A new e-mail appeal from the group pushing a 15-page gun control initiative to the Legislature arrived over the name of King County Executive Dow Constantine, removing any doubt in the minds of his gun owner constituents where he stands on their civil rights, and coinciding with copies of their petition in The Stranger, according to their Facebook page, and the Seattle Times on Saturday.
The e-mail, from the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), follows the strategies detailed in a gun control playbook exposed by this column. Here’s what Constantine allowed to appear over his name:
It's up to all of us to ensure the safety of Washington State's children.
We must reduce gun violence and protect our shared future, even though legislators in both Olympia and Washington, D.C., have ignored the outcry for sensible gun safety reforms.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility needs your help.
Without legislative action, enacting commonsense reform like requiring criminal background checks on all gun purchases will take a successful ballot initiative. To get on the ballot means gathering thousands of signatures.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility is working to do just that, and they need your help.
As a registered Washington voter, you can provide the first signature on your petition (and there's room for four friends to sign too).
With our ambitious goal of 250,000 signatures by the end of this month, we need your support to help protect Washington's children from the threat of gun violence. But, unfortunately, state regulations do not allow you to simply download an online petition.
We've just printed hundreds of new petition forms, and it's time to put them to good use.
And I would very much appreciate seeing your signature alongside mine, and those of hundreds of thousands of our fellow Washington voters.
Thank you for helping to make Washington State a national leader in responsible gun ownership.
According to “Preventing Gun Violence Through Effective Messaging,” the first strategy anti-gunners should employ in any gun control debate is “Always focus on emotional and value-driven arguments about gun violence, not the political food fight in Washington or wonky statistics.”
Gun control will “ensure the safety of Washington State’s children." That's an emotional appeal.
“Legislators in both Olympia and Washington, D.C., have ignored the outcry for sensible gun safety reforms.” Ditto.
The advice found in the gun control playbook: “DON’T talk about ‘gun control’.” (It is not "gun control" the playbook advises, but "preventing gun violence.")
Constantine’s message is that he wants to make the Evergreen State “a national leader in responsible gun ownership.”
What is “responsible gun ownership?” Is that more than 442,000 citizens possessing active concealed pistol licenses as of Aug. 19?
Is it the reflective of the number of homicides? According to the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics for 2011, the most recent year for which final data is available, there were 162 murders and non-negligent homicides in the entire state that year. In all of Seattle that year, there were 20 slayings.
“By comparison,” the Seattle P-I.com noted at the time, “the similarly sized cities of Baltimore had 196 homicides through Dec. 30 and Boston had 62 – dozens more than Seattle. Even the far smaller city of Minneapolis had 31 homicides through early November. Philadelphia had the nation’s highest homicide tally with 324 through Dec. 28.”
In just the City of Chicago that year, according to the annual Chicago Police report, there were 433 murders. That was two years before the State of Illinois had any kind of legal carry statute on the books, made possible earlier this year thanks to separate lawsuits by the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation and the National Rifle Association.
Those are apparently the “wonky statistics” that Constantine and WAGR ignore and want voters to ignore.
On the other side are the backers of Initiative 591, the common-sense measure sponsored by Protect Our Gun Rights (POGR) and backed by a statewide coalition of user groups, including the Hunters Heritage Council, Washington State Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association, Washington Arms Collectors, Gun Owners Action League of Washington and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.