Friday evening’s coverage by KING5 News of the Washington Legislature’s passage of a domestic violence update bill, and the earlier national “celebration” over what essentially was a decision by Facebook to require users to follow federal law, demonstrate the desperation of gun control proponents looking for anything they can call a “victory.”
The telltale evidence about Washington’s law update is that the National Rifle Association didn’t oppose the measure and that’s because they negotiated adjustments that require a higher degree of scrutiny before someone slapped with a restraining order can be forced to surrender their firearms.
Then there was Friday’s report at MyNorthwest.com that seems to suggest the slaying of Rebecca Griego at the University of Washington seven years ago was a crime that might have been prevented by the updated law, which is probably wishful thinking at best.
Griego was gunned down by her former boyfriend, against whom she had a restraining order. The cops couldn’t find him to serve it, and besides, he was in the country illegally and the gun he used had been stolen, precluding a background check. The owner didn’t know he had it, and neither did police. Here’s how KIRO Radio’s Chris Sullivan reported it:
"It comes seven years too late for a woman killed on the University of Washington campus, but the Washington legislature has taken a step toward protecting domestic violence victims from their abusers.
"Rebecca Griego had a protection order against her former boyfriend, but that didn't stop him from getting a gun and killing her in her University of Washington office. That was in 2007."
Dig a bit further and one finds this notation in a history of the event:
"The six-shooter he used to kill Griego and himself was stolen from a Seattle man who didn’t know it was stolen until contacted by police."
Hint: Visit Google News with the term “Woman with restraining order killed” and there are some 3,650 results. The leading story came from Saturday’s Courier-Post in southern New Jersey about a woman who was fatally stabbed last week. Washington’s law update probably would not have stopped this one because a knife appears to be the murder weapon. Another story comes out of Arizona the other day.
These “victories” are pretty much in name only, and sadly, everybody knows it. Facebook’s decision will not prevent determined individuals from getting guns they should not have, and Washington’s legal update promise will fade fast the first time someone subject to a restraining order kills the person who obtained it.
And what that will do is provide a new launch pad for gun prohibitionists to demand an even-stricter law somewhere over the horizon.