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Two pending cases exemplify shortfalls of ‘universal background checks’

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Two pending criminal cases in Seattle – one reported yesterday by the Seattle P-I.com and the other from early last week on the Seattle Police Blotter – underscore the futility of so-called “universal background checks” because the suspects in both capers have criminal records, and both cases involve guns that were not obtained through legitimate channels.

Gun rights activists would quickly observe this is the rule rather than the exception in criminal activities across the country. See if the circumstances support that theory.

Yesterday’s Seattle P-I.com story was about 21-year-old Mohamed Abdi Ali, also known as “Sharmarke,” who has been charged with first-degree robbery, armed robbery, illegal firearms possession and several other crimes. Mr. Ali reportedly did not show up for arraignment on charges filed in January stemming from the Dec. 13 pistol-whipping/robbery of a Seattle cabby.

Ali, according to the published report, “has previous convictions of vehicle theft, possession of stolen property, assault and theft, among others.” Last month, Ali may have been involved in a robbery at Hashi Money Wire in SeaTac. The robber aimed a gun at an employee and took $7,000 and then fled in a vehicle. When cops found that car, they found a stolen handgun inside.

In the other case, a man identified as Akiel Troy Taylor was arrested after allegedly committing a residential burglary. At the time, according to the Seattle Police Blotter, Taylor was allegedly high on crack, and when cops confronted him a short distance from the crime scene, he ran through a parking lot, tried to escape through a blackberry tangle, struggled with them, tried to grab one officer’s pistol and in the process a stolen Ruger Super Blackhawk single-action .44 Magnum revolver fell from his waistband. Documents obtained from the King County Prosecutor's office detail Taylor's arrest and pending criminal charges.

This column knows a bit about that handgun, a heavy stainless steel model with an adjustable rear sight and hardwood grips. It was stolen in a residential burglary in late November in the SeaTac area from the home of an Examiner reader, where it had been secured unloaded. The burglars kicked the front door off its hinges, took some firearms, including the .44, that were in a locked security cabinet and fled. That “transaction” also did not involve a background check. It is not clear how Taylor got the gun, but he certainly didn’t buy it at the store, or at a gun show.

Like Mr. Ali, Mr. Taylor has a colorful background, with prior convictions for assault, unlawful firearms possession and residential burglary. He will be arraigned early next month.

Sunday’s Auburn Reporter carried a story about Washington’s dueling initiatives. It explains the differences between the two measures, and the conflicting philosophies behind them. Initiative 591 garnered 349,860 signatures, while I-594 was certified with 346,834 signatures, as this column reported. I-591 accomplished that with about half the money raised and spent by the Seattle-based wealthy elites backing I-594, the 18-page gun control measure that panders "universal background checks" but was met with mixed reactions last month during hearings before the House Judiciary Committee and Senate Law and Justice Committee in Olympia. Supporters of gun control have already engaged in a downward push in their campaign.

What was not explained by the story was why, despite ostensibly good intentions and a boatload of cash pushing the idea, background checks can never prevent bad guys from getting guns, and perhaps they aren't really designed for that. Such efforts are grounded on the false presumption that such checks will ultimately defeat criminals, when all they really do is inconvenience the law-abiding, and in the process lay the groundwork for a future registration demand, many in the firearms community insist.

If they are convicted, Ali and Taylor may become two more poster children for excessive gun laws, when in reality, their cases are proof positive that gun control laws have utterly failed.

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