When two of the four major network affiliates in Seattle – KIRO (CBS) and KOMO (ABC) – look at the change in the Seattle public library’s policy on firearms as they are doing today - one day after a forum was held at a local church regarding downtown crime and public safety - one might think there is something up.
Reporters from both stations noted the concerns of people who ask, “Why should anyone have a gun in a library?” There is only one answer: “Why not?”
If a legally-armed private citizen is minding his or her own business, at a library or any other public venue, what is there to be concerned about? The bearing of arms is protected under both the state and federal constitutions, while feeling good in the library is not.
People now raising a fuss over the fact that the Seattle public library is finally complying with state law might find themselves accused of having hoplophobia. That is, they suffer from an irrational fear of firearms.
As this column noted a few days ago, the library really had no choice. Library officials have acted responsibly by changing their no-guns policy, not that anyone was actually obeying it. One can find references on various Northwest gun forums from people insisting they have ignored the old policy, and all that time nobody was any the wiser, nor did anyone get hurt.
Open carry is legal here in Washington, but it is just possible the OC crowd learned something from the recent Starbucks unpleasantness and will exercise a bit of self-control rather than hold a “library appreciation day.”
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes would like to see a change in Washington’s model preemption law, but he acknowledged to KIRO that it is not likely the legislature will give up its power over gun regulations simply to allow Seattle to establish its own, like a city-state on Puget Sound.
As this column told KOMO today, gun owners have rights, too. That includes the right to use public facilities, such as a public library. If everyone behaves themselves, this will be a productive learning experience.
After all, this policy change is taking effect on the heels of a public meeting held Sunday about crime in the downtown area. If some people don’t feel safe in Seattle, who are they to say someone else can feel a little safer by legally arming up to visit the library? Holmes, according to the Seattle P-I.com, was at that meeting, and he acknowledged the downtown area has problems.
The library is a place of learning, entertainment and knowledge. Many have defended the inclusion of controversial books on the shelves, and even the availability of porn on the computers. That’s all covered by the First Amendment, about which library patrons and staff seem pretty vigorous.
How sad many of these people forget that there is also a Second Amendment.