sen. Ed Murray. Murray got more votes in the primary than McGinn. The general election next month will determine whether McGinn keeps his job or Murray takes over.
The e-mails are among documents obtained by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms in a Public Records Act request. The Bellevue-based organization is looking at McGinn’s activities connected with a controversial gun buyback in January. Of particular interest are the exchanges between Ceasefire Board President Ralph Fascitelli and Beth Hester, McGinn’s director of Public Affairs. They reveal that Washington anti-gunners want to overturn the state’s model preemption law and make it more difficult to obtain a concealed pistol license, among other things. One e-mail shows that Fascitelli cautioned Hester about buybacks, and to avoid doing one.
Fascitelli outlined his wish list in a June 2, 2012 e-mail:
- Overturn state law of preemption..won’t be easy but who can argue that cities shouldn’t have this power
- Much harsher penalties on underage possession of guns, (sic) Currently you need to be 21 to own a handgun but it takes four possessions before the penalty matters. Conversely an 18-year-old driver with a whiff of alcohol loses her gun privileges first time around
- Make it much more difficult to get a concealed weapons permit..needs more research but is doable and pertinent
He also encouraged McGinn to cooperate with a “gun free zone” campaign that was not launched until this past summer.
“He can lead a Gun Free Zone campaign among private establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, retail stores, etc.” Fascitelli wrote. “These places have the ability and discretion to prevent guns in their store just as they can prevent dogs and people without shoes and shirts.”
“The Second thing he can do,” Fascitelli added, “is a public health campaign asking people to think twice before they have a gun in the home.”
Ceasefire had sponsored a controversial bus billboard advertising effort earlier in the year, but it was met with skepticism that anything would actually be accomplished.
“And lastly from a marketing standpoint,” Fascitelli wrote, “we need a nice name to wrap this under. .. Perhaps the Safer Seattle Campaign.”
The second item on Fascitelli’s list dealing with teens illegally carrying handguns actually became a bipartisan project launched by King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg with support from CCRKBA. It was attractive to gun owners because it targeted gang bangers and other teen criminals while leaving law-abiding gun owners alone.
Four days later, on June 6, 2012, Fascitelli reiterated that erasing the current “shall issue” requirement in state law and ending reciprocity with other states was one of his “short term legislative priorities” for the 2013 session.
There were other revelations in the June 6 e-mail.
First, Fascitelli noted that ending the state preemption law was a “boggrt (bigger) fight” that would be waged via the state’s initiative process. Currently, a group of well-financed Seattle anti-gunners is pushing Initiative 594, a 15-page gun control measure promoted as a universal background check effort. It is sponsored by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR).
An alternative measure, Initiative 591, would prohibit government gun confiscation without due process, and requires that background checks comply with a uniform national standard. I-591 is supported by CCRKBA, plus the Washington Arms Collectors, Hunters Heritage Council and Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association.
Targeting preemption, which has been law in the Evergreen State for more than 30 years, has been a key component of the gun prohibition effort. Former Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, a founding member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, also wanted to erode the preemption law. It was his attempt to ban guns in city park facilities that led to a landmark lawsuit against the city by CCRKBA, the National Rifle Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Washington Arms Collectors and five private citizens.
When McGinn replaced Nickels in 2009, he continued fighting the lawsuit. The plaintiffs prevailed, striking down the gun ban at both the trial court and appeals court levels, the latter with a unanimous ruling upholding the preemption law. The state Supreme Court declined to review the case.
Washington’s preemption statute dates back 30 years, and the state has had concealed carry since 1935. But Washington Ceasefire wants to allow cities the authority to set their own gun laws, precisely the reason that preemption was adopted in 1983 and reinforced in 1985. Ceasefire also would like police to have the ability to deny someone a CPL, the documents indicate.
This agenda dates back months before the Sandy Hook tragedy, and the fact that these changes in law were pushed heavily after that school shooting suggests that the gun ban lobby was exploiting the incident, rather than responding to it.
It was in the June 6 e-mail that Fascitelli cautioned Hester that “we would advise the Mayor NOT to do…a gun buy back (sic) program..they haven’t been proven to work and can have embarrassing results.”
Yet, that’s exactly what McGinn did in response to Sandy Hook, and Fascitelli’s advice proved to be correct. The buyback was something of a fiasco because several gun rights advocates showed up and offered cash, rather than gift cards, for turned-in guns. This infuriated McGinn.
Hester responded to Fascitelli’s June 6 e-mail, noting that, “We were intrigued and interested by a few of the Ceasefire solutions you shared.”