While Seattle Mayor Ed Murray was outlining his sweeping proposal to address so-called “gun violence” yesterday to a packed room at city hall, the Las Vegas Review-Journal was letting the air out of an idea that anti-gunners like Murray are currently embracing: The “universal background check” (UBC).
Murray, according to the Seattle Times and Seattle P-I.com, does not plan to disarm law-abiding citizens. That would be a non-starter, anyway, thanks to a legal action that started more than five years ago pitting the City of Seattle against state and national gun rights organizations and the state’s 30-year-old model preemption law. That was the test case, Seattle lost and in the process, strengthened the very law the city sought to erode.
But Murray does want to pass a UBC law in this state – now facing voters in November in the form of Initiative 594, an 18-page gun control measure that expands the state’s existing pistol registry and also affects all gun transfers, not just sales – and that’s an idea that just got splashed with some editorial cold water in Las Vegas. The Review Journal took a hard, matter-of-fact look at the UBC because a similar initiative has just been filed by anti-gunners in Nevada, and found the concept wanting.
“If the groups behind the drive collect enough valid signatures to gain a vote on their petition,” the newspaper editorialized, “they’ll still have to overcome the strongest argument against expanded background checks: the fact that determined lawbreakers who want a gun will not respect the laws written to disarm them.”
The Review-Journal concluded, “Polls show the vast majority of Americans favor expanded background checks, with the country’s moderates joining liberals in support. The gun-control set understands that more ambitious policy proposals would be less likely to pass. Never mind that they’d be less likely to do any good. Proposed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines ignore the fact that handguns are used in nearly 90 percent of violent crimes. And how many more school shootings will take place before policymakers acknowledge that ‘gun-free zones’ only serve to leave people defenseless?”
According to the Seattle Times, this fall Murray will co-host a “summit” with King County Executive Dow Constantine – another former legislative anti-gunner – to “discuss strategies with local and federal law enforcement, advocates of domestic-violence prevention and health providers.” Noticeably missing is any representation from the firearms community, which not only crafted but championed and passed “Three Strikes” and “Hard Time” measures in Washington 20 years ago, and those ideas swept the country.
Murray rambled on about “integrating” various interests but he’s still a segregationist when it comes to inviting gun rights advocates and genuine firearms safety experts to the table. In this context, “gun safety” refers to people who understand firearms and actually teach their safe handling and use, including the judicious use of lethal force in self-defense. In Murray’s lexicon, “gun safety” is repackaged gun control, but the “experts” in that realm are typically lacking in common sense safe gun handling.
As for background checks, the Review-Journal editorial repeated what Examiner has noted many times. “The 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn., was carried out by Adam Lanza, who used weapons lawfully purchased by his mother in a state with some of the strictest gun laws in America,” the newspaper noted.
“James Holmes passed background checks to acquire the firearms he used in the 2011 Aurora, Colo., movie theater mass shooting,” the editorial continued. “Jared Loughner, who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed six people, in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, also passed a background check. Even Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007, passed a background check and bought a handgun despite having been ruled mentally ill by a judge.”
Likewise, Café Racer gunman Ian Stawicki passed background checks. So did Seattle Jewish Federation gunman Naveed Haq. Seattle Pacific University shooting suspect Aaron Ybarra bought his shotgun legally, as did D.C. Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis. Ditto Santa Barbara mass killer Elliot Rodger.
This raises a pertinent question that gun prohibitionists have been unable to answer. How many times must a policy demonstrably fail before people decide it’s a waste of time to put their faith behind it? What is the popular definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again, and expecting a different outcome.
Second Amendment advocates contend that pushing gun control measures that penalize law-abiding citizens, place unfunded burdens on local police agencies, but fail to accomplish their stated goal of reducing and preventing violent crime is tantamount to selling snake oil. It may create the façade of “doing something,” but in the end such activism, no matter how popular, could be dangerously deceptive by creating a false sense of public safety that lasts only until the next tragic incident.