Washington Ceasefire has announced it will release the results of a statewide poll of 600 registered voters regarding gun laws and attitudes today at an afternoon press conference at the First United Methodist Church in Seattle.
The poll was conducted by Alison Peters Consulting. Ms. Peters, according to her web site, “has helped progressive politics move forward in Washington State on several key issues.” Raised in Olympia, she attended Santa Clara University and Boston College, and participated in a White House intern program under President Bill Clinton.
She also serves as vice chair of the Center for Women and Democracy and the Washington Business Alliance’s Health Policy Committee, according to her biography.
Washington Ceasefire wants the Legislature to ban so-called “assault weapons,” which are actually semi-automatic modern sporting rifles that look like military weapons – basic black – so they are scary-looking to a lot of people. Rumor has it that Peters’ poll may assert that the majority of the 600 respondents support such a ban. (It would be educational to see the actual question(s) relating to a ban and how they were worded.)
There may have been nearly that many such rifles carried peacefully at the Olympia rally, and certainly that many were bought and sold at the gun show, along with standard capacity magazines and cases of ammunition. With all of those rifles in both crowded venues, nobody suffered so much as a scratch.
Anti-gunners insist that "you don't hunt deer" with such rifles. Not long ago, this column encountered King County resident Mike Carpenter at the Snoqualmie Valley Rifle Club range, where he was sighting in his semi-auto, chambered for the .308 Winchester, in preparation for, you guessed it, a deer hunt. Ceasefire would criminalize his rifle, for no other reason than cosmetics.
Such rifles are used in a fraction of violent crimes, and that’s the way it has always been. Back in 1992, the Los Angeles Times admitted in a report that such firearms were used in less than 2 percent of the fatal shootings investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s South Bureau homicide unit.
Last week in the Wall Street Journal, researcher John Lott noted that on the national level, only 2.6 percent of all murders in the United States are committed with a rifle of any kind, and that covers semi-autos, lever actions, bolt actions, single shots or pump action models. Indeed, a look at the FBI statistics for 2011 shows that more people are murdered with knives and other cutting instruments, other weapons (blunt instruments, clubs, rocks, etc.) or fists and feet.
Lott also reported that since the Clinton ban expired in 2004, “murder and overall violent crime rates have fallen.”
Ceasefire says more than 1,000 people turned out for its march in downtown Seattle on Jan. 13. The Seattle Times estimated the crowd in the hundreds, as did Q13 Fox News. A preliminary report from the Washington Arms Collectors indicates about 11,000 people streamed through the gates at its weekend gun show in Puyallup, covered by this column. Another 2,000-2,500 armed citizens turned out peaceably at the capitol campus in Olympia for a Saturday rally coinciding with Gun Appreciation Day. Imagine the crowd that rally might have drawn had it not been competing with the gun show Saturday.
Why ban a whole class of firearms that are not involved in that many violent crimes? Could it be this is simply a piece of feel-good trophy legislation that the gun prohibition lobby covets?
Ceasefire also wants to close the so-called “gun show loophole.” It is argued by gun banners that 40 percent of all gun transactions in this country do not involve a background check, but as this column reported, noted author John Fund has detailed why that figure is bogus. The argument is based on a study that was taken a couple of years before the National Instant Check System (NICS) was operational. It is far more likely that the percentage of transactions now conducted without such a check is in the single digits.
This column will not delve into the continued relationship between churches and anti-gun lobbying organizations, except to observe that it is curious how the Left is pretty selective in its complaints about the separation of church and state.
Take the Ceasefire polling results with a grain of salt, or a whole shaker.
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