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Under the gun: 2013 was a high power year

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Today’s Seattle Times carries a year-end column by anti-gunner Jerry Large that acknowledges – probably unintentionally – that gun control efforts, including an 18-page gun control initiative here in Washington State, are aimed at “controlling access to guns,” and he is hopeful that the effort bears fruit in 2014.

But as the new year looms, it might be a good idea to review some of the top gun-related stories of 2013 to show why the firearms community is at best apprehensive about new gun law proposals, and the people behind them.

Taking up lots of ink, and plenty of money, was this year’s “dueling initiatives” campaign pitting a well-financed group funded largely by Seattle-area elitists against a grassroots coalition that includes gun collectors, hunters, competition shooters and law enforcement professionals. This is probably the biggest local gun rights story of the year and it will definitely spill into 2014.

Initiative 594 is an 18-page gun control measure mandating so-called "universal background checks" going beyond current federal law, while Initiative 591 is a simple one-page proposal that requires background checks to comply with a uniform national standard. Both appear to have enough signatures to qualify for presentation to the Legislature in about ten days. The dueling initiatives will likely both be on November’s ballot, and between now and then, expect a lot of elitist money, including some from Bloomberg, to be spent creating the false impression that background checks would prevent mass shootings and that gun shows are somehow linked to such events.

Large’s column today links to a March 29 piece, also in the Times, that declared “Gun deaths outpace motor vehicle deaths in Washington.” The piece, using data from the Violence Policy Center, shows 609 “gun deaths” in the Evergreen State in 2010, compared to 554 vehicle deaths. It was yet another example of how gun prohibitionists lump all firearm-related fatalities together. At least the story admitted that the 609 figure included suicides, homicides, accidents and “legal interventions” (self-defense and justifiable shootings by police).

But as this column pointed out last week, in response to yet another of Mr. Large’s pieces, putting all firearms deaths together, and then calling them all “gun violence” creates the false impression that all of these fatalities could be reduced with a bit of new gun control.

If the past 12 months have demonstrated anything, it is that gun control proponents are still overwhelmingly guided by emotion rather than common sense.

Witness the exchange between the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre and anti-gun Sen. Dick Durbin, arguing about so-called “universal background checks.” Durbin insisted that LaPierre’s opposition to the proposal just didn’t appreciate the possibility that criminals will obey the law.

“The criminals won’t go to purchase the guns because there will be a background check. We’ll stop them from the original purchase,” Durbin said. “You miss that point completely.”

No, the point is that criminals won’t bother with background checks in the first place because they will get firearms from sources that do not involve such checks. LaPierre didn’t miss that point at all.

When it comes to foolishness, Durbin didn’t hold a candle to Vice President “Shotgun” Joe Biden. His advice in February to “get a double barrel shotgun” and fire it twice outside to ward off burglars left self-defense legal experts stunned. Charges for that kind of firearms use range from simple misdemeanor to felony, depending upon the jurisdiction. No wonder Biden is no longer point man for the Obama administration on gun-related issues.

Colorado voters sent a message to state lawmakers this past summer that there are consequences for voting against their constitutional rights. Anti-gunners were horrified that gun owners might actually throw the bums out, and anti-gun New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is out of a job as of tomorrow night, blew a reported $350,000 trying to stave off the recall of two anti-gun lawmakers.

Colorado was one of a handful of states that also included New York, California, Maryland and Connecticut, to adopt stringent new anti-gun laws this year, a result of Democrat domination in those respective legislatures. Only in Colorado did voters in individual districts take off the gloves and fight back. All, of these laws were reactions to the Sandy Hook attack, and it has already cost the state some business revenue. And, as demonstrated by the attack at Arapahoe High School earlier this month, the new laws didn't prevent another tragedy in a "gun-free school zone."

Bloomberg became one of the top gun control story generators of 2013 by inserting himself and his deep pockets into various political campaigns, supporting issues and individual candidates who are way too cozy with his definition of gun control.

Washington State Sen. Adam Kline, along with Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray and Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles were left scrambling for cover in February when it was revealed that their perennial “assault weapons” legislation had always contained a nasty clause that would have allowed annual warrantless searches of private residences belonging to gun owners. These unscheduled tramplings of the Fourth Amendment alarmed even some Seattle liberals and were the death knell for Kline’s legislation, which was co-sponsored by the other two. In the process, Kline and Murray acknowledged that they should have read their own bills more closely.

This month’s revelation that citizens in cash-strapped Josephine County, Oregon were running their own community patrols because the local sheriff’s department was operating with a skeleton crew raised alarms among anti-gunners. However, this story reminds us all that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is as important now as it ever was, and that the law and public safety ultimately rests in the hands of the people.

This year’s growing demand for concealed carry permits and licenses demonstrates that more people believe in the right to bear arms, including about 450,000 here in Washington.

The passage of a concealed carry law in Illinois, which included a veto override, brought Prairie State residents into the 21st Century. A State Police prediction that some 400,000 applications for carry permits will come during the next 12 months is even more proof that anti-gun lawmakers are out of touch with the desires and needs of their constituents. Separate lawsuits by the Second Amendment Foundation and the NRA forced that legislation, and trying to get cute with a veto pen cost Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn a lot of political capital.

Writing about the new law cost veteran gun scribe Dick Metcalf and editor Jim Bequette their jobs at Guns & Ammo.

Engaging in open carry events at local Starbucks coffee shops cost some gun advocates a bit of good will when CEO Howard Schultz asked people to leave their guns somewhere else and not bring them into coffee shops. The pronouncement didn’t amount to much actually as the stores didn’t ban guns. Schultz doesn’t want his property to be the backdrop for a civil rights battle. Starbucks just wants to sell coffee. The flap suggested that political statements are best left to billboards and newspaper advertisements.

SAF continued to make progress, and headlines, challenging local anti-gun ordinances that violate state preemption statutes. The controversy that erupted in Oak Harbor was an example of how guns in public places alarm a vocal few but reassure the typically-quiet many that gun owners can behave themselves as good citizens, despite provocation and demonization.

SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb’s discovery of the “gun control playbook” in August, and its revelation first by this column, got considerable attention. The guide reads like primer for the entire gun prohibition lobby.

Last and certainly not least, outgoing Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s final year in office started with a gun control gaffe and ended with a reality check in the amount of $38,000 to SAF. McGinn has never masked his dislike for guns, so launching a gun buyback in January – as his response to the Sandy Hook tragedy – was no surprise.

It turned into a circus, and ultimately public embarrassment. Many of the turned-in guns were junkers, they were melted into rebar while McGinn fibbed that they would be used to produce “peace plaques,” and then it was revealed that even Ralph Fascitelli cautioned McGinn’s office against the project. The buyback drew several cash-in-hand gun rights activists who saved some good guns from the melting pot.

But the icing on the cake was SAF’s request for all buyback-related documents from McGinn’s office. The mayor’s staff blew that one, too by not turning over everything, including copies of Fascitelli’s cautionary e-mail to McGinn. A lawsuit followed and a check was cut.

McGinn further pressed his agenda of social bigotry by convincing some Seattle businesses to post their establishments off limits to firearms. The “gun-free zone” project is now widely seen as an attempt by McGinn to appeal to his base in a tough fight for re-election. Nobody expects it to prevent a single violent crime; at least nobody with any common sense.

The coming year will afford the Seattle Times, and no doubt Jerry Large, more opportunities to talk about so-called “gun violence” and its “solutions.” Don’t expect any of those proposals to acknowledge in the least little bit that they are attempts to further erode the rights of gun owners.

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