The Seattle Times editorial board has once again aroused the ire of at least part of the readership by essentially demanding the state legislature pass Senate Bill 5078, which will limit magazine capacity to 10 cartridges, a proposition Liberty Park Press examined only a couple of days ago.
Firearms experts have concluded such a restriction will accomplish nothing more than create a false sense of security and accomplishment, without preventing a single mass shooting or saving even one life.
Likewise, the newspaper wants lawmakers to pass legislation banning so-called “assault weapons,” and to ban open carry in more places, and open or concealed carry in such places as school board meetings and election offices. Apparently, nobody reminded this editorial panel that it is already illegal for average citizens to carry guns on school property, except for specific purposes.
The Times editorial board complained Friday, “Yet (Attorney General Bob) Ferguson’s requested ban on semiautomatic assault weapons — illegal in seven states and the District of Columbia — died yet another quiet death this session, never advancing beyond a Jan. 17 committee session.”
Certainly, gun rights activists note, the newspaper must realize that such a ban would make every semi-auto rifle in the state—regardless of caliber, design or purpose—illegal. Falling into this morass would be such popular sporting rifles as the .22-caliber Winchester Wildcat, Ruger 10/22, Marlin Model 60, Remington Nylon 66 and centerfire rifles including the Remington 7400, Winchester 100 and Browning BAR big game hunting rifles.
Semiautomatic assault rifles were defined in Initiative 1639 four years ago as “any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.” The Times editorial board should remember this because they endorsed the initiative.
Friday’s editorial began drawing criticism almost immediately. Comments from readers include these gems:
- “Sensible gun laws” advocated here are bans and do not to work to reduce crime. If they did, the other Washington (DC), NY, California and other states that have them would be safer. They are not…Armed criminal violence increased in this Washington after every new gun prohibition was enacted.”
- “All these proposed laws overstep the bounds of common sense and smack of partisanship. Republicans are correct to rebuke poorly written legislation with overly broad definitions.”
- “The long march of incremental laws inching toward complete infringement on the human right to keep and bear arms continues with the latest in a series of ineffectual laws supposedly meant to reduce the criminal use of firearms.”
On the other hand, some readers want guns restricted or banned outright. They seem to forget owning and carrying firearms is protected by the U.S. Constitution and most state constitutions.
- “Significant would be banning the sale of assault rifles, licensing all firearms, having a liability insurance requirement for every gun, and mandatory gun safety training for all owners. Those laws I would support.”
- “Almost every society with the safest records have complete and total ban on firearms. If you want to have a safe society, you need to ban guns.”
Friday’s editorial concluded with this: “Sensible gun laws would not end anyone’s ability to defend themselves or to enjoy gun sports, including hunting and target shooting. They would prohibit guns in situations where they don’t belong, and make it harder for people with evil intentions to arm themselves to cause widespread death and injuries.”
It appears to have escaped the editorial board that criminals habitually ignore gun laws, thus the bad guys would be the only ones armed “in situations where they don’t belong,” and they would hardly prevent anyone with “evil intentions” from having guns, because past history—including a glance at the Seattle Police Blotter—clearly demonstrates otherwise.
Read the cases involving
- The arrest of catalytic converter thieves
- The arrest of an armed juvenile with a stolen pistol
- The arrest of a felon in possession of a firearm
These cases merely scratch the surface, but they underscore what the firearms community believes is a failure of journalists to understand the futility of penalizing honest gun owners in order to prevent the illegal use and possession of guns by criminals.
This isn’t just a problem at the Seattle Times. It’s a disconnect that seems all-too-common in American newsrooms and editorial offices.