A confidential source in Olympia advised Examiner over the weekend that Vice President Joe Biden may be, according to rumor, calling some wavering Democrats Monday apparently to encourage their support for a “universal background check” bill, while at the same time Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) is targeting Congressman Dave Reichert (R-8th District) for pressure on a federal background check bill.
This column contacted the White House about Biden’s rumored phone calls but there was no immediate response. Calls to a couple of Olympia lawmakers were also not returned.
If Biden does call Democrats in Olympia, it might be awkward in the wake of his infamous self-defense advice about firing a shotgun outside the home, or through a door. The gun rights community looks upon Biden as a buffoon who has no understanding of firearms and self-defense laws.
So far as the background check bill in Olympia is concerned, SHB 1588 should no longer be considered a “universal background check” bill since over the weekend it was reported that the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) – after opposing a key provision that would have abolished the state’s pistol registry – have been promised an exemption from the background check for all law enforcement.
Gun rights activists are furious, noting that police officers should never be exempt from a law they are required to enforce. The revelation also suggested that WASPC has not been negotiating in good faith because if they get something, they should give up something in return, and the pistol registry was a cornerstone tenet sought by Bellevue gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb.
Meanwhile, at the national level – as reported in Monday’s Seattle Times – Reichert, the former King County sheriff turned congressman, was the only member of Washington State’s congressional delegation named in an advertisement by MAIG, headed by anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Calls to Reichert’s office Friday for comment were not returned, but the Times story refers to polling data that suggests a majority of voters in Reichert’s district, which stretches from Issaquah and east Pierce County to Wenatchee and Ellensburg, support background checks. However, former Sheriff Reichert appears to be very much in line with a growing number of elected sheriffs. This column noted a rising tide of resistance to Obama administration gun control measures from elected county sheriffs in several states.
The Times report contends that Reichert’s resistance to new gun laws runs counter to what the newspaper calls “several leading law enforcement groups.” Here’s a list of these “leading” groups:
- Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA)
- Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
- International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
- International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
- Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCC)
- National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives (NAWLEE)
- National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
- Police Executive Research Forum (PERF)
- Police Foundation (PF)
None of these consist of elected sheriffs, nor do any represent rank-and-file police officers.
All of this comes coincidentally as news broke over the weekend that former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband to former Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, was photographed in an Arizona gun shop buying an AR-15 and a Colt .45-caliber pistol. After his purchase was exposed, Kelly hastily announced that he would surrender the rifle to the Tucson police.
He reportedly posted this message on his Facebook page: “I just had a background check a few days ago when I went to my local gun store to buy a .45. As I was leaving, I noticed a used AR-15. Bought that too. Even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a matter of minutes. I don't have possession of it yet but I'll be turning it over to the Tucson PD when I do.”
Gun activists would quickly respond that the background check worked as it was designed to do by Congress when it was adopted more than ten years ago. It was supposed to be “instantaneous” in that it took only a few minutes to complete. That Kelly has a problem with the speed of the check is curious, since the National Instant Check System is designed to be quick and of minimum inconvenience to retail gun purchasers.
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