A report from the King County Prosecutor’s Office late last month showing the uptick in gun-related violence in the county that encompasses far-left Seattle only further amplifies the assertion from Evergreen State gun rights activists that gun control laws adopted by citizen initiative, and by the Seattle City Council over the past six years have had the exact opposite effect they were supposed to have.
Beginning in 2014 with the passage of Initiative 594—the so-called “universal background check” measure requiring background checks on all firearm transfers—and continuing with the adoption of a special gun and ammunition tax in 2015, gun control efforts were presented to voters as tolls to reduce so-called “gun violence.”
But the Prosecutor’s office has released data showing the opposite has occurred. Despite the background check initiative, the gun and ammunition tax and more recently, passage in 2018 of Initiative 1639, which prohibits the sale of modern semi-auto rifles to anyone under age 21, plus mandates a training requirement and classifies all semi-auto rifles of any caliber, including rimfires, as “semiautomatic assault rifles,” more people are getting shot and more shots are being fired.
Liberty Park Press has kept data on homicides in Seattle since I-594 passed. Based on the numbers, gun control laws have failed miserably.
In 2014, the year I-594 passed, making background checks on all firearms transfers mandatory (starting in 2015), Seattle recorded 23 murders.
In 2015, first year of the background check mandate, the city recorded 26 slayings, while statewide there were 141 murders committed with firearms, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for that year.
In 2016, the year the gun and ammunition tax took effect in Seattle and the second full year of universal background checks, Seattle saw 19 homicides and the statewide total of gun-related murders dropped to 127. But things began bouncing upward the following year.
In 2017, Seattle murders jumped to 27, the second year of the gun/ammo tax that was supposed to reduce “gun violence.” Statewide, there were 134 gun-related homicides, according to FBI data.
The following year, 2018, saw the Jet City log 32 murders and the state total of gun-related slayings jumped to 138.
In 2019, Seattle’s murder number jumped to 35, and statewide, there were 135 gun-related slayings according to FBI and Seattle Police data.
Last year, again according to Seattle Police and FBI data, there were 177 gun-related murders in the state, and 52 murders in Seattle.
Now, the King County Prosecutor’s Office data adds more fuel to the contention that all of the gun control efforts have failed miserably.
During the first three quarters of 2021, the prosecutor’s office says there were 73 gun-related homicides in King County, and 283 non-fatal shootings. There were also 1,036 “shots fired” incidents reported. Compared to the first three quarters of 2020, when there had been 59 murders, 197 non-fatal shooting victims and 767 “shots fired” reports, clearly the promises and predictions of gun control supporters have not been kept.
In an email message to the media, Prosecutor’s office spokesman Casey McNerthney said the agency collects “gun violence data from the 39 law enforcement agencies in the county.” The office uses the data “to understand which individuals and communities are at highest risk and utilize both prevention and intervention approaches to keep King County residents safe.”
Based on the available data, it appears they were safer before gun control efforts were bankrolled by the Seattle-based Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a billionaire-backed lobbying organization largely bankrolled by residents in ten Seattle-area zip codes.
“We know that gun violence disproportionately affects young people and people of color,” McNerthney wrote. “In the most recent report, 32% of shooting victims were between the ages of 18-24 and 81% were people of color (289 of 356 victims, Jan-Sept. 2021). Similar to previous years, 50% of the shooting victims, both fatal and non-fatal, were Black or African American (178).”
However, when queried about the demographics of the shooters, McNerthney did not respond. Questions about whether shootings were gang-related, the age of the shooters and any criminal records they might have, and whether they legally possessed the firearms they used, went unanswered. Liberty Park Press also asked if any of the shooters were legally licensed to carry handguns.
King County, according to the most recent data from the state Department of licensing, has 98,061 active concealed pistol licenses. Of those, 76,585 are held by men and 21,336 are known to be held by women.
Under Washington law, the Legislature can alter or repeal provisions in initiatives after they’ve been in effect for two years. The 2022 legislative session begins in early next month, and after years of demonstrable failure, it might be time for state lawmakers to take a hard look at how the measures have only affected law-abiding citizens, and especially young adults, and try a different approach to reducing gun-related crime.