The long-standing, and wholly illegal, ban on guns in Seattle’s public libraries comes to an end next week, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, who reports today that the rule change was a long time coming, more than a year after a Second Amendment Foundation legal victory defending state preemption was allowed to stand by the State Supreme Court.
This policy change is as late as an overdue book, and Times readers are having some fun with it.
In recognition of this announcement, SAF and this column will donate an autographed copy of Washington Times Senior Editor Emily Miller’s recently-released “Emily Gets Her Gun…But Obama Wants to Take Yours” to the Seattle Public Library. The book describes Miller’s efforts to buy a handgun for personal protection in the District of Columbia, where she lives.
UPDATE: Miller writes, via private e-mail, "I love it!!!"
If there is any place in the country where that book should be available to urban readers, it might be Seattle, described by Westneat as “anti-gun.”
The library ban has long been a thorn in the side of local gun rights activists who knew all along that it was illegal under Washington’s 30-year-old state preemption act. That 1983 statute, which was amended and strengthened in 1985, was at the core of the SAF lawsuit against Seattle’s attempted parks gun ban. SAF was joined in the lawsuit by the National Rifle Association, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Washington Arms Collectors and five private citizens.
Westneat notes that library officials voted to change their policy one day before anti-gun Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn and Washington Ceasefire President Ralph Fascitelli held a media event to announce the 100th business that decided to post itself as a “gun-free zone.” Not that it makes much difference, but some of the businesses on that list were already “gun free” by law since people under age 21 are not allowed because the establishments are bars.
Library CFO Marilynne Gardner told Westneat that, while the library is “going to comply with the right to carry” – they didn’t really have a choice – she stressed that “People will not be able to brandish a gun in the library.”
Gardner’s point should be well-taken by armed citizens who were offended by the exhibitionists who carried rifles into Starbucks coffee shops on the so-called “Appreciation Day” earlier this year, leading CEO Howard Schultz to recently ask them to leave their guns at home.
Westneat says guns “have no place in libraries.” One might ask, Why not? If someone is visiting the public library, minding his or her own business and carrying a firearm, where is the problem? There are books about guns in libraries. Soon there will be another.
Yesterday, Seattle Police had to confront a nut wielding a large kitchen knife at a downtown business, ordering everyone out. That man was talked into surrendering and taken to Harborview. Now, that’s a problem, but a citizen quietly carrying a firearm in a non-threatening manner is no cause for alarm, in a library, restaurant, shoe store, coffee shop, public park or any other public venue.