The Seattle-based backers of a 15-page gun control initiative have reached what Bellevue gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb yesterday called a new low in exploitation with an appeal using the Navy Yard mass shooting to call for expanded background checks, even while columnist Charles Krauthammer was putting the lie to that argument in the Washington Post Thursday.
The e-mail appeal was sent Thursday over the name of Zach Silk with the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), and Gottlieb learned of it Friday afternoon. Their Initiative 594 is ostensibly a “universal background check” measure. Silk’s message creates the impression that Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis might have been stopped by a measure like I-594.
But Krauthammer’s column, published on Thursday, quickly put the lie to that notion, and Krauthammer wasn't even writing about this state's situation.
Krauthammer, a regular on Fox News, noted, “…the shotgun that was used was obtained legally in Virginia after the buyer, Aaron Alexis, had passed both a state and federal background check.” That is a fact gun prohibitionists overlook.
“It's been three days, and I'm still upset,” says Silk’s message, following one of the principles revealed in the gun control playbook that was originally exposed by this column almost two months ago: emotion over fact.
“This just keeps happening,” he says. “Another senseless gun tragedy. Twelve more people going about their day, serving their country at the Washington Navy Yard then suddenly stolen from their families in an act of senseless violence.
“But volunteering to help pass I-594 to extend criminal and mental health background checks to all gun purchases in Washington State is one thing we can all do -- today -- to make us safer,” he adds.
Unfortunately for WAGR, a Rasmussen survey conducted Tuesday and Wednesday shows that most people do not believe tougher gun laws would have prevented the attack.
Gottlieb, whose Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is championing an alternative measure — Initiative 591, requiring that background checks comply with a uniform national standard — wonders why the local press “isn’t all over this.”
This column noted earlier in the week that gun prohibitionists rushed to exploit the Navy Yard attack that claimed a dozen lives before Alexis was stopped. This column discussed how gun banners embarrassed themselves by initially claiming that this was another attack with a so-called “assault rifle” that should be banned, only to learn that Alexis carried out his crime with a Remington Model 870 Express pump shotgun. Early press coverage got the facts wrong.
Alexis legally bought that gun two days before the attack at a Virginia gun store, which conducted background checks in accordance with state and federal law. There is a federal background check currently, the National Instant Check System, which can be defined as the current “uniform national standard.”
Gottlieb said the attempt to link the I-594 campaign to the Navy Yard shooting is “deplorable.” However, it reinforced his belief that gun control extremists will go to any length, exploit any tragedy, in pursuit of their agenda.