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‘There is no right of privacy for gun owners’ – the anti-gun mindset

Washington's dueling initiative campaign raises a question: Should gun owners have any privacy?
Washington's dueling initiative campaign raises a question: Should gun owners have any privacy?
Dave Workman

Today’s Seattle Times report about the latest Elway Poll on Washington State’s dueling initiatives provides a few revealing looks into how anti-gunners think; an alarming perspective that surfaces elsewhere in the gun debate whenever gun prohibitionists allow their true mindset to escape from behind the façade of “being reasonable” that they try to project.

In the reader section of today’s story, one supporter of Initiative 594, took umbrage with an opponent who noted, “We deserve the protection of a well-written background check law that protects the right of privacy for lawful firearms owners.” The I-594 backer responded, “There is no right of privacy for gun owners, lawful or otherwise.”

For gun owners, privacy is a rather big deal. There was a national controversy in December 2012 when a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of gun permit holders in two counties. Other newspapers have pulled that stunt, claiming that public has a right to know who owns guns in their neighborhoods. Many opponents of I-594 (who support the alternative measure) note that their bumper sticker says "Protect Your Rights," not just gun rights, but all rights, including privacy)

Gun rights activists say there is no such "public right," but there is a right to privacy. The Fourth Amendment protects that right from government intrusion.

Yesterday’s Elway Poll showed continued strong support for I-594, though it had slipped a couple of points. I-594 is the 18-page gun control measure that actually appears to have lost a bit of traction. The Elway Poll notes that I-594 “had 70% of support in this survey of 506 Washington voters. In April, 72% intended to vote for it. Opposition rose slightly from 19% to 22%.”

After the Times editorial board endorsed I-594, one reader told gun owners who disagreed with the endorsement, “But, judging by some of the comments here, you are the very people who should not be allowed to purchase guns. Many of you sound like up you would meet the criteria for Paranoid Personality Disorder…”

That reader subsequently observed, “Money, logistics and an invasion of privacy that will save lives. How can you put a price tag on that? But, clearly, your gun ‘rights’ are more important than saving lives. I guess trying to address this rationally with you is pointless. And yes, I have read the entire initiative, understood it and still agree with it. Clearly, if you read it, you do not really understand it. And, no, I do not own a gun, I never would. I can't fathom needing one, unless you hunt, and I don't hunt.”

Another reader was even more vehement, stating in part, “The current culture of the gun worshipers (it is almost as irrational as organized evangelical religion) will fight any attempt to place any reasonable restrictions on guns. Please read the entire 2nd amendment, not just the second half red herring. It’s a ‘cold dead fingers’ emotional response. You’d think they were all bravely marching with a flintloader (sic) in front of a fife & drum.”

Tempers may be warming up with the weather. KIRO reported last night that someone had left a poorly-perforated target at the League of Women Voters’ office in Seattle. Police took a report. The group issued a statement quoted by the Seattle “The League of Women Voters will continue to be a forum for dialogue, research and education on gun violence, and we look forward to reasonable, robust dialogue in the months ahead.”

It’s an interesting comment, because after the LVW’s support for I-594 was revealed, Examiner checked with proponents of alternative Initiative 591, which mandates that background checks must comply with a uniform national standard. They did not recall having been invited to any LVW debate forum to explain their issue.

It’s not clear who left the target, which showed rather poor marksmanship skills. It may have been shot by someone using a pellet or BB rifle. Out of 19 holes, only six were in or touched the black. The remaining holes, like so many remarks from anti-gunners, were way off the mark.

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