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Let the numbers tell the tale in Olympia

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Even with the Seattle Seahawks playing for the conference title and a shot at the Super Bowl, and a gun show at the Puyallup fairgrounds, yesterday saw a sizeable crowd of firearms owners gather on the state capitol campus in Olympia, and they vastly outnumbered the vocal bunch of gun control advocates who appeared on the capitol steps Friday.

Evergreen State lawmakers meeting today and for the remainder of the 60-day session in Olympia should break out the pocket calculators and do some math. On Friday, Kate Beck, state chapter leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America acknowledged that her group has only about 1,200 members statewide. Washington CeaseFire claims “more than 5,000 members across the state.”

Some 450,000 people are licensed to carry concealed handguns. There are more than 20,000 members of the Washington Arms Collectors. Official numbers are not available, but tens of thousands of Washingtonians are members of the National Rifle Association.

As this column reported last week from the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, Washington’s economy was boosted by $304,481,008 in 2011 — the most recent year for which data is available — and target shooting supported 2,848 jobs, thanks to the shooting sports. Whether that target shooting was merely for recreation, or for competition, or represented practice by people who carry guns for personal protection, when is the last time the gun control crowd’s activities contributed more than $300 million to the state’s economy?

Firearms owners here and elsewhere across the nation will universally acknowledge they don’t care for political battles. They are expensive, time consuming and create an environment in which social bigotry against guns and the people who own them is considered fashionable.

Friday’s gathering brought maybe 50 moms to the small rally. Yesterday’s crowd on a cold, foggy, Seahawks Sunday was estimated at around 200. The gun control group was there to “demand” more laws, more intrusions and more red hoops through which gun owners must jump. Gun owners, on the other hand, simply wish to be left alone and be shed of do-gooder busybodies trying to pass rules by which they must live.