The Washington State Capitol in Olympia is going to be busy starting Jan. 13. (Dave Workman photo)
Washington State Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen) may have his hands full when the Legislature convenes Jan. 13, fighting a package of gun control bills he says will “infringe upon the rights of gun owners.”
In a statement to Citizen Review.org, Walsh calls the legislative package, which has the support of anti-gun Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson—both Democrats—and will likely get a push through the legislature, which is controlled by Democrats “amateurish and constitutionally flawed.”
As reported by Citizen Review, “Walsh says the proposals are a strong indication of the lengths the sponsors are willing to go to strip citizens of their constitutional right to bear arms.”
Now comes information from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that could give Washington Democrats heartburn. All those guns they don’t want people to have, well, it looks like the people already have them.
According to Summit News, the ATF recently released data updating their estimates of the number of firearms in private ownership, and it’s stunning. As of early December, the estimate was 422.9 million guns in the hands of American citizens.
At least 17.7 million of those guns are modern sporting rifles, erroneously referred to by the gun control crowd as “semiautomatic assault rifles.” Previous estimates have hovered between 12 and 15 million.
In 2018, the most recent year for which data is available, the firearms industry produced 8.1 billion rounds of ammunition.
Joe Bartozzi, president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation—the industry umbrella group now preparing for the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas later this month—noted in a statement to Summit News, “During the 25-year period covered in this report (1993–2017) the violent crime rate has decreased by 48.6 percent and unintentional firearm-related fatalities have declined by 68 percent.”
That underscores a question posed weeks ago by Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation challenging the oft-repeated claim by anti-gunners that there is a “gun violence epidemic.”
“What epidemic,” Gottlieb challenged. He has yet to receive an answer.
In state legislatures across the country, from Virginia to the West Coast, that argument is being repeated by the gun prohibition lobby and its allies in public office. They routinely dance around the fact that rifles of any kind are used in a fraction of all homicides in any given year, yet they constantly demand bans or extremist restrictions on the purchase and ownership of modern semi-auto rifles. The argument that such rifles are “black and look menacing” shouldn’t hold water.
Evergreen State activists, fresh from an effort to repeal gun control Initiative 1639, are now organizing. The Washington 2020 Legislative Action Group has its own Facebook page here. What began as a grassroots effort to undo what activists consider the gun control infringements and impairments on the right to keep and bear arms contained in I-1639 has transformed into a movement. All that matters now is to maintain momentum, not just through the 60-day legislative session but through summer and into the fall, leading up to the November elections.
It’s the same activism now fueling a statewide resistance movement in Virginia, where all but a handful of counties have declared themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuaries.”
The tough nut will be getting these activist gun owners to actually vote in November, and make sure their friends and families vote. It’s not clear why voting has traditionally been such a challenge to gun owners, but 2020 might be the year they overcome lethargy and make a difference.