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Gun safety: a ‘Seattle summit’ today, a Florida class Saturday

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Florida Congressman Ted Yoho was taking flak yesterday for his upcoming Saturday gun safety event, in his district, that promotes genuine firearm safety while today in Seattle, there is a “Gun Violence Prevention Strategy Summit” that will likely be portrayed as a “gun safety” event when it is really all about gun control.

The summit, according to an e-mail circulated to what apparently is a pretty exclusive group of recipients, was organized by the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR).

Yoho, a pro-gun Republican, is holding his Saturday event in Lake City, where, according to a statement on his Facebook page, “we will discuss gun safes and ensuring firearms in your home aren't easily accessible, proper firearm practices, and other safety standards.” He is already being accused of callousness because this Saturday marks the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy, which is being exploited by gun prohibition groups for whom “safety” is spelled “b-a-n.”

However, Yoho’s event appears to offer the kind of rational approach to firearms ownership one should expect in a nation where owning a gun is a constitutionally-protected, fundamental individual civil right, and rather common.

Today’s event in the Seattle Center Pavilion, for some reason, was not listed overnight on the Seattle Center’s activities schedule. Examiner checked Wednesday morning and confirmed the event is actually happening, but the event was still not posted. A receptionist suggested that because the Summit is an RSVP event – that is, according to the e-mail forwarded to this column, “everyone must RSVP in order to enter the event” – it may be a private gathering purposely not listed.

Why would summit organizers, apparently the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, not wish to publicize an event that, according to the e-mail invitation mailed yesterday afternoon, allow people to “meet and strategize with other Washingtonians who care about gun violence prevention and to organize around the local, state, and national discussion on gun reform.” They are discussing policies that could have an impact on all citizens.

The invitation promises, “You will be a part of the conversation to devise a coordinated state strategy to bring about the commonsense reforms in gun policy that we need in Washington.”

One might think that such an event would include representatives from genuine gun safety organizations such as the National Rifle Association, which has a nationwide network of thousands of certified firearms instructors who teach home firearms safety and personal protection. What about the Washington State Rifle & Pistol Association, the Washington Arms Collectors (WAC) or the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA)? Members of those organizations know a bit about firearms safety and have just as much interest (and maybe more) in “gun policy.” They are just as concerned as anyone about preventing violent crime.

The Summit runs 1-7 p.m. The schedule includes a 1:30 p.m. panel discussion on gun policy, followed at 2:30 by a session on “Messaging and Strategy.” There’s a break at 3:15, followed at 3:35 p.m. with an action session titled “What we do now on guns in WA.” At 4:30, breakout sessions begin, followed at 6 p.m. by closing remarks and dinner.

For a closer look at gun safety in action, and to discuss what should be done with guns, one might wish to attend a gun show this weekend. There are dozens of them around the country, including the monthly WAC gathering at the Puyallup fairgrounds, where last-minute petition signers can ink their names on Initiative 591.

CCRKBA is encouraging people to attend one of these shows, or visit a gun range as part of Guns Save Lives Day, scheduled this Sunday, Dec. 15. It coincides with Bill of Rights Day, and was organized to call attention to the usefulness of firearms in everyday American life, for hunting, recreation, collecting and personal and family protection.

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